Skippy Blair's DANCE BLOG

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Friday, November 19, 2004

Judging ANCHORS in West Coast Swing


We have discovered new insights lately, into the art of “anchoring”.  Because of so many discussions lately, concerning the new Judging program, I get to talk to quite a few judges.  I also talk to quite a few potential judges - some new to the game - others pretty well seasoned.


One young lady seemed way off base concerning one couple in a recent out of state competition.  When asked if she remembered why she had given them such low scores, she replied that they never did an anchor.  Having observed the couple in question, I felt that both partners have a great connection and anchor all the way through the dance.  Second question was - “Why do you think they didn’t anchor?”   Answer -  “She seldom ever does a Triple on 5&6.”   


Problem solved.  An ANCHOR does NOT require a TRIPLE in order to qualify as an ANCHOR.   An anchor is neither a Foot Position nor a Dance Rhythm.  MANY dancers do Triples in 3rd foot position, and yet do NOT anchor their bodies.  These are the ones who need the work.  An ANCHOR Is an “away” connection from one partners center to the other partners center.  It is achieved by placing one’s Center Point of Balance (CPB) BEHIND the heel of the forward foot in order to tighten the partner connection at the completion of a pattern.  It’s a silent signal that each partner is ready to proceed to the next pattern.


It is true that TEACHING someone how to do a BASIC anchor is easier if we teach them to  do an “ANCHOR Triple, in 3rd foot position.”  That is a process for teaching someone how to feel the connection in an anchor. 


Once felt and achieved, there are numerous ways to get an Anchor Connection, and it can be done with various rhythms.  A “Point &a Close” makes a good anchor.  Sometimes a follower can hit a back step on the Right foot on “4” and drag the free Left foot slowly back through counts “&a 5&a” and close the Left foot behind the Right foot precisely on “6”.  The point is this - We need to spread the word that an ANCHOR is an ACTION, not a specific rhythm and not a specific Foot Position.


A recent discovery that explains the lack of action/reaction, is that some ladies “anchor in 3rd foot position” but have their centers over the FORWARD foot.  The anchor looks like it is in the right place - but lacks the inter-action it was designed to deliver.