beginner question about sugar push

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I have in front of me actual copies of both Lauré's Bronze level Western Swing from the 50s, and Skippy's book from 78.
Which is why I am so darn EXCITED!
It's possible that she wrote something before this, but I doubt it. This was done after July of 52 based on one of the songs she mentions, as detailed in the "original music..." thread. It's obvious, though, that she'd been thinking about this for quite some time.

The introduction to "Western Swing" is a bit confusing because it's so complete. For instance, she lists 3 rhythms. Later she states that students should learn to do all patterns with all 3 rhythms. Then there is the Lindy Rhythm (or turn rhytm).
She states that the "coaster" is a lead in, but can be skipped if the woman "catches the signal of rhythm and is ready to walk in on her right foot".

At one point (somewhere) she writes about a style variation that has the woman throwing her knees to the left on the last step of the coaster.

There are 2 pages on the "Coaster".
Again, at the basic level she codes the coaster as
X_f_Pl = Left foot cross behind, forward on Right, Left foot step in place.
Later, in other patterns, she uses an f_F for the last two steps.

What I see here is someone who had a very good grasp of "swing" in it's many variations. The way this has been presented to us by people who have never seen the early stuff, is that stuff was dumbed down from "real" swing. I don't see that here. What I see is someone who really knew her stuff.

On the other hand, I've heard from Skippy that she was taught by someone other than Lauré in Long Beach in 1953. And that inidivual taught the 123 123 12 timing, which I don't see in most patterns in this material.

Oh, and I've seen some stuff from Skippy about the body moving away on the last step, but the feet moving forward. (I think it's in an email.) It's that "away" feeling that partly defines WCS. So, there's a gradient from "forward" to "in place" to "ANCHOR IN PLACE".

"Man and woman should never be at extreme arms length in Open positions, but there should be a firm "tension" - (NOT PULL)."

Steve Pastor

Staff member
1953 (does not appear to be from Haile) description of the Sugar Push has the woman
"touch R (crosses back of L)..."
So, one of the things I've been complaining about was there from the the days when Haile's "Dance Notes" were first copied (by stencil and mimeograph.)

I see Lindy Hoppers have claimed the Sugar Push.
I see Dean and Jewel doing them in 1941,(but Jewel does a rather intricate movement rather than just walking in)
has anyone seen any film from before that with a "Sugar Push?"

I've looked at the usual suspects, didn't see it, but may have missed something.


Active Member
In your earlier post that "coaster" variation with the knee to the left, sounds a bit like what you do in lindy on your 7-8 triple step in a swing out if you're setting yourself up for some dramatic swivels at the start of the next swingout

I.e. you end with a coaster-ish triple step with your whole leg turned to the left in the last step so that your next step on the right foot with a swivel to the right is more dramatic.

..and that makes sense again because the "hollywood" style swing has really dramatic swivels in the swingouts, just look at Jewel :)

Steve Pastor

Staff member
I've decided that Jewel had great "turn out." (a rotation of the leg which comes from the hips for those unfamiliar with the term) You can see that pretty clearly in the one? color film she was in in the 40s with Dean, as he leads her out of camera range after they have their spotlight in a big production number.

Difference between other styles and West Coast is that the swivels replace the rock step on counts 1, 2. In West Coast the woman should be doing a walk walk.
If you swiveled and walked forward at the same time, it was called "Sugar Foot."

"Coaster step" was a triple then a back rock for the man,
and a triple then a walk, walk for the woman in 1953.

It looks like Haile shortened it to just "a Triple Rhythm step."

Both of those definitions were meant to be a short cut to start new patterns.

None of Haile's Coaster triples ended with a movement forward.

But, somehow that ended up being the definition we have today, starting as early as 1960.


Well-Known Member
As a Lindy Hopper, I notice that I have a hard time leading this on most follows. The trouble seems to arise when I stop my traveling to absorb the follow's momentum (which is coming towards me) -- it's almost like they see me stop and think, "Oh no, I better keep my distance to avoid a collision."

(I've been learning some choreo that involves a stylized Sugar Push, and it's the most notable move that I can't lead socially (and which one of the follows says that nobody is leading currently).)

Consider this a derail of the current conversation back to the original intent of this thread, lolz.

Steve Pastor

Staff member
it's almost like they see me stop and think, "Oh no, I better keep my distance to avoid a collision.
Yes. I believe that has been discussed previously in this thread, but if not here, certainly other places.

I decided to reject the Bro mide (or maybe condsider it a bromide?) that it's always the leader's fault.
It's a partner dance. Both partners have to do their part to make things work.
In the Sugar Push the woman, or follow if you prefer, must move forward as if she is going to walk down the slot (WCSpeak!). If she doesn't, and especially if she starts back on her own,
there is no compression.

It's the stylized Sugar Push, one of the follows says that nobody is leading currently,
or Sugar Push in general?

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