Are you struggling with how to master a pattern in west coast swing? Are you thinking…. How do the pros come up with so many moves? Every dance, they create brand new movements. Is there a secret YouTube channel of All-Star tricks?
No. In fact, what the pros do is the opposite of pattern stealing. Instead, they have become so proficient with their basics that they can turn a movement into an awesome pattern on-the-fly.
Developing that skill requires you to spend time discovering all the little things you can adjust within your basic patterns. That’s where this drill come in.
The Drill: With a partner, put on a song and dance a full song of only left side passes. The catch is that no pass can be the same as any other. After about 30 seconds, the leaders will probably run out of moves and the followers will have used up all their syncopations. Now the real learning starts.
For the rest of the song, continue doing left side passes. Become aware of all the opportunities that you feel during the pass. This time, the follower was a little more rotated inwards on 2: what can you do with that? The next time, the leader may have put a shoulder isolation into the lead down the slot; followers, what options can that create for you?
If you’re struggling, remember that it’s not just the two of you. The music is a partner in this exercise too, and you should use it. The song may tell you to keep your footwork tighter than normal (if it’s a fast keyboard/percussion line), or it may ask you to add some slow rotation (if there’s a drawn out vocal). Find ways to incorporate the music’s suggestions as readily as the suggestions of your human partner.
Struggling with just remembering your patterns? Read, 5 ways to remember your patterns. Inside we give you our 5 best tips for remembering those moves.
Bonus Variations: Once you’ve done this drill with left side passes, do it again with right side passes, whips, and push breaks. Push breaks in particular will be challenging because most of us dance our push breaks very contained. Break out of that box and discover how much freedom is available within all of your basics.