The Boing Thing

West Coast Swing Online Connection

WCS has an elastic connection. Just like a rubber band that is stretched, the WCS connection will recoil as it releases the stored energy from the stretch. Tessa Cunningham has famously given this recoil the “boing” sound, and adding a boing to your WCS will allow you to work off the energy generated by the dance instead of having to create every movement from scratch.

This drill will focus on learning the boing mechanics solo, in an anchor situation. Once you have mastered that action, further drills will expand to working with a partner at different points in the dance.

The Drill: Find a sturdy surface that you can hold onto as a connection point: door frames and sinks are great choices. Keep good frame and engage your lats as you hold on your connection point. Put yourself in an anchor third and roll through the foot, settling into the hip.

There is a natural elasticity to the muscles in the arm and back. Your goal in this drill is to find that moment when your muscles are loaded, like a stretched rubber band, so that they recoil without having to manually contract any muscles. If you settle too slowly, you won’t feel that point. Settle too fast and you’ll go past the point where the recoil can move you forward. When you get it right, you’ll feel a “boing” as your body bounces out of the settled position and moves forward slightly.

Keep experimenting with different speeds and degrees of settling. Your goal is to be able to create a boing out of any position. If you boing forward by pulling your arm, you’re cheating! You should be able to create a boing without using your arm to reel yourself in.

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