West Coast Swing Whips – Footwork & Timing
In this article we will try to give you some information about the introduction of the sometimes confusing West Coast Swing Whip into your dancing. First a lets do a basic overview of west coast swing. There are 2 basic footwork rhythms in WCS. The most basic footwork rhythm is the 6 count rhythm. The second basic rhythm is the 8 count rhythm of the whip. In this post we will talk about the the difference in the two with a focus on the second basic rhythm, the 8 count rhythm of the West Coast Swing whip. Lets get started shall we?
West Coast Swing Basic Whip
The Basic Whip introduces the 8-count rhythm into a pattern for the first time, and also gets introduces you to closed position where the leader closes his right hand to the followers left shoulder blade. The follower passed the leader down the slot and is then redirected back to the original side of the slot
The footwork is: “step step tri-ple-step step step tri-ple-step.”
The count is: 1 2 3a4 5 6 7a8
While west coast swing is challenging enough as it is, the consistent switching between 6 and 8 count basic rhythms can up the difficulty for almost anyone. To become good at west coast swing you must take the time to master both of these rhythms.
What’s the difference between the 6 and 8 count Rhythms?
A good rule of thumb for knowing when you are dancing the 6 count rhythm, or the 8 count rhythm. is based on the followers position on count 4.
In the 6 count Rhythm: The followers 4-count is moving away from the leader like in the Side Pass, or Sugar Push.
In the 8 count Rhythm: The followers 4-count is moving toward the leader like in the whip.
Watch a demonstration of a Basic WCS whip here
Connection in your whip
While there are many different ways to dance your whip, becoming comfortable with the basic connections is key. In this video we go into detail about some of the things that that leaders and followers need to know!
PS the video will ask you to enter your email address about 45 seconds in. If you do you’ll be added to our WCS ‘Move of the Week’ list where we will send a free wcs video to you weekly. If you don’t want our cool stuff ;-( just hit skip in the bottom right of the video.
Other types of whips to know
While the possibilities of west coast swing patterns and especially whips are endless. Here is a list of some that you might come across.
- Whip with and Inside Turn
- Whip with and Outside Turn
- Locked Whip (also called the Basket Whips)
- Reverse Whip
- Same side Whip
- Hustle Whip
You can find detailed footwork and descriptions of all types of whips from beginner to advanced in our video section.
Ok I’ve got the hang of the whip whats next?
If you are reading this as a new dancer, I understand your struggles. West Coast Swing is a difficult dance to master. In fact if you have read this far you might just desperately want to be more comfortable dancing. If that is you… then I have 2 suggestions for you.
#1. You can sign up for our ‘Move of the Week Videos’
Each week or two, we send out and awesome WCS video via email. Some weeks its a pattern, sometimes its a tip but you’ll always get something to up your game on the dance floor.
#2 You can purchase our BEGINNERS GUIDE TO WCS
Yep ,we understand your struggles, so we created a step by step course to help you get comfortable dancing West Coast Swing! In the course we left no stone unturned. Inside you’ll find.
- 8 Basic Patterns (of course)
- The 7 patterns you need 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…
I’ve been teaching wcs to dancers just like you so I put EVERYTHING I could think into this course. No matter what your level (beginner to new intermediate dancer) I think you’ll love this course. You can check it out here!