7 Anchors

This article is a summary of the material covered in one of our Mastery-Level WCS connection workshops at May I Have This Dance. The workshop’s intent is to help pros and advanced dancers handle, and even take advantage of, the vastly different anchor connections used by all types of WCS dancers. Being an obsessive analyst, I created this taxonomy so I could wrap my warped brain around this. I hope it is helpful to others too.

First, let me clarify that by “Anchor,” I mean the connection that happens at the end of every WCS pattern. Not the footwork or pattern, but just the connection. Some others may refer to it as “resistance” or “posting.” The location of the hand connection where each partner is anchoring from/to is what I refer to as the “Post.”

Each of the seven anchors has a different effect and can be fantastic when executed well. In my observations and conversations with various pros I realize that most use one or two of these connections consistently. It’s very rare that a dancer uses all 7 identified below. Some pros I’ve talked to strongly believe that the only legitimate anchor in WCS is the Standard and all the others are wrong or just not WCS. A few others are teaching a Delayed Anchor as the norm and consider the Standard Anchor “old school.” My opinion: It’s all good. If done well, they are useful and effective tools that will only give you more options to interpret the music and move expressively with your partner. Nevertheless, I think it’s generally up to the lead to decide which connection any given pattern will utilize. It’s completely possible, and useful on occasion, for the follow to back-lead any of these connections, but I feel 85% of the time, let the lead lead. There are those rare partnerships where the lead/follow role is not static and the couple has this innate ability to share roles and create a true back and forth conversation.... but, I digress.

Anyway, I’ve described each of the 7 anchor connections below. The descriptions are based on standard 6-count basics that are not turning during the last unit, but the same would apply to whips and 8-count patterns, but with the “six” replacing the “four” and so on. In our workshop, we break down the mechanics of each one, apply it to several basic patterns, and use some fun drills, exercises, and games. I realize this is just my attempt at trying to organize what I’ve observed and learned thus far. I know there is more I have to learn and discover on this topic, and things will undoubtedly evolve. That’s what keeps me excited. After going through this and trying these out, I’d love to get your feedback and hear about your experiences. There’s so much amazing knowledge and skill out there with all the talented and passionate WCS dancers around the world. Let’s share and soak it all up!

Please note that the mechanics of how to achieve an anchor is not described in this article. We have other workshops where we break down the exact weight placement, posture, arm tone, hand hold, momentum control, and positioning to achieve a proper anchor. This article presumes you already know how to anchor very well.