Transition Weight Triple Spins

West Coast Swing Online Spins & Turns

One of the common led syncopations in WCS is the transitional weight triple, in which the follower ends the spin with an extended leg but no weight change, and then shifts on the & in order to make up the weight change for the next movement. This rhythm is used in almost every hip catch, and the shift of weight on the & is a great mechanic for followers to fix their spins socially if the leader does not prep them correctly.

Most triple spins start on a downbeat and end on an upbeat. For instance, the left side inside roll has the follower spin on the 3&4. If the follower has a double outside turn on a whip, she will spin on 7&8. If a leader spins on the anchor of a pattern, he will spin on 5&6.

In the transition weight triple, the last action on the upbeat is unweighted. The leg extends out to create a line, but it does not receive weight. Because a weight change was removed, an extra step is needed in order to get on the correct foot for the next two-beat segment of the dance, and so a transition of weight is added on the & before the next downbeat.

The Drill: For this drill, you will need enough space for a standard triple spin. You are going to spin side to side, instead of progressively; when you face a wall mirror (or just a plain wall), you will be spinning parallel to the wall.

Start by facing the wall and put all your weight on your right foot. Your left leg should be to your side. You are not in a lunge, but your right knee is soft and your left leg is straight to create a line. You should be able to comfortably push yourself from your right leg to your left leg without having to bring the left foot in.

From here, you will spin to your left. Shift weight to your left as your preparatory step. This is the transition weight: you didn’t need to move your left foot, but you did need to move your weight to your left.

Now the spin proper occurs. Close your right foot to your left as you rotate halfway around. You should now be facing away from the front wall, with your feet together in first foot position and your weight on your right foot.

Take another step down your line of travel with your left foot as you continue rotating to face the front wall. Again, your feet should end in approximately first foot position. Your left foot doesn’t need to be tight against your right foot, but you don’t want to be in an open stance. To keep your feet together, think of softening into the left hip, knee, and ankle as your land. You should be directing your energy down into the ground, rather than down the line, in order to stick your landing. As you soften into your left side, allow the right leg to extend out to the right in a mirror of your starting position. Be sure that you aren’t putting weight into your right foot; this count is an unweighted action.

The timing for this spin one motion per every half count (beats and &-counts). When you translate this drill into the dance, you are doing a transition weight triple: the prep happens on &, you step on the downbeat and the next &, and the settle happens on the upbeat.

Do the same thing going the other direction: shift weight to your right on the preparatory &, step down line with a half rotation on the downbeat, finish the rotation with your right on the &, and settle as you extend the left leg on the upbeat.

During this drill, you can either spot down the line as your travel or you can spot the front wall. I find it easier to generate power by spotting down line and easier to stop by spotting the front wall. Ultimately, which direction you spot is a personal choice.

Practice going back and forth. You should be able to link the spins with no interruption because the settle at the end of each spin preps you to transition and spin in the other direction. If you do this drill continuously, you will have an action on every single & count. Your count will be: &1&settle, &3&settle.

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