WCS Help, what to do here?

A long time lurker, just made an account to ask a question.

So, I have over a decade of experience in social dancing, salsa, tango, wcs, others.

Where I live now, there are several schools teaching WCS, and one of those schools apparently has different ideas about teaching the anchor step to followers - if someone comes from that school, with no other experience, there is a really high chance that she starts moving forward at the point (usually 5&6 or 7&8) where she is supposed to make the anchor step. Instead of waiting for my lead to move forward at/slightly after 1.

That absolutely throws me out of my flow and leaves me confused. Every single time it happens. And it happens at every point an anchor step is supposed to be there.

I am not sure, but what they are doing might even be valid old WCS from the last century - four decades outdated?

Anyway, I can't obviously tell them to do otherwise in a social dance situation.

What should I do when this happens? What would be the way to get back into the flow, and find the connection, when the partner dances with different rules in this case?


Well-Known Member
Welcome to DF!

What you describe sounds like a coaster step, iirc. I was taught that, also, as well as anchoring. I have not a clue how you can get back into the flow. Is it worth it to you to learn to respond to that variation, since you run into it often enough to be a problem?
Yes, I guess it would be worth it. I am so conditioned to the stretch of the connection at the anchor that when it is always missing, it makes me lose the stuff. Of course, if that happened only occasionally, I would (after some processing cycles to detect it) do try to do some kind of improvised recovery/grooving/whatever it takes to get back, but when it happens practically every time...? I suppose there must be some kind of adjustment to the normal leading and timing of figures when faced with a coaster step - thanks for naming it - and I have not been taught that unfortunately.

Anyway, now that I have a name for it, maybe I can ask about it/google for how to respond to it/how to dance with someone who does that all the time. Thanks for the lead on that!

Steve Pastor

Staff member
what they are doing might even be valid old WCS from the last century - four decades outdated?
In step sheets from 1953 and earlier, the Coaster Step was not what it is thought to be today. Skippy Blair wrote about the 1961 version of the Coaster Step, which was an incorrect understanding of what it was originally - a triple and a walk walk for the woman.
Laure Haile wrote that a triple at the end of a 6 (or 8) count pattern that ended with a forward was a "twinkle."
The whole history of it is a bit convoluted, so...

First, make sure you are staying with the music. If so, then...

I'm going to suggest that you actually offer resistant to the forward step until the appropriate time. Progress to actively blocking movement if your partner doesn't get the message. Forward together Forward might work, as an anchor. so that you will be in close enough to your partner to block her forward movement until after 6 (or 8).

Have you ever done something like a "sailor shuffle" on your 3&4 5&6? That should keep your partner from moving forward before &a before the 1.

Possible dialogue...
I was taught that there was supposed be an "away" feeling at the end of an anchor. And you? Where did you learn...

On the other hand, if you are going to accept the way your partners don't do an anchor...
I guess you will be a more popular partner.
Ok, thanks, I am going to try that, actively resisting / blocking. And use the suggested dialogue if they start to question what I am doing.

As a side note, I talked with a normal follower about her experience with dancing with leaders from that school - she said they have actually got the message when she (and others, I guess) has resisted their mistimed leads at that point - i.e. during multiple day WCS events they have become completely normal (of course, those events would likely have had some rehearsal of the basics, like connection and stretch, too.)

So, there likely is something fishy about the WCS teaching at that school. They teach a lot of dances, most of them well, I have heard, WCS just being a fashionable extra item in their schedule. But as the people from there mix with others, they apparently can correct their stuff. Maybe I am going to recommend another (any other!) school for WCS, if asked. Or even if not asked.

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