Hello, Westies! We created the Dance Definitions series to be a database of basic West Coast Swing terms and concepts, in the hopes that this will become a helpful resource for our dance community. Each week some amazing pros will be bringing us a definition and short explanation of the week’s term. This week we have Stephen and Sonya White and Kara Frenzel defining “Anchor Step.” Check it out!

Stephen and Sonya White

“A slowing or cease of momentum generally occurring at the end of the slot, used to re-establish or build connection before redirection. ”

The Anchor or Anchor steps usage and definition can vary slightly depending on which school of thought you adopt. Most people will agree that it’s an elastic action of redirection, and either a segue way into the next pattern or a transition between two. Typically occurs from 4-6 of a 6 count pattern or 6-8 of an 8 count, depending on style being taught.

Kara Frenzel

Anchors are a complicated topic. While it is often characterized as a triple step and within a two beat increment, as we see with our fundamental patterns, it doesn’t necessarily have to include those elements. I liken an anchor to a period at the end of a sentence. It finishes off each pattern. An anchor is where both parties (lead and follow) find their weight AWAY from each other at the end of the pattern, creating a leverage/extension in the connection. The leader’s weight should end over the front of his right heel and the follower’s weight on the center of the left heel, typically in an open third foot position on count “6&.” From there, their bodies are stacked in alignment over that point: hips, shoulders, and head and preferably with straight legs. There needs to be some stretch in the arm to accomplish that, without pulling each other off the post. There are of course exceptions to every rule. Anchor variations can include many stylings, but should mimic the connection we have when we have those alignments. Hope that helps….Don’t forget to “put an anchor on it.” -Kara Frenzel


whites.fbStephen White is a Swing Professional currently competing at the Champion level. Calling no one place home, he travels around the world instructing, choreographing, competing, and performing. The palest working man in the Swing world, he’s known for a quirky wit, fun workshops, and an avid love of social dancing! Please make sure he avoids excess sunlight.

Sonya White hails from Montreal, Quebec, Canada (not to be confused with the rest of Canada, or France). With a background in teaching Salsa and Latin street dance for 7 years, she brings a unique flavor to her West Coast. Versed extensively in Modern, Hip hop, Jazz, Classical, Etc, she is also fluent in 5 different languages. That means she can teach you many dances, in many ways, in many tongues! She can even translate the “southern” that Stephen tends to speak.

Together they’re traveling the world and the Swing circuit, searching for that darn lost shaker of salt.

You can reach them both at thewhites.dance

caba0e_a905686ff3e1456db6efe8b0770241c9Kara’s passion for dancing flourished at a young age. Throwing herself into as many dance classes as possible at local dance studios, at her high school and community college simultaneously, she studied various dance styles including jazz, ballet, hip hop, modern, swing, ballroom, salsa, improvisation and choreography. While attending College at BYU-Idaho, Kara majored in Business Management/Marketing and minored in Dance. She expanded her knowledge of dance, studying all styles of Ballroom, Latin, Night Club, and Lindy. Kara performed on multiple tour groups Nationally and has been teaching ever since she first worked for a Ballroom studio in 2005! Today, Kara is an All Star/ Champion dancer on the West Coast Swing circuit. She can be found teaching, judging, and competing at WCS dance conventions, swing clubs and dances, nationally and internationally! She has choreographed, performed and placed with former partners in the prestigious Classic and Showcase divisions. She also runs a home business, offering private lessons, group classes, and a dance in San Luis Obispo. (Check out karafrenzel.com) Kara is often complimented as a “good teacher” and a “beautiful dancer,” known for her sexy, playful style, emotion, musicality, and love of technique, developed from partner dancing and contemporary dance.

2 Replies to “What is an Anchor Step? Anchor Steps Defined”

  1. I knew there was a reason I liked you! You understand the logic 🙂
    4 – 6, not just 5 – 6; straight legs and punctuation!!!

  2. Anchor is a word and concept that GSDTA added to the West Coast Swing terminology – many years ago – to replace the term Coaster Step. I feel very happy over the fact that everyone who has explained an Anchor, each in their own way, has done a marvelous job! I am really proud that so many GSDTA innovations are now standard in WCS Terminology. Thank you. Skippy Blair

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