4.2 Ladies footwork in WCS:

I've heard two nationally known instructors say that it varies, and depends on the speed and size of the step, and the syncopation that you're using. Slow steps should be grounded with a heel - flat - toe. Faster steps might require a low toe instead, running steps a higher toe.

BTW, in advanced WCS it is not a hard and fast rule that the woman always walks forward on her right on count 1. How about just a simple hesitation on 1? Or if you do double resistance, pushing the woman slightly back on 6 and then lead ON 1, she should hesitate (and if you don't lead until 1, she shouldn't come forward until "&2").

Besides your basic hesitation, there are several moves that have the woman in a lunge BACK to her right on 1 and then stepping forward on 2. The difference between this and the "rock step" in ECS is that in the typical ECS, the woman's right shoulder is opening up over the right foot going back, while in WCS, if the woman lunges back to her right, it is usually either a straight back lunge without shaping the shoulders, or it is a right side explosion, and the woman is in a completely 90 degree rotation in a side lunge. She can do a back lunge to the left foot and then two steps forward on "&2". Or a back lunge to the right foot (you can't necessarily control which foot she lunges back to) and then a weight shift to the left on 2. Or a break ending that gets her left foot free and she starts forward on the left and takes walk-walk, walk-walk as 1-2, 3-4 to get her back on the correct foot (Debbie Ramsey uses this regularly). Or a the left foot scuff and scoot on 1&2 (made popular by Keldee B. and others).

There is an issue in West Coast Swing of whether the woman walks forward on one or hesitates until the "&" after one. Frankly, I think it usually depends on the lead. If the man doesn't lead until count "1" and the woman is already coming forward, she's BACKLEADING. On the other hand, if the man leads on the "&" before 1 (6& or 8&), and the woman tries to take a hesitation, she's fighting him and will feel heavy to lead. What she needs to learn is to KEEP THE RHYTHM in her footwork. The man's lead will then determine her exact foot placement. This is a concept we try to apply regularly in our teaching. For example, what is the woman's correct footwork on a left side pass or underarm pass. Does she turn on beat 2? 2&? 3? 3&? 4? 4&? Guess what! Every single one of them works! Her job is take a strong walk-walk down the slot and then do a triple step, wherever she may be. When she runs out of arm, she'll turn around. Simple. So the point is, depending on how long both partners arms are, how long their legs are, how big steps they take, how strong the man leads, etc., the turn of the underarm turn can be anywhere between "2" and "4&". We need to teach women to follow their partner, NOT the exact foot placement instructions that this or that instructor says is the "right" way to do it.

"*Followers: In Swing, do not lean back on counts 3 and 4 of eight count Whips. There you should maintain a forward (atop of your feet) motion, not a leaning back motion. Leaning back wears heavily on a leaders hand and also throws the both partners off balance. Remember, it is up to you (follower) to travel out of the swing out, use your weight (being forward) to help you step and swing out quickly. Do not wait for the leader to pull you out. Leaders: Remember that your hand is at her shoulder blade level, not down at her waist." There aren't any ribs there, and it's not pleasant to dance with a leader who is trying to rip your kidney out.

"*Leaders, do not move far out of the slot. Just get a little out of the way and combined with your body turning at a 90 degree angle, moving only 6 inches out of the way is often adequate. Just move far enough out of the way so that the follower does not run into you."

Kelly Buckwalter advises doing the right side pass as (leader) Step-step *hold*-step (instead of *tap*), and letting the follower's momentum turn the leader around. This is a marvelous feeling once you get the hang of it! It makes you much more connected to the follower, and the leader gets a free ride though that move.

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This file is part of the lead/follow FAQ list. These are articles compiled from the newsgroup rec.arts.dance by Mark Balzer. Html-isation by Victor Eijkhout, victor at eijkhout dot net. See also the Rec Arts Dance FAQ list Copyright 1996/7/8/9 lies with the compiler, the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

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