Dancing Within Your Frame in West Coast Swing

Dancing within your frame for Followers

Followers, how often have you heard to “maintain your frame”?

Frame is one of the most important concepts for following because your frame establishes how your body relates to your partner.

In this post, we’ll help establish the boundaries of your frame so you can comfortably dance within your own space.

Struggling with practicing alone? Read this Article (w/Video)

The drill for followers

Stand in front of a wall or mirror. Hold your right arm out as if you were connected to your partner, with your fingers bent at the second knuckle and your wrist straight. Stand in third foot position with your fingers just touching the wall and enough bend in the elbow to allow you to settle back in an anchor without taking your hand off the wall.

With as little pressure into the wall as possible, dance a push break without becoming overextended or taking your hand away from the wall. During the 3&4, your feet will be at the baseboards. You will need to take small steps, and you will probably feel very cramped the first few times you try this exercise. Whenever you need to, simply reset at your anchor position and resume dancing.

When you are actually dancing, the point of connection will move from the body lead of your partner. However, you are still responsible for executing your part of the dance within the frame established by your body. This drill is useful for helping you discover the range of space that your body makes available.

Once you’ve mastered dancing within a push break, try a sugar tuck. As you come in on 3&4, lift your connected hand and then rotate around. As you finish your rotation, you should still be able to touch the wall and anchor like you did with the plain push break.

You can extend this drill by adding footwork variations or styling angles. No matter how you move yourself, you should be able to keep your point of connection stable. You can also practice adding technical elements, such as rolling through the foot or contra-body rotation, while maintaining your frame. Experiment to see how comfortable you can be within your body’s frame.

Dancing within Your Frame for Leaders

Although WCS dancers talk about frame more frequently with followers, leaders need to become comfortable with their own frame as well. For leaders, understanding the size of your frame is the key to body leading (and eliminating arm leads), creating shape during your patterns, and letting your follower develop her anchor.

Struggling with practicing alone? Read this Article (w/Video)

The drill for leaders

Find a thin, tall object like a halogen lamp stand. The object should be stable enough to stand upright on its own, but not so large of a base that it can’t be pulled over. If you don’t have anything, a friend can help by holding the end of a broomstick or a long dowel.

Gently put your left hand around the object and stand in third foot position. You should have enough room in the arm to roll through your anchor without overextending or pulling on the object.

From that position, run a push break without pulling the object over. This includes stepping back on 1 and back or together on 2. If you need more arm room, move your anchor closer to the object and try again. It will feel incredibly cramped the first few times you do it, and that’s ok. The goal of this exercise is to train you to move small and to stay within the space created by your arms. Whenever you need to, reset in your anchor position and try again.

In real dancing, your partner is going to come towards you because of the energy built during the anchor, and so your arms will absorb that energy during the 3&4 of the push break. For now, though, focus on managing your own energy within your own frame.

Bonus Variations: This drill can be extended in a virtually limitless variety of exercises. You can practice dancing within your frame from your right hand. You can practice doing footwork variations or adding angles to your dancing. You can work on rolling through your feet within your frame. Whatever skill you are practicing—make sure that you can execute it without depending on additional slack from your partner’s arms.

Improve your spins with this drill!

Enter your email - watch the video now!
WATCH NOW
close-link

The #1 Key toMusicality in West Coast Swing
WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

Improve your turns
for 2-Step
with this FREE video!

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

3 keys to styling
with any dance partner!
WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

5 different ways to
Style Your Anchor Step
WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

SHOW ME THE SONGS 
close-link

Learn the basics
of West Coast Swing
in this FREE video!

GET THE VIDEO
close-link

 Get our FREE
Move of the Week Videos

GET YOUR FIRST VIDEO
close-link

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

Learn the most important
Footwork Drill
for west coast swing

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

3 Keys to better
Social Dancing

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link

Learn to Stay on Time
with these 4 tips

WATCH THE VIDEO 
close-link


 
Watch your video
close-link

200+ FREE Resources
to Improve your dancing
A guide to our best Free Resources:
Musicality, Spins & Turns, Footwork, Practice tips, Beginners, Connection, Anchor Steps, more... 
Get the e-book now!
Made with ❤️by Brian B at west coast swing online
close-link


 
Watch the video
close-link


 
Dowload it here
close-link
200+ FREE Resources - Get your West Coast Swing E-Book!
Get the e-book!
close-image