Learn to style while staying connected

West Coast Swing Online Connection

Hinge Around Your Connected Arm

One of the great elements of WCS is that each partner can add their own styling to the dance without throwing off the other partner. But, that’s only possible once each partner learns to move without affecting the connection.

In today’s drill, you are going to work on pivoting around a hinge. From the pivot point to the point of connection, nothing will move and so your partner will be unaffected. As a result, you will become free to move the rest of your body as you style the dance.

The Drill: This drill can be done either with a partner or with a stationary object such as a sink or door frame. Use your hand to connect with your partner (or your stationary connection point) and stand in a normal open position.

In that position, notice where your elbow is. Your elbow is going to become your pivot point. Practice moving yourself in a semicircle around your elbow, without affecting the elbow-to-hand positioning. Think of your elbow as being the hinge of a door, with your body being the door. The door should be able to swing open and closed around the hinge. Likewise, your body can rotate around your elbow, with the elbow-to-hand portion of your frame remaining steady. If you are holding a stationary object, try to keep the sensation in your hand the same. If you are connected to a partner, ask for feedback if the connection changes.

Your goal is to be able to hinge around your elbow, without affecting anything closer to the point of connection. Your hinge range will depend on your joint mobility, especially in the shoulder, but you should be able to move within a 180 degree arc (from your body facing directly sideways to the slot and your shoulders extending the line made by your arm, to facing directly into your arm and your entire body being closer to the point of connection than your elbow).

Once you have found your range of motion, you can play with footwork that will move you within that space. Remember that your goal through all of this is to leave the point of connection unaffected!

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