To be an anchor, any anchor variation must maintain the away connection that characterizes the anchor. The standard third foot position anchor is designed to make that connection automatic. We’re going to start changing the anchor with a variation that ends in third foot position in order to make it as easy as possible to sustain that connection. Thus, this drill will work on the side-and-third anchor.
The Drill: Leaders, place your weight on your left foot; followers, put your weight on your right. This is count 4 of a 6-count pattern, and you are about to go into your anchor.
Your next step should be to the side, rather than in third position. Leaders, step with your right foot to your right side; followers step to the left with your left foot. You can take this step slightly further than your shoulder width, but you should not be reaching to make the step. This step should be more than a check but less than a full step—you want to commit to the new foot but not settle entirely so that you can bounce off of the foot rather than having to restart your momentum for the & count of the triple.
Using your momentum from the more-than-a-check side step, recover on your other foot for the & count and bring the leader’s right/follower’s left into third foot position to finish the anchor.
Once you are comfortable with the footwork, practice keeping your weight back through the entire triple, just as you would on a normal anchor. You can drill the away connection by staying connected to a kitchen sink or fridge door while doing the footwork. Be sure that your weight remains back during the side step—you don’t want to lose the anchor connection on the first beat of your anchor!