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Seeing two amazing dancers perform in a Jack and Jill to a great blues tune is a great way to learn from legends of West Coast Swing

Zac Skinner and Raisa Khismatullina - Walkaround

Zac Skinner and Raisa Khismatullina were recently paired at the Asia Open Jack and Jill competition.

Watching these two dance together shows great connection and footwork play to a blues tune that just makes you want to get up and dance.

So this week, we’re learning their ‘walk around’ pattern with a little variation to the end.

The two biggest challenges when learning this pattern are the quick timing change with the footwork and the lead arm – both happening right at the beggining of the move.

Here are my tips to help get you learn how to lead this West Coast Swing pattern.

Tip #1 – Practise to slow music

This is probably a simple tip that you might already follow when learning new patterns. Play a slower song (70 – 80 beats per minute) when learning this pattern. There are a few unique moments that take some early adjustment.

Also, leaders should do their best to be gentle with their arms/hands and don’t be too rigid. Just in case (like me) you connect with your followers head (Oops! – Sorry Amanda!)

Tip #2 – Bring the tuck turn hand in to your chest

As you skip closer to your follower near the completion of the tuck turn, the follower must be redirected in a forwards direction. If this doesn’t happen the natural movement will be for them to settle backwards into their anchor.

This happened multiple times to me during practise and Amanda made it clear that I needed to lead her to move forwards (almost like a rock and go).

So bring the tuck turn lead hand (left hand) around quickly and towards you, placing it on your chest/rib cage. At the same time you’re ‘skipping’ towards your follower so they can begin the walk around movement successfully.

Once you get the hang of this step, the rest is fairly simple.

Pattern Variations

You may notice in the video that Zac completes the walkaround in 6 steps whereas I completed it in 8. I wouldn’t say either is incorrect here – and will depend on your and your followers positions. I do prefer Zacs speed though and it looks cleaner to me than 8 counts.

I hope this helps you also learn to better lead this ‘walk-around’ pattern.

Enjoy your West Coast Swing!

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