Creating your own style

West Coast Swing Online Styling

Have you watched a champions Jack and Jill and been amazed at how different everyone’s dance looked? West coast swing is one of the few partner dances that encourages its dancers to develop their own style. If you’re wondering how to start cultivating your style, keep reading!

The Drill: On your own, sit down and write down a list of five to ten adjective that you want to describe your dancing. Do you want to be funny? Cool? Silly? Funky? Elegant? Flashy? Relaxed? There are no wrong answers—just write down what comes to you!

If you’re having a hard time coming up with adjectives, ask a trusted dance friend what they think your dance personality is like. They will probably have some great suggestions for what you do naturally.

Once you have your list of adjectives, pick two from that list. For each of those two adjectives, write a sentence or two describing what that adjective would look like in your dance. As an example, if you picked “silly,” you might write, “I want to pantomime lyrics in a comic manner, like Matt Auclair.” Or, for “elegant you might say, “I want all of my movement to appear graceful and classy, like Brandi Tobias.” If you can pick a specific pro that exemplifies that trait, that’s great!

Finally, spend some time watching videos of yourself and the pros that exemplify the adjectives you’re looking for. Note what movements showcase those adjectives. Are there specific things the pros do that you can incorporate? Are there elements of your dancing that you want to bring out?

This kind of reflection can be extremely useful for clarifying how you want to develop your dance style. Share it with your coaches and practice partners so they can help encourage your look. One more tip: make a note in your calendar to revisit this list in six months. By checking back in with your style goals on a regular basis, you can make sure that your dance is growing in the direction you want to go!

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