Mastering the Anchor Step in West Coast Swing

The anchor is one of the most important parts of west coast swing. Not only does every pattern end in an anchor—so you dance anchors a lot—but the anchor is also responsible for much of the distinctive look to WCS. Elasticity, smoothness, the relaxed groove of the dance: all of these things are deeply connected to the anchor. Start now and find out how mastering the anchor step in west coast swing can help you significantly.

For a beginner, there are two key elements to the WCS anchor. First: the anchor does not move. Hence the name, “anchor.” Second: the anchor stretches away from your partner. “Anchors away!” is a good phrase to keep in mind. The following drill will help you practice both of these elements.

The Drill: Without a partner, put yourself in the position immediately before an anchor. For leaders, your weight is on your left foot; followers, your weight is on your right. This foot will not move during the entire drill. We’re going to call this foot the “non-anchor” foot for now.

Take your free foot (leader’s right, follower’s left) and put it in third foot position, but do not yet put your weight on the foot. If it helps to let your foot hover slightly, go ahead. At this point, you are trying to feel where the foot belongs without falling onto the foot. We’re going to call this foot your anchor foot because your anchor will start and end with your weight on this foot.

Without moving your non-anchor foot, do a triple step (anchor foot, non-anchor foot, anchor foot). Even though you are transferring your weight, focus on keeping the anchor foot in third foot position.

Repeat this process until you can comfortably perform an anchor triple in the correct foot position.

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