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West Coast Swing Dance Lessons 

Here are Dr Matt's lessons for learning West Coast Swing:
Archive    1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9    10    pics

West Coast Swing: From Concept to Application
  by Dr Matt  

Hello Friends:

Here we are at lesson #6. We're kinda going backwards in terms of progress: At this point, I'm doing damage control, because the execution of steps is so autrocious! It's time to get BACK to basics—and get real good at doing simple movements, accurate and clean.

With the the REALITY experience of the West Coast Swing "Sugar Push" and "Underarm Pass" . . . you now more likely to have an "ah hah" learning moment as you RETURN and REVIEW the same videos that explain YOUR FOOTWORK in great detail.  Click the Michael and Dawne Kiehm video.

Ignore the dancing that they do for the first minute of the video; just drag the buffer ball forward and SKIP IT.  Why so?  Because their footwork is so stylized that you cannot clearly see the Triple Rhythm happening in their feet.  What you see in the first-minute intro will confuse the learning process of a beginning level WCS dancer.

Watch the 3 examples of the couple dancing each step:

              1 - Sugar Push @ 1:25
              2 - Sugar Tuck @ 1:40
              3 - Underarm Pass @ 1:47

Now, drag the buffer ball forward to the descriptions of the lady's footwork:

              6:47 - Sugar Push
              8:05 - Sugar Tuck, and
              8:42 - Underarm Pass
              9:22 - All 3 Steps in Sequence

THEN, review the woman's WHIP footwork explained by Leslie Sack. Pay attention to the 1st Triple Step of the Whip . . . it is a Coaster Step:

After TWO Slow walking steps that turn right 180 degrees, you do a Coaster Step:

      BACK      TOGETHER     FORWARD   =    description of your foot placement
      Right          Left                   Right            =    which foot does what?
      quick            quick              Slow          =    footwork rhythm
        1                      &                    2            =    musical counts as you do this step

The Coaster Step is a kind of "Triple Step" . . . this means you will step 3 times during 2 musical counts of the music.  To Repeat: that's 3 foot movements in 2 musical counts!

NOT 3 steps in 1 musical count (some people have a misconception that the Triple Step happens by doing 3 quick steps as fast as possible, and fail to SLOW DOWN and articulate each foot movement WITHIN THE MUSIC structure: 
quick quick Slow   OR    3  & 4

In piano music this would be  eighth note, eighth note, Quarter Note.

The previous explanations are so you can CONCEPTUALLY GET IT.  Now, you need to train your muscles to move within this conception -- which is the task of learning how to dance:  It about rhythmic muscle control. You do not have that rhythmic muscle control yet, for this dance, so you need to practice a lot between NOW and next Tuesday night.

You especially need to practice doing Triple Steps rhythmically: 
quick quick Slow
   OR    3  & 4

When you are doing it well, I will be able to SEE THE RHYTHM IN YOUR BODY.  The reason I do NOT see the rhythm in your body now, is because you have not yet learned proper muscle control.

Note that Michael & Dawne Kiehm describe the footwork rhythm using the musical counts: 1   2   3  & 4  (for example).

Finally, if you want to pattern your dancing after someone Donna Roselle does the basics with a style worth imitating.  You can absolutely SEE THE RHYTHM IN HER BODY as she does some basics

Note that Donna does a Lock Whip (she calls it a Basket Whip); and the rhythm of this step is exactly the SAME as all other Whips.  The rhythm for the Whip can be described three ways: 

        Double  Triple  Double  Triple     OR     
          1  2,       3 & 4       5  6       7 & 8         OR   
         S S          qqS         
S S       qqS               OR   
Slow Slow, quick quick Slow, Slow Slow, quick quick Slow    

As opposed to the footwork rhythm of the Sugar Push, Sugar Tuck, Underarm Pass, or Left Side Pass:

        Double  Triple  Triple     OR     
          1  2,       3 & 4      7 & 8         OR   
         S S          qqS         
qqS               OR   
Slow Slow, quick quick Slow, quick quick Slow    

As you can SEE, the Whip adds Two Extra Counts to the basic rhythm

Good luck,
Matt Moody

Dr Matt will always connect you to the coolest steps!

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