Why does my WCS have a tendency to travel?


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I've only taken one lesson in WCS so far but have already found an obvious problem I need to trouble shoot. It's supposed to happen in a slot yet I found it's very easy to end up travelling (forward for me, backward for him). Why does this happen and how does one correct it?


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I've noticed that a lot, as the "basic" I've learned (sugar push? something like that, been a couple years), has two steps back, one forward. Then various coaster step, triple step, etc, depending on which variation I use. Obviously though, as you pointed out, has guy moving backwards and woman moving forward. Suspect you're supposed to alter length fwd vs bkwd, but I'm too much of a newbie to know how to do that. :)


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The basic I was introduced to was, for the girl, two steps forward, tap, one step back, triple step in place (which I know is not the ecs triple, but actually just a weight change, but it was a good way to teach a group that knows ecs very well)

*lightbulb* lol She kept saying make your forward steps bigger than your back steps. I forget that instructors sort of aim directions more at the lead.


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Yep, same "basic". Either step, step, tap step triple(coaster?), or step step triple step, coaster step. Might have triple and coaster mixed up in that one. I know it's one of each, just can't remember which is which. :)


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I believe the coaster step is the triple where on step one you step across/behind your standing foot, then back on step two
When I teach/do a sugar push in the follow's role, (which I do in the step step triple step triple/anchor step fashion, which I like to call vernacular WCS), the backward step is elongated, almost a lunge that causes my forward foot to slide back to catch up. A little of that is styling, but doesn't travel nonetheless.

I recommend practicing the step without a partner, which I'm sure you're doing anyway. I know when I was learning I had to do so constantly just to get it.

If it keeps happening, remember, there's always the maxim, "it's always the lead's fault." *grin*

ETP: I love Heinlein.
*lightbulb* lol She kept saying make your forward steps bigger than your back steps. I forget that instructors sort of aim directions more at the lead.
Yes, that's why the push break drifts on you.

There are two different answers here, depending on which style you go with. Skippy (and instrutors that can be traced back to her) will tell you that on six count patterns, the position of the partnership on count 4 (the even count immediately prior to the beginning of the anchor) is at the discretion of the follower - her movement determines where the partnership will end up, and he is expected to adjust.

"Old school", it's the leader's job to lead, so he determines where the partnership is supposed to be.

So depending on where you are/ who you are dancing with/ which instructors are looming over you, the answer is either that you take a bigger step for count 4 (forward for him, backwards for you), or follow when he leads one.

It's not, however, particularly critical - one of the reasons that we give competitors a big open floor free of obstacles is that the dance can travel - you just want it to be a choice, rather than an accident.


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Good catch, RenOrshino. :) He's my favorite author.

And thanks for chiming in guys, as I've only done on group class on WCS, and am OBVIOUSLY far from an expert. :)
Does coaster refer to the curved back step for the girl?

"Coaster step" is usually used to describe a triple that moves "back-together-forward" for the follower.

Once upon a time, this action was thought to be appropriate for the final triple in a pattern - the "anchor" in today's parlance. It's not encouraged these days, because the "forward" part of that movement ends up being expressed as movement toward the leader, which makes a mess of connection.

You'll still occasionally hear about coaster steps when describing the follower's footwork on counts 3&4 of an 8 count whip.


Active Member
Just some observations to play with. Most likely there are two things happening that allow the partnership to drift back. I think if you are in the very first weeks of class, a lot of these will clean up over the next classes. Part of the drifting is probably the leader's fault and part the follower's.

It takes a while for the guys to get then hang of their hand position on count 4 being the center point for creating leverage. So the guy leads the lady forward to create compression on 1-3. At 4, the position of his hand should generally remain in place and create the point from which leverage is created. If guy doesn't anchor his hand on 4, there will generally be a drifting towards him. To compensate, he will move back on the next sugar push and everything drifts.

Also, if the lady doesn't settle back on her anchor step, there is a tendency to come forward just a tad early and that also makes the guy compensate by moving the whole slot backwards in an effort to create connection.


Well-Known Member
Does coaster refer to the curved back step for the girl?

Clearly I need to take some more classes + look up instruction on youtube. :)
A coaster step is a triple step danced back together forward. There is no curve. The coaster step is done by the lady on count 3&4 of a whip.

The lady should NOT do a coaster step on her anchor i.e. 5&6 of a six count patern. The basic anchor step for the lady should be a triple in place with her feet in third position and a slight delay before moving forward to start the next pattern. So this would be counted 5&1 &a1. The lady does not move forward until a1. The man's part is counted 5&6 &1. So the man starts moving backward on &1 and the lady starts moving forward slightly later on &a1. This produces an increase in energy/elasticity in the connection leading from the anchor into the next pattern.

NOTE: There are two forms of third position. As far as WCS is concerned, ladies use the form of third position that is right heel to left instep. Men use the form of third position that is left heel to right instep.
I am afraid I don't understand a lot of that terminology.
I'm not convinced you were supposed to. Certainly you aren't expected to after one lesson of westie.

Translated GJB: whip is the name of a common pattern that you will probably be introduced to soon (not generally first lesson soon, but soon - it's one of the staples. "5&6" "&a1" are different ways of thinking about the timing of movements to the music. Energy/elasticity/connection are just a bunch of buzzwords westies use to try to explain how lead and follow really work. "Third position" is terminology borrowed from ballet, describing the relative positions of the feet.

You are not going to be quizzed on ANY of that during lesson #2.

Translated kayak: don't worry about drift until you are dancing with a partner who has had more than one lesson.

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