Stop looking messy when you dance

West Coast Swing Online Styling

One of the common “looks” of beginner dancers is that they dance square to the slot. In their eagerness to be ready for the next move, they get to the end of the slot and stop their movement. More advanced dancers, by contrast, shape their bodies on an angle to the slot in order to continue their motion and create a more fluid appearance.

When adding angles to your dancing, especially on the anchor, it is easy to overdo it. If you open your body too much, it appears like you have broken connection with your partner, and it can be hard to return your body to a neutral position in time for the following movement. In this exercise, you’ll practice a technique to create an appropriate angle to the slot.

The Drill: Stand with feet together and your shoulders square, as if you had squared off at the end of the slot. In this position, hold your arms out in front of you and touch your palms together.

From this position, pick one side and rotate your hips and shoulders on that side backwards until that hand is at your wrist. For instance, if you rotated your right side back, your right palm should now be touching your left wrist. This is the amount of angle you should aim to have at the end of the slot.

Once you have identified that angle, practice shaping your body to that angle as you dance an anchor. You can keep your hands extended in order to check that you aren’t rotating too far. If your palm needs to move further up your arm, you have overrotated.

Followers: this exercise is also a great check for the size of your preps. If you prep yourself into a turn by rotating your hand past your wrist, you are probably over-prepping. Keep your angle small enough that you can reach your wrist with the hand connected to the side that is prepped open.

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