Working the Anchor

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.

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