Smooth Connection: Playing with Quarters

West Coast Swing Online Connection

The goal of this drill is to help dancers become aware of when they break connection with their partner.

The Drill: Connect with your partner in open position as normal, and feel the away connection where the fingers pull against each other. Put a quarter in between this connection point; the quarter should be held up solely by the pulling away action of the partnership.

The drill is simple: dance while not letting the quarter slip out. If either partner breaks connection, you’ll know it instantly! It should be relatively easy to dance a left side pass. A right side pass or any other move that involves an inside turn/a pin-and-cup hand connection can be done with a bit of finesse. Tuck turns or other outside turns may require some sleight of hand in order to keep the quarter up. Whips and push breaks should cause the quarter to fall when you switch from leverage to compression, so it’s probably a good idea to avoid those patterns for this drill.

Bonus Variations: You can also do the same drill while putting the quarter on top of the follower’s hand. In this version, the goal is to keep your hand quiet and steady, instead of twisting it back and forth as you dance. Obviously, this drill will limit you to moves in which the leading hand does not come up for a turn; left side passes, push breaks, and whips are all fair game.

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