Coaster Steps?


Well-Known Member
Here's a question for you swing folks. Apparently, there's this swing people versus ballroom people disagreement about coaster steps -- swing people don't, ballroom people do.

All I know is, since my WCS coaching session, I've tried my best to eliminate coaster steps. The coach told me they make me look like a "white girl." Eek! WCS? No more coaster steps for me.

What do you think? To coaster, or not to coaster?

Vince A

Active Member
Great question Jenn . . . pet peeve of mine.
Anchoring in place is what makes WCS different from some other similar swing dances.
If the follower is coming out with a coaster step before being led count 1, then the follow is "anticipating."

WCS today is getting more and more into "playing." So what if the leader wants to hangout (7&8, 9&10, 11&12, etc.) after a particular pattern and play a while??? He can't if the follow takes away that play by initiating the next move by executing a coaster step. Hence, whatever the leader had been planning several moves ago is now changed by the follower's premature stepping into count 1.

Adding to your question . . . . leaders, what do you do if the follower that you are dancing with does 'coaster step?'


New Member
So is coaster step a polite way of describing a follow coming forward before she's led?

This has been much on my mind. After taking a private with Kevin St. Laurent two weeks ago and he showed me how I was coming forward on the "one" before being led forward.


And when I stopped doing that, I found that sweet stuff that can happen: stalls, sways, whatever the lead wants to throw in.

But my new dilemma: Kevin told me, in addition to not anticipating, that when I am led forward I should really power forward, using the floor, while being light in the hand and not pushing down in the connection (more lateral, less up and down).

I am searching for the balance point of all three of these things. It's very challenging.

Any wise thoughts?

Vince A

Active Member
Jenn, great article . . . maybe add to the Beginner's stuff???

Sue, since you discovered that you need to stop the coaster step and probably have, your new dilemma should be easy to control if do what he said to do, and I would add - maybe think of that rubber-band stretch in your right arm (actually both) as you come out - getting a good stretch and stepping out over the balls of your feet.

Don't break frame backwards, but let your arm start opening up . . . and I know this is contrary to what we've been taught - you know, keep the elbow tucked in! That's the old way, and although it may apply maybe in competitions, the new way teaches to open up and stretch that arm.

This stretches you out, keeps you light, lets you drive out out at the end of that stretch . . . . now hall you have to do is get grounded!

Get Damon to show you this stuff at your next lesson with him!


New Member
I read the article and I see that my error is different from the "coaster step" deviltry.

I'm not traveling forward so much on the 7/8 (or 5/6)--although that is another pesky habit, but one where there's been some improvement. I had no idea that I've been (cover your eyes, this is ugly) coming forward stepping with my right foot right AFTER the 8, but BEFORE I'm led forward. Horrors. How could this be!

The shame.

Yes, I'm working on it.

Thanks for the input, Vince. I will take it to my next private with DNice.
Coaster steps are evil... but they are an evil created by the creation of the anchor for anchors sake. The classic WCS means of anchoring is identical to the lindy hop method... the follower keeps moving in the direction last lead, the anchor happens as she reaches the end of the tether.

A triple step in place with a slight pull back (a very simplified description of the anchor) lends itself to to a rocking triple step moving backward and then forward in anticipation of the next lead, or out of sheer laziness.

Do. Not. Coaster. Step. Ever.

Elbows tucked... that is just bad. Its all about a dynamic frame, you need to have the full "stroke" (full range of motion within the cinfines of the frame).
hmmm.... some interesting reading.

Are coaster steps really differant than anticipating the lead at the begining of te pattern? Is this just a WCS thing? Does this happen in Lindy and am I guilty of it? :shock:
It can be different. Some followers will coaster step but not come forward on 1 without the lead, but they are anticipating that the next lead will be forward, so they won't take their center back and keep it there.

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