Swing Discussion Boards > West Coast Swing - 2nd Effort

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Spitfire, Nov 22, 2003.

  1. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    This is going to come as a surprise to those who know me personally, but after having written off WCS as just not my type of dance I'm considering giving another go at it. It's kind of hard to say why I've had this change of mind about it, but I guess I just want to try something different.

    It was when I got back into dancing after being away from it for awhile that I first went to WCS classes; this at a time when I knew much less about dancing in general then what I know now and maybe was a little in over my head at the time?

    Well, there's one way to find out. :wink:
  2. Dancegal

    Dancegal Member

    I felt the same way you did about WCS when I first tried Lindy in a 2 hr "crash course" situation. I also was new to 8 count dances. Now I Lindy (learned WCS first) and really enjoy it. It may take a couple of months to get comfortable with it; however, if you practice what you learn (immediately after class - for reinforcement), the lessons will pay off nicely. The music used for WCS may vary. It can vary from bluesy R&B music (Aretha Franklin R.E.S.P.E.C.T) to contemporary pop dance music (Justin Timberlake-Like I Love You, Rock Your Body; Myriah Carey-Dream Lover; Christina Aguilera-Come On Over - songs that come to mind). This can make a difference on how well you enjoy the dance - I find I must "get into" the music so I am really dancing to the music and not just doing some steps. Give it your best shot and enjoy!
  3. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    :lol: This is why I dance Lindy
  4. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Swing – in all of its varieties – just never did it for me... but I have to say that WCS is really growing on me at the moment. A lot of the people in my area seem to be big on what they reference as the "new" "funky" style but, personally, I much prefer it slinky. Fortunately I have at least one social partner who's of like mind! :D
  5. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    And why I dance my all my faves. This is the result of practice to where the steps are second nature and you find you are dancing indeed to music.
  6. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    This is another reason; the variety of music WCS is done to and is done often in C&W as well. ECS can also be done to different music, but from what I'm observing WCS seems even more wide ranging.

    When I mentioned my renewed interest in WCS a few nights ago to one of the ladies here I was presented with free passes to the local WCS club - further incentive even though I don't have a very high opinion of the core group who runs it.
  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I used to absolutely hate WCS, until I had a coaching session and got a good critique. The visiting coach explained a lot to me about the history of the dance and its music, and spent a lot of time helping me feel the music. His assessment was that I used to do WCS "like a white girl." No offense. What he meant was that I was too light on the floor and I was too worried about doing steps, rather than dancing. (oh yeah, and too many coaster steps! :lol: ) He freed me to do my own dancing. It took me a while before I could really feel it, but he helped me a lot, and it's been love ever since. :D
  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    Traditional ECS music is limited. Yes! But I enjoy listening to all sorts of world music and have picked up all sorts of random songs that one can do jitterbug too. I'm sure if I wanted to I could compile a whole night's worth of songs that one can dance ECS too that most people have never heard!

    Same goes for some of the other dances as well. As soon as I get comfortable in recognizing the rhythmn of a dance well, that's what I do. (I seem to remember some talk of dancing salsa to all sorts of music in the salsa forum too.)

    As for WCS I've taken one dance class a while back. It's definitely something that I'm going to give a go next year. Another addition to 2004 new years resolutions...I have heard that it is similiar in some respects to smooth dancing -- ballroom dancing? True?
  9. Yance

    Yance New Member

    It takes quite a bit of effort to get past the frustration of beginning but is definitely worth it. You really need to learn the basic six moves until you can do them without thinking and then move on to learn quite a few intermediate moves. Once you get to know them very well it is easy to combine them, or improvise. The dance is suited to a wide variety of styles of music which is amazing. I've been doing it for quite a few years and am finally getting to a level that I enjoy myself on the floor more.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Cool! Which intermediate moves do you think are most important or do you find most useful?
  11. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Ok, here's a question...

    I mentioned in another post that a WCS instructor I was talking to mentioned to me that WCS is not as hard a dance as it is regarded to be; in his opinion the reason for this is that instructors who teach it make it hard.

