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If anyone asked who my two favourite West Coast Swing dancers are, I’d answer within a milli-second “Semion Ovsiannikov and Maria Elizarova”.

Semion and Maria

Every time I watch them on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook I can’t help but get inspired to dance… they’re just amazing.

Semion has amazing lines and smooth foot glides and incredible musicality. Maria is delightfully playful and technically brilliant. Together they’re graceful and have the kind of synergy on the dance floor that encapsulates great dancers.

So this week, we’re learning their decelerated hip catch.

As anyone dancing West Coast Swing will tell you, the devil is in the detail. Often when watching a video you’ll miss the connection level at critical points…

A hand moves slightly here, compression happens, matched resistence and counterbalance… they’re all impossible to see.

So as a leader, figuring these things out is essential to performing moves with your dance partners. In this breakdown then, I want to highlight the two things that Amanda helped me better understand as we went through this pattern.

Tip #1 – Engage your Core and Frame

I wish I could say that my core and frame are always engaged when I dance, but that’s simply not the case. However there are certain times I know it’s essential to successfully complete some moves on the dance floor.

This is one of those moves.

As we complete the reverse entry whip, I need to turn Amanda sharply to land parallel to her as I catch her hip. Then we rise and fall back before turning halfway to another hip catch. In this sequence, it’s helpful to be fully engaged as it stabilises yourself and your partner, making it easier to match and land together.

Tip #2 – Bring your Hands Together

On the final release, there’s a feeling of bringing your hands together – one connected to the hip of your partner and one free. Almost in an arc type motion. This gives a clear directional push to lead your partner to exit the decelerated hip catch.

Both of these helped me give clearer signals to Amanda as we executed this pattern.

I hope this helps you also learn to better lead this decelerated hip catch technique.

Enjoy your West Coast Swing!

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