Beginner west coast swing

West Coast Swing Beginners – Basic Patterns

West Coast Swing Online Beginners 4 Comments

All West Coast Swing beginners need to know these basic patterns.  WCS basic patterns have been called some of the most difficult basics of any dance. Its true that west coast swing is not and easy dance to learn as a beginner. That being said there is not more fun and dynamic dance than west coast swing. Take the time to master your basics in west coast swing and let the fun begin!

Looking for some great WCS music?  Check this page out!

West Coast Swing Basic Patterns – 6 counts

Sugar Push

(aka push break) A six-count basic where the follower, facing the leader, is then led from the end of the slot towards the leader before being returned to the same spot. Although this seems like a simple move the pattern requires both a ‘towards’ and ‘away’ connection making it quite difficult for beginners. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Sugar Tuck

A six-count basic similar to a sugar push where the follower is lead from her spot in the slot back to the same spot she started. The difference in the sugar tuck it in the fact that the leader ‘tucks’ the follower causing her to face away from him on count 4. Then the follower heads under the leaders arm to face him again at the end of the 5&6. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Right Side Pass

(aka under arm turn) A six-count basic where the follower is led to the other end of the slot, passing on the leader’s right (right side pass) or additionally under the leader’s arm (underarm pass). Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Left-side pass

A six-count basic where the follower is led to the other end of the slot, passing on the leader’s left. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Tuck turn

Six-count basic similar to the left side pass. This pattern has a ‘tucking’ action on the 2 where the follower turns toward the leader then back away down the slot on the 4. The follower then turns under the leaders arm on the 5&6. Although this is a very common partner in intermediate west cost swing it is sometimes left out of beginner classes because of its difficulty for new dancers. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Rolling side pass

A six-count basic where the follower passes the leader while executing one and a half turns ending on the other side of the slot. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

West Coast Swing Beginner Patterns – 8 counts


The first eight-count basic pattern. In a whip, the follower is led past the leader and then redirected back towards the end of slot over 8 beats of music.  The basic footwork for a whip extends the six-count pattern by inserting a pair of walking steps between the triple steps. The footwork becomes “walk walk, tri-ple-step, walk walk, tri-ple-step.” Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5 6, 7&8.


Watch all the basic patterns of West Coast Swing

Want to jump to the pattern you are looking for?

  • SUGAR PUSH 0:53
  • SUGAR TUCK 8:16
  • INSIDE ROLL 12:12
  • WHIP 15:54

BONUS resources!


Take your WCS to the next level!

Get the BEGINNERS GUIDE to West Coast Swing!

If you really want to get good at west coast swing and want to avoid the frustration that can come along with the process… then we have something for you.

Its at complete step by step process, with 27 videos to help you become a good west coast swing dancer.

The course includes:

  • 8 Basic Patterns (of course)
  • The 7 most important patterns to learn next!
  • 10 Practice song suggestions
  • 3 Tips to improve your spins
  • 2 Easy things to improve your styling
  • 3 Keys to better timing, so you can stay on beat!
  • 4 Hand holds you need to know
  • Group Class, Private Lesson & Social Dance advice and more…

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Beginner West Coast Swing Technique

Learning your basic patterns is only one part of WCS.

One of the biggest hurdles for the new dancer is learning to stay on time. You can find some good info on finding the beat in WCS in this article. If you really want to unlock your musicality in West Coast, check out The Ultimate Guide to Musicality.

Having trouble with your connection? Our video library has a great free video that can help!

For the followers spinning can often be a challenge. Although the beginners guide listed above is a perfect place to start, this article, 3 turns to master for west coast swing will be a great resource. Maybe you  just want to dive into our Ultimate Guide to Spins and Turns. It has EVERYTHING you’ll need to become a great spinner.


Want to watch a great beginner west coast swing tutorial?

This video is not a complete teaching guide to wcs but it will demonstrate the most basic patterns in sort of a ‘crash course’ method. The above course is really the best way to get good at all aspects of your West Coast Swing. The Beginners Guide to WCS  covers patterns, connection, spins, timing, styling, wcs etiquette and much more..

This video is a short ‘Crash Course’ but if you want a video of ALL the Beginner Patterns… We will send one to you for FREE JUST – CLICK HERE

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