    What is the feeling about this with WCS buffs here?

    I think I've heard the same about Lindy Hop as well.
  12. Yance

    Yance New Member

    Connection and posture are a couple things that are very important in WCS. Without a good conection a strong lead is impossible. The lead and follow must feel the tension and compression through the connection. WCS may not be hard depending on what dances you have previously learned. If you already know how to keep a good connection then it should be easy.

    Not sure about the best intermediate moves. There are a million of them. It depends on the music and what your style is. I like whip variations and like to lead spins but want to learn a bigger variety to mix it up.
  13. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    Welcome aboard Yance. :D

    ECS has been my dance as far as swing goes which I've been doing for a very long time, but want to experience for myself how the other half lives.

    I understand swing to be very big in the midwest.
  14. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Bah! Humbug!

    Okay so this is something that actually has become a pet peeve of mine... dancing to music which meets tempo and time requirements but does not fit the dance.

    The dances should have a distinct character that was developed over years by thousands of dancers dancing to a specific genre or sub-genre of music. If you start dancing to songs outsided of the genre, and are actually dancing to the music playing instead of while the music is playing, it is going to change the character of the dance. There are a lot of dancers these days insisting that people dancing to the various pop songs are no longer doing West Coast... and frankly I'd have to agree... the songs have the correct time signature (4/4)but lack the swung eigth note and/or the rolling triplet... which means the music doesn't swing... meaning you are either dancing off the true rhythm of teh music or not swinging the dance... which means can't really be West Coast Swing anymore, can it?
  15. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Both Lindy Hop and WCS are generally taught in a far more complicated way than necessary.

    West Coast has a few simple rules that can be absorbed in five minutes. Connection lead/follow and frame can be successfully demonstrated in five minutes each. The rest of a lesson could be spent applying those three things with the rhythm.

    A lot of teachers really intellectualize wcs... far more than necessary, especially in the first year. Classes should be relaxed, fun, funny, and concentrate on getting the spirit of the dance. The focus on perfect technique is daunting, and frankly unnecessary. You don't teach a kid to ride a bicycle by explaining the physics of acceleration driven balance, or how to shift minute amounts of weight to maintain their balance. You inform them of base mechanics and let them peddle away.

    They will make mistakes, but the mistakes are part of the learning process. You don't try and train a four year old to race in the Tour de France or compete in the X Games. You just want them to be able to go around the block.

    Perspective and simplicity. Allow mistakes to happen. Slowly raise the bar, giving them easily attainable short term goals.
  16. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You sound like Skippy Blair. Where in the world did I post that article? She talks about WCS music, and her opinion that music can actually PREVENT you from doing a dance effectively. Hmm. I'll have to see if I can remember where I posted the link.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  18. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Wow, what a verbose yet ultimately nearly worthless rant.

    In summation: Okay so there is music that is good for wcs and music that is bad. Hustle and Cha-Cha are bad... if you are also a cha-cha or hustle dancer.

    How about explaining why they are inappropriate. How about the idea that because the rhythms are wrong for those kinds of songs it doesn't matter if you are a good dancer in the other style or wcs is your only dance, the music is equally inappropriate.

    For the record, "Love Potion #9" is a horrioble cha-cha. Sure it has that cha-cha base rhythm (2-3-2-3), but nothing else is even remotely related to the style/culture of music that cha-cha was developed to. You end up with some wonky bastardization. Hrumph!

    I've been spending to much time with Fredrick while he is doing Scrooge, his character is rubbing off on me. I'm too young to be a curmudgeon.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Wow! You're even more of a curmudgeon than I thought! I'm impressed. :lol: It ain't easy being that grumpy at your young age. :lol: :lol:

    Yes, I thought she was wordy. But she also made a good point, same as yours, I believe. Just because the time signature is the same doesn't mean you can do any dance to it. A cha cha does not a WCS swing make.
  20. d nice

    d nice New Member

    That was frustration at Skippy's rant, not focused at Jen in anyway shape or form.

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