Have you ever watched the pros danced and been amazed at how much stretch builds during their anchor? Working the anchor adds so much depth to the dance: it adds definition to each move, builds momentum that makes moves look connected, and creates the amazing elastic feel of the dance.
With a little practice, you too can make your anchors stretch like the pros. The secret is how you count the anchor. By using the rolling count—6&a1—you can stretch all the way through the anchor.
We have a great video on this in the free membership section of the site! WATCH IT HERE It’s called ‘breathing into your anchor step’
The Drill: Without a partner, place your weight on your non-anchor foot (leader’s left/follower’s right). Dance the first two weight transfers of your anchor and step on the ball of your anchor foot for the third weight transfer. If you are dancing a six-count pattern, this is now 6. Count &a1 as you step your next weight transfer, which is the 1 of the next pattern.
Your goal is to roll through your anchor foot for the entirety of the 6&a, transferring weight to the 1 at the last possible instant. This takes a great deal of center control and ankle strength, so don’t be disappointed if you struggle at first. Keep practicing!
Saying &a as you count helps you take the time to develop your anchor stretch. As you fill the time from 6 to the 1, continue practicing to smooth out the movement of your center. Your ultimate goal is to have your center moving at a consistent rate through the entire beat.
Bonus Variations: When you can consistently move your center through the entire &a, try dancing with a partner. Both of you should be counting with the rolling count between 6 and 1. You should feel like your 6 hangs just an instant long and then catches up on the 1. Note: this is not a hitch or other syncopation. You are still keeping the basic pattern timing; it simply feels like the 6 takes longer because you are wringing every last moment of movement out of that count.