May 12, 2014

#75: Rocking the Rock Step Part 2 (Patterns!)

The Power to Take WCS Back
From Abstract Lies Here
A revolution is an idea which has found its bayonets. -Napoleon Bonaparte

It's time to learn some of the those hot WCS patterns you've seen in all the videos. The Ten won't teach them to you, so we will. Watch us! Get ready. They are not easy! But I know you're up to the challenge.

But first, let's take a look at what's been happening. Just a few weeks ago, in Weekly Note #70: Rocking the Rock Step, I urged you to, once again, introduce the Rock Step back into our dance. I said it would put the "swing" back in swing. How right I was.

I re-introduced The Tandem, also known as "Four Play," because it uses four dancers. I said it would help grind real West Coast Swing into your bones, soul and mind. Again, how right I was.

Since then the brave, the few and the smartest of men and women re-introduced the Rock Step into their workshops at events. Into their dances at their studios. Into their late night, side hall, first floor, private lesson room follies. Tandems here, Rock Steps there and a spin, spin, triple triple here, there and everywhere.

And you remembered, or discovered, just how much MORE fun, energizing, clever and exhilarating the Rock Step was, is and could be.

But I've got a secret to share. Here's what you also discovered, even if you don't know it yet:

You CANNOT do the Rock Step
and be 
Split Weight.

You can't. The Rock Step is literally defined as a person rocking their weight from one foot to another and then back again. The Rock Step is ALL about balancing from one foot to another - not straddling a pony with "40% of your weight on this foot and 60% percent on that foot." Abstract trained dancers are gonna die - they're gonna sweat, struggle and weep - totally BALK at the idea of Rocking ANY kind of step!

At my very first SwingIN there was a guy who had been taking with all the "young" kids here in Southern California (all of them untrained by the way) and quite a number of the leading Church members who USED to have training and then purposefully ditched it - boy, do we have so many of those! He was definitely a handful that day, but I wasn't too surprised by it, and I was most definitely equipped for it.

Anyhow, during the session labeled "The Cure" I taught everyone how to switch their weight from one foot to another. I didn't go into the Rock Step then... just switching weight.

And you know what? People had a HARD TIME!!! I couldn't believe it. My mother taught kindergarten and I filled in for her a number of times while I was a teacher. And guess what? One of their "skills" they had to learn was

Changing their weight (walking)
to the BEAT of a song!!!

That's right! Kindergarteners have to learn how to switch their weight to the beat of the song and I have to say... I don't remember any of them struggling with it!

But at that first SwingIN? With the "adults" trained by The Ten and their groupies.... oh Lord! It was a challenge!!! Some really liked working at it though - and loved this "new" feeling. Others, who were there back in the day of Rock Steps were like, "oh! right! I remember this!" and finally had that super joyous/dance-y face on again.

But others? Others thought I was crazy.

This one guy that only came to be ahead of the gossip trail? He kept asking me during the anchor section of the workshop, "so how much weight goes on my left foot here?" I didn't understand the question. He asked again, "Give me a percentage - are we talking 80%? 85? 60? How much my weight should be on my left foot?"

So I finally answered him -


Until then I'd never had to explain what changing weight meant. But I'll NEVER forget his answer... never, never, never, never! 

That's impossible.
 I don't buy it."

And he gave up, right then and there, just because I suggested that a person, a human being, a homosapien on this planet of ours, could ever, EVER be expected to put 100% of their weight on one single foot.

So strange, isn't it? That it's a requirement of all of our nation's children in Kindergarten? 

Perhaps I should have sent him there.

So I'm glad you're learning the Rock Step. I'm glad you're dancing at a level higher than The Ten. And just to give you another leg-up in the game, here are some moves I found in my Archives. I love being lead through them. I love leading them! And the SECOND one is my absolute favorite of the two. Here you are - the Rock of our new Revolution: the Rock Step. Our revolution, as Napoleon says in this week's quote, has found its bayonet.

PATTERN #1: Never before seen US Open Pattern!
Real Pattern for West Coast Swing

Real Pattern for West Coast Swing (Not available anywhere else!)


Those subscribed to my YouTube Channel received notices when these videos were posted, so it's been shared a little bit out there already. One champion of "real swing" had a great question for me, which I'd like to share with you, as well as my answer to him. It's just great for future reference:

Question: "Although the pattern is cool the leader barely moved his feet though both demos. Was this the start of triple free dancing as well?"

Answer: "No, though I know what you're referring to. Half of his footwork were the syncopations he taught in class. It was an Advanced class - which, because things were being done correctly back then, a side pass with so little footwork WAS advanced - you had to know how to stay exactly on time without footwork - keeping the timing internally instead of externally. It was very advanced, and the men rarely executed it without a lot of effort.

They other half is Phil just being relaxed Phil after a hard three day weekend - he's assuming (it was 97 after all - SoCal was at it's very peak of widespread excellence) everyone knows the footwork, and he's focusing on the preps in the hands and sides of the slots. When I'm tired, I do the exact same thing - but only in private now. I emphasize my footwork now (well, when I was able to dance), because no one was doing it. It's no longer a "given" - no one even realized I'm keeping time with my center.

Back then, he didn't have to emphasize it because everyone WAS doing it... the entire notebook is two whole hours! And I suspect others will have better footwork - it just takes forever to put them together... if you have any tapes with great workshops PLEASE post them and let me know so I can share them as well."

Let me add a little here too - NO - this was NOT the beginning of Triple free swing. The very first person to start that was here in Northern California with the initials CB around 2000. It grew from there and finally, the heads of the Church decided to "refine" and "revolutionize" swing in the Z kind of way, and that made the community change rapidly - starting around 2009/2010.

So there you go. Be ready to get your sweat on. 
From Weekly Note #75: Rocking the Rock Step Part 2 (Back to School). Released September 2013.