west coast swing dance basics

Moving your body during the anchor step

West Coast Swing Online Anchor Step

The next time you watch pros, notice how their bodies keep moving after they have set the anchor step. We sometimes call this posting. Even when they are anchoring, there is still movement through the body as they establish the stretch of the dance.

Beginner dancers struggle to move without taking the post with them. In this exercise, you’re going to practice moving around a point of connection so that you can free your body to move after establishing the post.

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The Drill: Find an edge of a surface that you can hold onto—the lip of a sink, the frame of a door, or the handle of your refrigerator will work nicely. Make sure that you have some space around the surface to move around.

Hold onto the edge as if it was your partner. Move your center just slightly further away from the edge than your feet so you can feel a connection. This should be slight: if you have enough force to open the fridge or move a door, you’ve gone too far. You want just a little bit of away energy.

Take a moment to feel how your body is connected through the hand. Are your fingers flush against the surface? Is your hand horizontal, vertical, or in between? Notice where you are, because your goal is to maintain this position for the next part of the drill.

While maintaining that position, try to move around the edge. You can move closer or further away by adjusting the distance from your center to your elbow, and you can move side to side by pivoting around your shoulder or wrist. No matter where you move, try to maintain the hand position and the away connection that you initially established.

As you become comfortable moving your body without disrupting the connection, you can start putting in footwork or styling variations. Try a side-and-cross anchor, or a body roll that settles into third foot position. You are training yourself how to dance while posted. As you dance, pay attention to how your body needs to adjust in order to maintain the connection.

Want something more advanced?

Check out our post on moving your anchor step. It includes some advanced concepts and a sneak preview to our advanced Leaders and Styling courses!


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