Looking to improve your balance in west coast swing? Beginning dancers tend to spend a lot of time dancing split weight. They don’t complete their weight transfers, and as a result feel off-balanced, slow, or stuck when dancing through a pattern.
When dancers learn how to finish their weight transfers, however, the opposite problem can occur. They can transfer all of their weight to the active foot and let the free leg lose tone. When the free leg becomes entirely disconnected, it is harder to be grounded, the lines are not as good, and fast movements become less controlled.
In this drill, we’ll work on getting pressure into the free foot in order to stay grounded. If you tend to dance split weight, this drill is not for you right now—you should focus on clearly transferring your center between your feet. But, if you are cleanly weighted over one leg at a time, this drill will help you keep energy through your free leg.
The Drill: On your own, dance through your basics slowly. Focus on keeping some energy into your non-weighted foot. If you think mechanically, aim for 10% of your body weight. You should have enough energy to keep the leg engaged and feel the pressure of the floor, but not enough to require your center to move if you release the foot.
If you have a partner, he or she can test you by trying to push your free foot with their foot. If your partner can easily move your foot, you aren’t maintaining enough energy into the floor.
You should be able to sustain energy into the floor during all of your movements, unless you are deliberately picking the foot off the ground (for instance, in a kick ball-change).