Dancing in Closed Position

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For most WCS dancers, closed position exists during starter steps and the middle of the whip—and that’s about it. While dancing in open position creates a lot of opportunities for the partners to move independently, adding more closed position movements can both create different kinds of opportunities in the dance and can create contrast in order to make the open position movements look even more dramatic. This drill is designed to make you more comfortable dancing in closed position.

The Drill: With a partner, dance an entire song in closed position. Leaders, you can lead spins and other movements that do not have your right hand on the follower’s lat (like a fold), but you should reestablish closed position during the exit of those moves, prior to the anchor.

This drill teaches many skills. Besides becoming more comfortable with closed position, both partners are forced to be more aware of their spacing and how far they travel. Leaders become more conscious of which way their partner is rotating during various moves (hint: picking up the back is much easier from inside turns), and followers discover what movements are safe to insert into patterns and what movements interrupt the lead.

Bonus Variations: Once you are comfortable dancing in closed position, try adding in all of your open position styling. Some movements may not work unless you partner is doing something similar, but most body isolations and footwork patterns can be done in closed as long as you can control the movement. Anyone who thinks closed position eliminates your ability to do footwork has never watched a quality Argentine tango!

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