Learning from Other Dances: SLIP

Learning from Other Dances: SLIP

Every now and then, you need to watch some beautiful dancing for inspiration. The following video has been circulating on Facebook, but it’s gorgeous enough to save for later viewings.

Please enjoy SLIP by Phillip Chbeeb and Renee Kester.

When you watch other forms of dance for inspiration, it’s helpful to pick some element to watch. If you are working on your lines, for instance, you might watch how dancers in a different style position their body parts. If you want to improve your partnering, you can watch how a couple interacts physically, visually, or emotionally throughout a dance.

Not every element will translate to west coast swing, obviously. But seeing how dancers in a different genre create an experience can give you ideas that you can play with in your own style.

Switching Between Point and Poke

In last week’s exercise, you learned how backward movement differs from forwards movement through the point and poke exercise. This week, you’ll practice switching between forward and backward motion. When dancing, you need to switch between moving forward and moving backward regularly, especially in a non-progressive dance like west coast swing. So, training yourself toContinue Reading

Point and Poke

Point and Poke

In this exercise, you will practice moving forward and backwards using your center. This exercise will improve the quality of your body flight. The human body is not symmetrical from front to back. The spine is not in the middle of the body; the head, ribs, pelvis, and feet stick forward from the spine. AsContinue Reading

Work Through a Straight Leg

Work Through a Straight Leg

The general rule for west coast swing is that you should not have two bent knees unless you are deliberately creating a level change. Learning to work through a straight leg on every step will improve the quality of your lines. In this exercise, we’re going to work through a straight leg on steps inContinue Reading

Balance in Weird Positions

Balance in Weird Positions

Now that you know how to find your center for balance, we can have some fun by discovering just how much play you can have within your body. Today’s drill is an opportunity to close the blinds so the neighbors can’t watch, because you are going to explore how many ridiculous positions you can getContinue Reading

Thinking Downbeats and Upbeats in Patterns

Thinking Downbeats and Upbeats in Patterns

When you’ve mastered hearing upbeats and downbeats in music, you are ready to bring that skill into your pattern work. West coast swing is a two-beat dance, so all patterns are built on the downbeat-upbeat structure. If all you dance is basic, off-the-shelf WCS patterns, you don’t need to know that structure because the danceContinue Reading

Fixing Pelvic Tilt with Glute Bridges

One of the major causes of poor posture is letting your butt stick out. When the muscles along your posterior chain (e.g., glutes and hamstrings) are weak, and your frontside muscles (like the hip flexor and quads) are tight, your hip rotates forward. The hip-rotated-forward position is called anterior pelvic tilt, and it results inContinue Reading

Squeeze, Don’t Swing

Squeeze, Don’t Swing

One of the easiest ways to lose your balance when spinning is by swinging the free leg. Inexperienced spinners tend to swing the free leg in the hopes of generating power for the spin. However, swinging the free leg makes it incredibly difficult to stay balanced during the turn. The better way to use theContinue Reading

Counting Downbeats and Upbeats

Counting Downbeats and Upbeats

Because west coast swing is a two-beat dance, recognizing the difference between downbeats and upbeats is an essential skill. As patterns become more complex and as the dancers introduce more play in the middle of patterns, you need to immediately know which beat is which in order to stay on the correct timing. The Drill:Continue Reading

Putting the Arm Swing into Patterns

Putting the Arm Swing into Patterns

In today’s drill, you’ll learn to put a natural arm motion into your basic patterns. This drill is an extension of finding the natural swing of your arms, so review that exercise before trying this. So, you’ve found your natural arm swing? Quickly do that drill again, and focus on feeling the connection between yourContinue Reading