In my experience as a teacher I think the ways followers and leaders approach west coast swing group classes should be totally different! The skill to becoming good leaders in west coast swing group class are specific! First let me say this, the leader probably has the longer road in the amount you need to retain from a class to be proficient. On the other hand the follower usually has the physically more challenging role.
Leaders in West Coast Swing group class
A a leader in a west coast swing group class I think you need to be focused on a few different things but I think there needs to be in a specific order in what you pay attention to first.
First you need to learn your footwork. Obviously you need to understand every step but lets focus on 2 more basic keys first.
#1 Focus on the basic pattern that your more advanced pattern is being built on. A reverse whip with a cross hand hold and a double outside spin for the lady is still only basic footwork for the leader. Pay attention to the basic footwork you already know, once you identify which basic pattern your are working off of you can move on to the second step.
#2 Pay attention to which direction the girl is rotating. She can only spin two different directions in west coast swing, inside and outside. Remember which one she is turning. This is a big key! Also pay attention to which hand of yours is doing most of the work. Often times if you have both hands one of them is actually leading. Know which one that is.
Once you understand your footwork and the direction the girl is turning you are doing pretty darn well. You’re probably leading the pattern! The final key is to start to understand HER FOOTWORK! Ok ok I know thats a lot to ask but let me make it a bit easier on you. Pay attention to where she is on counts 2-4-6-8 of the pattern. This will really help deepen your understanding of the pattern.
My last piece of advice to the leaders it to try and forget 80% of what you learn. Its the Pareto or 80/20 principal applied to dancing. 80% of your dance will be made up of 20% of your moves. I’m sure you’re thinking…”WHAT? What the heck does that mean?” LOL Here is what I mean. You probably don’t want to use all of the west coast swing group class patterns and variations your will see. What you need is a couple patterns that fit into your game. Patterns that make sense to you and with the people you will be dancing with. Maybe you need one ‘cool kid’ pattern that you really learn well and learn to lead lots of partner through. Maybe you just need to learn some slick variations of patterns that you already know so you can keep your moves fresh.
Leaders in west coast swing group class need to go class with these things in mind. I think you will have a much higher success rate of learning quickly and retaining a lot of what you learn. Best of luck! If you have any questions please feel free to email me!
See you on the dance floor,
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