Archived - Couples

Starting March 2nd - West Coast Swing



March 2, 9, 16, 23 West Coast Swing

Beginning PROMPTLY at 7:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

A $20 a person donation to the children's building is asked for the

four-week session.  You do not need a partner.   Please invite anyone who might be interested in learning the Nightclub Two Step or joining the dance program at St. John's.


St. John's United Methodist Church

321 S. Oakland Avenue, Rock Hill

Corner of Oakland Avenue and White Street One Block North of Downtown Main Street


History of the West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing is a contemporary style of swing developed in the 1940s on the West Coast in California. It has spread throughout the United States and is now one of the most popular forms of swing dancing. West Coast Swing is danced to a wide range of tempos (anywhere from 15 to 45 mpm). It can be slow and elegant, silky and sensual, or fast and furious, depending on the music being played.. It is danced in the Ballroom, Swing, and Country Western communities.

West Coast Swing is a "slotted" dance. Some say that this "slot" was born in Hollywood because "wide angle lenses" had not yet been invented. The directors needed to put the dancers in straight lines to get them "on" camera. This "slot" idea was to get the profile of the dancers rather than the backs of the dancers to the camera. If the dancers rotated while dancing it would not have shown the audience much dancing. This "slotted" style eventually caught on as the norm and it has stayed strictly "slotted" when danced socially.

Strictly "slotted" means the lady travels forward and backward along a single straight line on the floor (the "slot"). The man stays pretty much in one place. He is normally either in the other end of the "slot" or immediately next to the "slot" (which allows the lady to pass). Although there are turning figures, the lady should never step outside her "slot".

West Coast Swing employs both six and eight count figures. The six count figures begin with two walking steps, followed by two triple steps. It's counted: 1, 2, 3, &, 4, 5, &, 6 (walk, walk, tri-ple, step, tri-ple, step) The eight count figures begin with two walking steps, followed by a triple step, two walks, and a triple step. It's counted: 1, 2, 3, &, 4, 5, 6, 7, &, 8 (walk, walk, tri-ple, step, walk, walk, tri-ple, step) The last triple step at the end of the figures is danced in place and is called the "anchor step.

In the early days a "coaster step" (back, together, forward) was used at the end of the figures. This caused problems because the lady started forward too soon. The lady should not move forward under her own power at the end of the figures. This is how the "anchor step" came about. Now, she stays in place using the "anchor step" until she is led to walk forward.

The "anchor step's" main purpose is to reestablish the connection between the partners at the end of the figure and keep the lady from moving forward too soon. The "coaster step's" purpose is to change directions. There is a "forward coaster step" (forward, together, backward) and a "backwards coaster step"(backward, together, forward).

West Coast Swing allows the dancers more freedom simply because they are in "open dance position" most of the time. They can be very improvisational with the use of "syncopations" (i.e. rhythm variations, footwork variations, body waves, etc.). Syncopations are usually performed while not traveling (at anchor step time, at the 1st triple step in the sugar push, etc.). Syncopations are solo movements initiated spontaneously by each dancer. Theoretically the other partner doesn't know they are happening. The syncopations should not make the figure feel any different than the normal pattern.

West Coast Swing should feel very smooth and continuous no matter what speed you are dancing. This is only accomplished by being continuously connected to your partner. If there is no connection the dance can feel very mechanical and robotic (and looks that way too).

Reprinted with permission of Ron & Rebecca Kellen & Bogie of the Mile High Ballroom of Prescott, AZ




Class Accomplishments:
Video Link

Week - 1    Lesson Covered:

Sugar Push
Sugar Tuck
Underarm Pass
LeftSide Pass
One Home work - Proper Step

Week - 2    Lesson Covered:

Closed basic
Tuck release
Under arm pass with hand change
Right to right side pass with inside roll & hand change

Week - 3    Lesson Covered:

Basic Whip
Whip with inside roll
Whip with outside roll
Whip with hand change behind back

Week - 4    Lesson Covered:

Sugar Tuck with double turn
Whip with double outside Turn
Inside Whip
Sugar push with cross over triples

Style were teaching - Suggested Video

In this class April and I will be teching Michael Kiehm WCS style of  Starlight Dance Studio in  SanDiego.  I feel that Michael's style is very clean and easy to learn and build on.

Suggested Video -
                       West Coast Swing Basic to Intermediate