Getting Into Play

West Coast Swing Online Styling

Now that you know how to get out of play, it’s time to get into it.

Play is a temporary break from the standard WCS structure. So, you can indicate that play is starting by departing from what would normally be expected in the WCS connection.

For these drills, we’re going to take a basic left side pass. With your partner, dance a couple of left side passes and notice what the connection feels like between 2 and 3. It should be an away connection, and we’re going to give it a number. On a scale of 1 (almost no connection) to 10 (the heaviest connection you could possibly dance), what you normally feel at that point is going to be a 3. Dance it a few more times and mentally file away what 3 feels like.

The Drill—Leader-Initiated Play:

Leaders, getting into play on your side really means giving the follower an opportunity to play. You don’t have the ability to force her to play, so you get into play by telling the follower, “You can take this if you want it” and then giving her that opportunity. The easiest way to do that is to dial down the connection so she knows that she isn’t being asked to do anything in particular.

The drill for leader-initiated play is to dance a left side pass. After count 2, the leader should dial down the connection from 3 to 1. There is still a little connection, but it’s noticeably less than it would normally be. Followers, that’s your cue to do your thing. Match the level of connection he’s giving you, and proceed to play. Restart the side pass and practice doing a normal 1, 2 and then the leader dialing it down to 1 by count 3, until the leader can reliably change the connection and the follower can reliably match it.

The Drill—Follower-Initiated Play:

Followers, you are welcome to request play at any point. However, you need to do so in a way that allows the leader to say “now’s not a good time” if necessary. Otherwise, you are hijacking the pattern rather than playing. The easiest way to do this is to turn up the connection. With the side pass, you are going to turn the 3 up to a 5.

Again, dance a left side pass. This time, at count 3, the follower is going to increase the connection to a 5, and the leader will match it. This act of matching tells the follower that playing is ok. Practice the start of the side pass and the follower-initiated play until the follower can reliably change the connection and the leader can reliably match it.

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