Proper Arm Tone for WCS


Well-Known Member
WCS is quickly developing into one of my favorite dances. In it, I have lots of freedom to do the funny/silly/sexy things that are uniquely me. The only problem I sometimes have is with my arms. In my experience, the arms need quite a bit more tone for WCS than for many of the other dances I do. So how do you achieve that tone withuot going overboard, and ending up with stiff arms?

I found an interesting link here.

Anyone care to comment?


Well-Known Member
Matching the leader's tone is right when he/she knows what he/she is doing . However, when that's not the case sometimes providing guidance e.g. through stronger tone then the leader with limp arms, but then again we come to this whole issue of leader/follower relationship...already been discussed plenty of times.

This usually means short arms for the usual "basic" patterns, and anytime the woman is turning or moving by me in the slot, and "long arms" in an extended line, sometimes with the man well into the right knee, left leg pointed straight out to the side, woman in a sit break, or some other leg line (a "show off" pattern of some sort")
That's about where I am now. It makes sense to me in lindy as when I transition from a close 6 count move to a more open swing out arm extension increases. Done a little WCS too, not much more then the basics, and that seems to apply. This does not mean tensing the arm up...Hopefully someone more experienced then I can provide more help.

Vince A

Active Member
pygmalion said:
I'm hoping d nice or Vince A will check in. I bet they can help. :? 8) :)
Sorry it took so long to get back to you . . . we've been busy church, family, and soccer tournaments!

The arm thing was the "only" thing that drove me nuts during the time I was competing. I'd watch tapes and see "forced" arms or arms that were too relaxed! No tone, no action.

I'm finally happy with my arms after nearly tow years of trying to learn what to do with them.

Relax the arms . . don't let them hang out there in space.

The hands and arms sometimes need to have action, so learn some action movements that work for you . . . cha cha is a good example of a dance that requires arm "action."

Sometimes it easy to just match your dance partner . . .

Most importantly . . . what screwed me up . . . is never try to imitate someone that you like to watch dancing. It works for them . . . maybe not for you.

Finally, read the following for more info . . .


Well-Known Member
Cool, Vince! :D I'm really working on the arm thing now (now that my feet have some clue of what to do! :lol: )

I'm trying to develop what I call "salt and pepper arms," meaning basic arm movements that I use all the time. The fancy stuff comes later, after I make a few basics automatic.

Thanks again. Glad to hear life's keeping you busy. As long as it's not too busy, busy's good. :D

Vince A

Active Member
One last thing . . . watch some good dancers on tv . . . I get many some moves watching VH1, BET Pick Videos, and the others.

I also watched (this weekend) "Prince" (NPG) in concert and got some real good stuff from him. That man is one of the most talented artists out there - voice, written music, muscian, and dancer/performer! I'm in my 50's and I've liked Prince ever since he came out. He and of course, James Brown.

I was the only white guy in an all black band that played in mostly all black clubs. This is where the roots of my music and dance knowledge comes from . . .
"Arm tone" and the article are a bit misleading. You want to use your arm muscles as little possible when you dance. If you are trying to use arm tone it is already too much.

Matching the compression and leveraged tension is more about committed body movement up or down the slot and the use of a dynamic frame (chest and back muscles not arm muscles) than arm tone.

It isn't that you don't use your arm muscles at all, they should be alive, but very relaxed... think how your arms move when you are standing in water. Planned movement with your free arms should be appropriate to the song.

Trust me as a general rule, the less you plan on using your arms to transmit information or feedback to your artner the more successful you will be at doing it.


Well-Known Member
Yeah. When I'm doing it right, which is more often now, I can feel my lats. If I start feeling biceps or triceps, I know I'm dead, and I'm probably not feeling any leads, either.

Vince A

Active Member
The article is just that - an article! One person's opinion.

However expression in dance has become one of my intersts as I grow in my WCS. Leaders have to think and use their, but adding in an appropriate arm, hand, finger, facial, body movements, etc., can greatly inhance the look . . . if used properly and not in over kill . . .
Vince A said:
The article is just that - an article! One person's opinion.
It's actually a compilation of many people's posts to, not Victor's sole opinion.

It's very hard to explain stuff like this in text. Even group classes are of limited use here, although some instructors, like Debbie Ramsey, have developed nice connection exercises for group situations. One-on-one with a good teacher is quickest.
I may not have been as clear as I wanted. Using your free arm for expression is great. Very important and oft neglected piece of personal styling.

Personally I like the image of a cat or dog's tail. It is expressive but at the same time a flowing movement that balances the body's actions.

Attempting to use your arm muscles to aid in leading or following will usually result in poor connection. The transitions and amounts of pressure are so fine and so quick that by the time the brain has guesstimated what the appropriate compression or leveraged tension should be in that moment it has already passed.


Staff member
d nice said:
Matching the compression and leveraged tension is more about committed body movement up or down the slot and the use of a dynamic frame (chest and back muscles not arm muscles) than arm tone.
Personally I found this first iteration clear enough... and I actually had a conceptual breakthrough on this very item earlier on the same day you posted this. It will take some time, I am sure, to make it into second nature habit, but at least I get "it" now.

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