Develop your styling vocabulary

West Coast Swing Online Styling

If you’ve hosted your closed-windows dance party, you should have some movements that have the potential to be good play pieces. How do you polish them so that you’re willing to dance them in front of people?

The Drill: This is a solo drill. Start by picking one or two of the “this has potential” movements that you discovered during your dance party. Find a large mirror that you can practice in front of. As you do the movement, pay attention to what makes the movement look or feel awkward—weird arm angles, being unbalanced after a kick, etc. Do the movement again and try to eliminate that awkward element.

The key to this exercise is your willingness to experiment. It’s easy to see what went wrong; fixing it is much harder. So, when you find something that’s not quite right, be willing to try a bunch of options to fix it. You may have to experiment with a half-dozen elements—where is the leg pointed, how is it rotated, what part of the foot is making contact with the ground, how is your upper body shaped, etc.—before you find something that looks right. That’s ok, and is in fact a normal part of the process. Be willing to try tweaking lots of bits in order to find something that looks good on you.

Once you have found a way to make the move look good, don’t stop there! It’s really important to practice it a number of times doing it right, so that your body can remember how to get there. It would be a shame to do all that work of refining the movement and then not do the repetitions to preserve your work!

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Dance Instructor

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