Dancing Within Your Frame for Followers

West Coast Swing Online Connection

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.

The Drill: 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.

Bonus Variations: 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!

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