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West Coast Swing Dancing

By on January 1, 2017

West Coast Swing (WCS) is a partner-based dance whereby partners primarily move in a “slot”.  The dance moves have an almost “elastic” look and is very different from East Coast Swing (ECS), which is more like jive/swing. The music used is generally medium to slow tempo, similar to “Cha Cha” music that is danced in International Style Latin.

West Coast Swing (WCS) Guest instructors, Larry Hough and Debbie Russell, presented a series of danceScape classes in this fun style of partner dancing. Larry regularly travels the U.S. competing in the Masters Division, as well as regularly seeks upgrading and fine-tuning of his WCS skills from Pro’s. He teaches a Beginner series for those who have never danced WCS before and would like to solidify skills. Or learn the opposite role to improve your understanding of connection and what the other role thinks about during the dance.

This West Coast Swing beginner course took couples through the basic patterns of the dance, timing, navigating the “slot”, how to end each pattern before starting the next (“anchoring”) and an introduction to how West Coast Swing leaders and followers use the connection throughout a dance. The goal of the course was to teach students enough about West Coast Swing that they can dance an entire song with any familiar or unfamiliar partner using all of the fundamentals.

Level 1 Advanced was a continuation of the West Coast Swing Beginner’s course. To take this course, students required a good understanding of the basic 6 and 8 beat patterns of West Coast Swing. After completing this course, they took basic patterns to a new level adding many variations. Learning to lead and to follow these variations will allow students to dance more towards the tempo and tone of one song vs. the next song. This is where students really began to feel the excitement of West Coast Swing and how much personal expression is valued.

A partner was not required to take this introduction course. During the lesson, there were rotation of partners so that WCS students got to meet and dance with everyone in the class; that is, all leaders will dance with all followers.

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