Country and Western > WCS technique

Discussion in 'Country and Western' started by VinceraVivere, Dec 3, 2006.

  1. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Hey Taurus57:
    Come on out to Bushwhackers on a Thursday or a Saturday and we can compare notes.
    I don't "throw" anybody through anything. I won't even attempt to lead something if the woman's balance and momentum aren't right.
    Sarah was wondering why CW West Coasters have a smooth look. Based on my experience with the dancers here in Portland, I think it's because they aren't over trained and don't over analyze what they are doing. I've seen lots of women became pretty good dancers without taking lessons.
    When I saw you were in Beaverton, I thought about chronicaling the effect you might have on the local dance community. So come on out and I'll watch you dance. You can watch me dance. And we can talk and maybe agree to disagree. If not maybe we can do the same thing here.
    Be sure to read my post in the Argentine Tango section if you want more on my thinking about competition.
    Meanwhile, you guys go ahead and compete with each other. I'll be out dancing socially.
  2. VinceraVivere

    VinceraVivere New Member

    Haha. All these replies are very interesting, but I'm starting to get some insight into how difficult it can be when done properly.

    I think some of my problem might be the walking "into" my partner, because I've stepped on him a few too many times fot my comfort.

    So, practice walking....and not bouncing. I have no idea why I'm so bouncy; I'm not normally that way. Probably over thinking. We never do WCS except for a week before competition, which might be part of the problem.

    Hmm. Thanks for all the tips. I'm off to walk up and down my kitchen floor, hopefully not tripping over the cat. That might be a bit hard to explain.
  3. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    When the cat is around your feet and you're trying not to trip on him, don't you kind of slide your feet on the floor rather than pick them up? Just apply that to dancing. ;)
  4. Taurus57

    Taurus57 New Member

    I will concede here on the social dance scene. I find it difficult to mix the two. My wife doesn't have a problem with dancing both, but I do. FYI WCS is not one of our dances yet, we plan to add it next year. I'm sure I could not keep up with you if you do it on a regular basis.

    I have no problem agreeing to disagree. I don't attempt to compete with the local swing community and most of them don't compete with me on the competitive circuit.

    And probably having more fun, and less stress, while doing it socially than I will competitavely.
  5. Taurus57

    Taurus57 New Member

    Most instructors will tell you "If you step on him, it's his fault". Don't take the blame on yourself, he should be moving out of your slot.

    You can always get rid of the cat.
  6. VinceraVivere

    VinceraVivere New Member

    Haha. He's a pain in the butt, but good company when I'm home alone.

    Even though he does make me sneeze.....:(

    And yeah, I need to get over my fear of stepping on him. I've been dancing very tentatively ever since I hit him in the face during Hustle on the competition floor....and then again during practice before our routine. I'm not having very much luck with that.
  7. waltzgirl

    waltzgirl Active Member

    What was your cat doing on the competition floor?

    At least that's how I read it the first time! :)
  8. QQS_Girl

    QQS_Girl New Member

    imho, the very thing that makes WCS a smooth dance is the technique. The way we strike our feet and position our bodies make the flight of the dance what it is. Although many great WCS dancers never compete, they pay great attention to the techniques of connection and body placement which aid greatly in the smoothness of the dance.
  9. VinceraVivere

    VinceraVivere New Member

    Whoops. I need to make it more apparant how my mind jumps from one thing to another - no one can ever follow it! Haha.

    Though I wouldn't put it past my cat to slip out onto the's just the sort of thing he's good at.
  10. Peaches

    Peaches Well-Known Member

    That's pretty much what my teacher tells us. It's, "Ladies, once you're moving in that slot, MOVE! Guys, you need to get out of the slot and get out of the way. Ladies, go for it. If he's in your way...well, he'll know enough to move the next time."

    Unfortunately, that last bit isn't always true. Nothing like attempting a continuous whip with a guy who's split his weight and planted himself smack in the middle of the slot...yet who's dissociated his arms from his center and pulls you forward anyways... *sigh*
  11. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ New Member

    Welcome, QQS_Girl! :)
  12. Vince A

    Vince A Active Member

    That's just it . . . it shouldn't open at all . . . settle in, stretch . . . connection in your fingertips . . . let your fingertips connect and do your part - the refer won't move and the door shouldn't open.
  13. Taurus57

    Taurus57 New Member

    I respect your opinions about competitions. I actually have a similar opinion as well. Making a grade doesn't always mean you are the best dancer(s). If a couple is performing a routine, both people can be dancing the same dance, but not dancing together (as one). I've watched competitions and am glad I don't have to decide who should win. I find it hard to watch from an analytical standpoint. Dancing should be watched for the enjoyment of the dancing, not the exactness of the performance.

    I know your next question will be then why do I compete. I have a one word answer. WIFE! Nuff said.

  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I just ran across a reprint from the Los Angeles Times that establishes the fact that people in LA did in fact "jitterbug" to Western Swing.
    (by searching for "July 29 Music Center los angeles lucky stars" I ws able to date this article Friday, July 08,2005
    I love the quote that says "Anyone that wanted to be a groovy hillbilly came to Los Angeles".
    Then there is the "people were top-notch jitterbugging" quote.
    And remember, a few posts back I cited some sources about how wildly popular Western Swing was in LA, etc.
    Lets see, people "jitterbugged" to Western Swing. Each city had it's own form of jitterbug. Lauré Haile described the style done in the LA area and named it Western Swing. Western Swing was the first name for West Coast Swing.
    It adds up, don't you think?
    I hope to continue with a more detailed presentation of what I've found in the "original music West Coast Swing was danced to" thread.
  15. kayak

    kayak Active Member

    I think especially in WCS, it is hard to seperate technique from steps. The idea of leverage and compression is kind of core. Creating the connection has a lot to do with even the different sizes of the steps in something like a coaster step.

    I also think that WCS dancers are smoother than anyone actually walks. It would be a rare person walking down the street that let their balance point roll back and settle on to the heel. Maybe I am just walking with stiff people :)
  16. connectionjunkie

    connectionjunkie New Member

    I can't believe you think WCS dancers aren't smooth! Who have you been watching! Or maybe I've just misunderstood your post?? Are you saying CW are smooth compared to WCS dancers? Which other dancers are comparing?

    Anyway... one cross-over between WCS and CW is Brandi Tobias. I believe she is Masters in Country and also a top level WCS dancer. She and Ronnie came in fourth at the 2006 US Open Swing Dance Championship in the Classic Division.

    Just FYI, I have found that at least in the WCS world, the heel/toe thing comes down to what you are taught and which looks/works better for you. Different Pros prefer different styles. I have had privates with many of the top dancers across the country, and they don't all agree. Some preach the heal-toe rolling through the foot on the forward walk/walk, while others believe in the ball rolling back to center as you change weight onto it. Watching the Champions, you will see both. Different follows have their own style. Some even mix it up depending on the tempo and feel of the song.
  17. QQS_Girl

    QQS_Girl New Member

    I agree. I was taught originally that the walks were ALWAYS a ball lead, and never a heel. Then, I would watch some followers that I admire and see them mixing it up. Then I started to experiment when social dancing, and now I really enjoy being able to throw in a heel lead when I want. Even in heel leads there can be different feels. You can do a straight up walk-walk using a heavy heel lead, or even have a "held back" really smooth heel lead. My advice is to just see what works for you! =)

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