Shaping the Anchor Step

West Coast Swing Online Styling

Because the anchor occurs at the end of every WCS pattern, the anchor is one of the best places to learn style variations. A common variation is to add dimension to the dance by moving your anchor off-center. Depending on what your partner does, this technique can either shift the slot, making the dance wider, or it can create rotation around the post, adding angles to the dance.

In this exercise, you’ll practice shaping your anchor with your partner. The goal of this exercise is to become comfortable with adding shapes to your anchor, and understanding how your choices interact with the choices of your partner.

The Drill: Have your partner dance patterns with a basic anchor. While your partner anchors, use an anchor variation that moves you to one side of the slot. For instance, you can use a third-and-side anchor to move to the side of your anchor foot.

As you move during your anchor, have your partner check that you aren’t moving the post. Notice how you have created an angle on the anchor. Switch tasks so your partner can experience the same thing when they create the angle.

Once you both have experienced creating shapes while your partner stays basic, try having both of you choose an anchor variation. If you move together (for instance, the follower moves to her right and the leader moves to his left), it will feel natural to shift the slot with your movement. If you move against each other, you’ll feel the angle become much more pronounced than when one of you stayed in place. Both are okay—experiment with all the possible combinations and feel what adjustments you need to make in order for the connection to still feel comfortable!

When you end on an angle, also practice dancing into the next pattern. Make the transition smooth; you want to be back in the slot by count 2, but you don’t need to be square right at the beginning of count 1.

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