Switching between moving forwards and backwards

West Coast Swing Online Footwork

In last week’s exercise, you learned how backward movement differs from forwards movement through the point and poke exercise. This week, you’ll practice switching between forward and backward motion.

When dancing, you need to switch between moving forward and moving backward regularly, especially in a non-progressive dance like west coast swing. So, training yourself to move correctly for your direction of travel is an important skill to master.

The Drill: Find a space large enough to walk in a circle, and begin walking forward using the point technique: finger pointed forward from your rib cage.

Continue walking as you turn around so that you are now going backwards. As you do so, flip from a point to a poke: finger poking into your navel. You should feel your feet moving earlier than your upper body so you can maintain your forward pitch as you move backwards.

Switch back and forth between the two directions, pointing when you are moving forward and poking when you move backward. The goal of this exercise is to train yourself to adjust your body mechanics automatically when you move in a different direction, so keep practicing until it becomes second nature.

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