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If you’re looking for inspiring and beautiful dance partners on the planet right now, let me introduce you to them…

Jakub Jakoubek and Emeline Rochefeuille (jemwcs) have a long history of West Coast Swing dancing and other styles before that.

This combination of moves is a favourite of mine. The set up is similar to an illusion turn which is always popular with the great Robert Royston but adds a twist and finishes with a nice spin. Thus, the ‘tangle & spin’ nickname.

So this week, we’re learning their ‘tangle & spin’ combo.

I feel like the biggest lesson I learned while initially practising this is the connection with Amanda through our hands. As we began working on this dance move we stepped through each part without music, to get the shape of the movement right.

Feet go here, hands here, move together here, lead this, pop the knees here, spin…

And while our example in the video is not perfect, recording us after 30-45 minutes practise allows us to critique our movement and make improvements to our shapes and steps going forward.

As a leader, I am really lucky to have Amanda who always gives me great feedback on what she feels with my leads. This helps me refine hand and feet positions so that when I take this ‘into the wild’ with other dancers who are unfamiliar, I’m more likely to execute something they can follow.

Here are the first 4 tips to help get you going when leading this pattern.

Tip #1 – Setup your hands

Set up the correct hand connection with a simple hand change so you’re right to right handed (your right and followers right hand).

Tip #2 – Present your left hand

In order the complete the first pass easily, you’ll need to connect left to left hand (your left and followers left hand). Do this by offering your hand with your thumb facing downwards. This makes the first pass seamless with your hand rotation.

Tip #3 – Don’t pull or yank on the stretch

As your follower moves forward and you’re behind them, don’t yank the hand connection or pull back. Instead, offer a little resistence and let your follower find the end of the connection before they reverse backwards.

This helps to avoid any strain on the followers shoulders and makes the move more enjoyable. You’ll notice Emeline naturally finds her extension without Jakub pulling or straining the connection.

Tip #4 – Use your hand connection to assist your rotation

The slower the song, the easier your rotation becomes if you use your hand connection to assist you in your rotation.

In fact, this is one area I know I can improve after watching the video side by side. Jakub places his left foot very close to his right foot and then sweeps backwards in one controlled, smooth movement. The only way to do that is to also use Emeline’s connection to help with the rotation and assisting your own self generated rotation.

I hope this helps you also learn to better lead this ‘tangle & spin’ technique.

Enjoy your West Coast Swing!

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