Barbara Capaldi's Atrium Dance Studio
August 2017 Highlights
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Dance Parties

1st & 3rd Friday
R&B Line Dance Party
8:00p – 1:00a

Every Saturday
Latin Night Salsa Party
8:3 0p – 2:00a

1st & 3rd Sunday
Tango Brunch Milonga

12:00p– 3:00p

1st & 3rd Sunday
Ballroom Mix Party
3:00p – 6:30p

Every Wednesday West Coast Swing & Hustle Party 8:30p-11:00p

No partner necessary
Wear comfortable shoes

All classes are $12
Lesson Pricing Info.

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Where to dance
in South Jersey

Our classes

West Coast Swing Dance Style

Slotted, 6-count and 8-count patterns. Depending on the style lots of turns or lots of footwork. Syncopations are common. The man stays pretty much in one place while the woman moves back and forth in a slot. Therefore, it's the woman's movements that are emphasized. There's a lot more hand and arm motion than in the shag to produce figures like left/right passes, tunnels, and various wraps. West Coast developed from the Lindy.

As done in the Swing community the end of patterns typically use an "anchor step" and not a "Coaster step." The follower is discouraged from moving forward under her own power at the end of the pattern. Instead, she hangs out until the guy remembers to lead. Another distinction between the styles has to do with the "rock- step." Purists in the swing community claim there is never a "rock- step" in West Coast; by definition the "rock-step" is ECS. In practice, the purists are thankfully in the minority. Yet another distinction between the communities is in leverage and being grounded; the ballroom West Coast dancers are more "up" while in the swing community they are more "into the floor." Similarly, in the ballroom circles there is little leverage while in the swing circles many dancers strive for leverage and connection that appears to be more "heavy." Syncopations are used far more frequently in West Coast than in other Swing styles that I am familiar with.

One rarely sees syncopations used in the East Coast style or Lindy, but perhaps because there is so much more time available with the slow tempos used for West Coast, everybody does them. As dancers are learning the West Coast, they typically add syncopations at the end of patterns first. Latter, other parts of the rhythm are changed such that the basic 12 3&4 5&6 becomes &12... or 12 &34..., etc. We emphasize footwork, often using a minimum number of patterns. WCS is indeed a slot dance. In theory, the lady should never step outside her slot (except, of course, to avoid colliding with another couple). The man is normally either in the other end of the slot, or immediately next to the slot so that the woman can pass by him. Her assignment, should she choose to accept it, is to get from one end of the slot to the other, preferably doing something stylish in the process. The man either leads her down the slot, or starts her down the slot then blocks her path, forcing her to go back to the end she came from. There are, of course, various turns, spins, fancy footwork and such associated with these manouvers.

WCS is very improvisational among advanced dancers with "syncopations", i.e. rhythm variations, footwork variations, body waves, etc. Individual styles vary widely. Most of the finalists at the US Open Swing competition have radically different styles. There are no set "rules". There is a lot of leeway for the follower to improvise and add styling and syncopated footwork, typically as she turns around at the end of her slot.

West coast swing is a "slot" dance, which means that the woman travels forward and back along a single straight line on the floor, with the man moving off of and onto her line. Although there are turning figures, they still keep the woman on her line. The tempo is 28-32 mpm. Figures begin with two walking steps, followed by two triple steps (or a triple step, two walks and another triple, in Lindy time figures). The second triple step is generally danced in place and is called the "anchor step;" its main purpose is to reestablish physical tension between the partners, generally achieved by leaning slightly back. The style is very casual and sometimes overtly sexual. Perhaps most important, west coast swing features many "syncopations," which are changes in the basic pattern. The most common is the tap step to replace the first triple step; since both patterns use the same number of weight changes, they are equivalent.

1 2 3&4 5&6 (walk walk triple-step triple-step) rhythm for sugar push, underarm turns, side passes. 1 2 3&4 5 6 7&8 rhythm for whip patterns. Danced in a narrow slot so is suitable in a crowded night club. Danced to a wide range of tempos and styles of music (15-45). Blues is a traditional style of music for WCS. Has a smooth, grounded, "earthy" look for slow blues songs. Is very improvisational among advanced dancers with "syncopations", i.e. rhythm variations, footwork variations, body waves, etc. Individual styles vary widely. Most of the finalists at the US Open Swing competition have radically different styles. There are no set "rules".

In WCS, the underarm turn of ECS is straightened out so the lady moves straight down a narrow slot and the man passes the lady only a few inches outside the slot. The chasse side-together-side is changed to fwd-fwd-fwd. Also, the ECS back-replace for the lady on 12 is changed to fwd-fwd in WCS. WCS is danced anywhere from extremely slow, e.g. 15, to fast Jive, e.g. 50. It is very open to interpretation with radically different styles and lots of "playful" exchanges.

West-Coast Swing Dance Lessons

List of all dance lessons

4721 N. Crescent Blvd. (Route 130)
Pennsauken, NJ 08110


4721 N. Crescent Boulevard Pennsauken, NJ 08110 856-661-9166 ©2008 ATRIUM DANCE STUDIO