WCS Fundamentals for All Levels

Wednesdays 8:00-9:00 PM

Highlights

  • This class is designed to introduce and strengthen fundamental techniques for West Coast Swing.
  • This class will emphasize partnership and connection, leading and following in a slot, timing and rhythm, and basic patterns and movements of the dance.
  • Students will get the most out of this class if they review and practice in between classes by themselves and/or with a partner.
  • No partner or experience is necessary, but new students must join within the first two weeks of the month.

Brief summary

Mastering any dance requires a solid understanding of its fundamentals – the proper technique and mechanics to make it work. This class is designed for new dancers and experienced dancers alike, delving into common patterns with a focus on body mechanics, partnership, connection, and movement. We will explore passes, pushes, whips, and variations on those patterns, ensuring that they can be done well, easily, and comfortably for both partners. Each week we will also explore a different concept, including extension, compression, lead/follow, and frame. The goal is to set you on the path to being the person everyone wants to dance with!

PLEASE NOTE: This is a three-month progressive series that starts the first Wednesday of each month. You may take the three months (A, B, C) in any order, but you must take all three twice before moving into the Intermediate Class. Because each month is a progressive syllabus, enrollment will only be allowed in the first two weeks of the month (those joining the second week will have to catch up). Those new to West Coast Swing will still be eligible for a discount on their first month.

NO PARTNER OR EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

And hey, once you have placed out of this class, you may continue to take it for free. (Why? Because we want you to keep working on your fundamentals, and we want you to dance and socialize with our new students and make them feel welcome.)

For pricing information, go here.

 

Complete syllabus

 

Updated Spring 2018

Overview

Mastering any dance requires a solid understanding of its fundamentals – the proper technique and mechanics to make it work. This class is designed for new dancers and experienced dancers alike, delving into common patterns with a focus on body mechanics, partnership, connection, and movement. We will explore passes, pushes, whips, and variations on those patterns, ensuring that they can be done well, easily, and comfortably for both partners. Each week we will also explore a different concept, including extension, compression, lead/follow, and frame. The goal is to set you on the path to being the person everyone wants to dance with!

NO PARTNER OR EXPERIENCE REQUIRED.

Goals

  • Learn fundamental concepts, skills, and techniques for West Coast Swing.
  • Learn basic patterns that enable students to social dance successfully.
  • Lay the foundation for long-term growth and development as dancers.
  • Prepare students for entry into the Intermediate WCS Class.
  • Socialize new dancers and teach proper social dancing etiquette and norms.
  • Ensure everyone has a positive, engaging, and supportive learning experience.

Concepts and Skills Covered

  • Leading and following
  • Dancing in a slot
  • Posture and moving from the center
  • Frame and physical connection
  • Floorcraft and partnership
  • Rhythm and timing
  • How to start a dance
  • Dancing in closed position
  • Creating extension and compression
  • Anchoring and stretch through redirection
  • Using different hand holds (basic, handshake, closed)
  • Basic turn technique for inside and outside turns

Patterns Covered

  • Passes
  • Push
  • Whip
  • Starter step
  • Send out and tuck out
  • Passing tuck and sugar tuck
  • Inside roll
  • Whip with inside and outside turn
  • Underarm to closed
  • Basics in closed position

Approach

We take a concept-based approach to teaching that makes it easier for you to learn important skills and content quickly. Through drills and exercises, you will learn to develop the essential competencies for dancing while also building your repertoire and learning about proper dance etiquette. We use the Socratic method, active learning, and experiential learning to help you understand, absorb, and retain the material. In-class instruction combined with out-of-class practice will help you progress as you continue studying the dance.

Structure

The Fundamentals course consists of 3 month-long progressive series (labeled A, B, and C). Each month reinforces core concepts while teaching new content to which you can apply your skills. The progression for each month presents topics in a sequence designed for the most effective learning. The first week of each month covers the essentials of leading and following in the slot, anchoring, and extension and compression. The second week teaches you about closed position and different ways to start a dance. The third week introduces turn technique and variations on the basics. The fourth week of the month covers frame and introduces the whip and whip variations. If there is a fifth week in the month, a special topic will be covered to help round out your knowledge, skills, and abilities.

Program A is the first month of each quarter, Program B is the second month of each quarter, and Program C is the third month of each quarter.

Enrollment

Each month starts the first Wednesday of each month. Because each month is a progressive syllabus, enrollment will only be allowed in the first two weeks of the month (those joining the second week will have to catch up). This ensures that those in the class are able to continually progress forward throughout the month. Those who join the class in the second week may have to work a little harder to catch up during the review of the first week’s material. Students who are new to West Coast Swing are eligible for a discount on their first month.

Requirements for Completion

You may take the three months (A, B, C) in any order, but you must take all three series at least twice before seeking permission to move into the Intermediate Class. We do not expect anyone to perfect the material the first or even the second or third time around, and each time you repeat a class you will improve your understanding and mastery of the skills and content. The goal is not just to retain the material – it is to become really good at it. Entrance to Intermediate WCS requires that you are proficient in the fundamentals of the dance, such that you do not struggle with the material at the next level, learning more does not negatively affect your fundamental skills, and you have a similar skill level to others in the class

Expectations

  • We get more out of our time together when we all begin at the same time. Students are expected to arrive before class begins to register and to be ready to start class on time.
  • If we are not paying attention, we may miss important information that will help us to improve. You should stay present in class, minimize distractions, and encourage others to do the same.
  • Processing information is an important step for learning, and as such, you will be asked to think about the material and participate in discussions in class. Be prepared to engage in class and answer questions.
  • You are the owner of your learning process. If you do not understand something or if you need clarification, you should raise your hand and ask a question. Chances are that someone else will also benefit from hearing the answer!
  • We assume you’re coming to class to learn, and with that should come a learning attitude: one grounded in humility, openness, and curiosity. Recognizing that we all have more to learn, you should stay open-minded and take every opportunity to develop yourself. Try everything you’re asked to do, take in any feedback you get, and continually seek knowledge and understanding.
  • Because we all have something to learn, we should focus on ourselves and our own progress. Do not teach others or offer any unsolicited feedback unless that person is causing physical harm. If you or someone else needs assistance, please ask one of the instructors to help.
  • In order to build your skill set, it is important to retain the material from week to week. We do not expect you to remember or absorb everything we teach you, but we do expect you to take notes either during or right after class. You should review these notes between classes (ideally more than once), and if anything needs clarification, you can ask about it in the next class.
  • What you are learning is a set of physical skills, and that means you need to train your body to execute new things. One hour a week is not nearly enough to learn a new skill and build muscle memory. So in order to get better, you should review and practice the material between classes, on your own and, if possible, with a partner. Practice is the key to getting better: the more you practice, the faster your progress will be. It is best to practice for a minimum of a few minutes every day, or at least every other day. If you do not practice, you may have difficulty keeping up in class as we review and move on to new material.
  • Don’t forget that we learn to dance to have fun! Getting better will allow you to have more fun, but enjoy the process of learning. Everyone progresses at their own rate and it is not a race, so don’t rush and be kind to yourself. Besides, if you stick with it, you will continually be working on your dancing – it never ends!
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