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. The pros have freedom to take whatever approach they desire and say as much or as little as they want on the subject. For more in-depth info, contact the pros for a private lesson or look up their next workshop. This week we have the incredible Cameo Cross (USA) and Rebecca Ludwick (USA) defining “Shaping.” These ladies are some of the best on the circuit at shaping and it’s an absolute honor to hear their thoughts on the subject!

Cameo Cross

Shaping consists of adapting and manipulating one’s angle, height, and or body to either match or compliment their partner’s shape. Looking at it from another perspective, the term shaping could also be defined as the generation of a certain shape as well as responding to a shape. For “generation” we prefer the term “texturing.”

Rebecca Ludwick

Shaping – To mold oneself to an idea or thought; to create dynamic change to the original idea; to encourage new ways of moving through a previously known pattern. Shaping is such a fun and versatile concept as it gives you freedom to think independently of the other person’s pattern or move. Shaping is how you bend your elbow or sway your hips into a step. It’s what makes you unique and an individual. Lifting your arm might be an illustration of shaping but it’s only one element of so many in the equation. I like to think of Shaping as a way to be myself and still mold to my partner’s ideas or thoughts to allow more range of motion in one’s own self. When I shape a pattern, it is not only what I want to see in my mind’s eye coming to fruition but also what we as partners can do together to express ourselves more clearly or creatively!!!!!


To follow up with these amazing instructors for more info on shaping and other topics, see their profiles below.

You can also check out last week’s post with two definitions of “Compression” you should know from West Coast Swing pros Courtney Adair and Catriona Wiles.


Ben Mc Henry and Cameo Cross (USA)

Ben and Cameo (BAMEO) have now traveled all over the United States, and all over the world including countries such as France, Germany, Ukraine, Russia, UK, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, with many more on the horizon. Together, they have made 4 US Open Classic Division finals (out of 4 attempts), placed top 3 in multiple NASDE Classic Divisions including 3rd at US Open Swing Dance Championships, 3rd at Seattle Easter Swing, and 2nd at Swingtime in the Rockies, just to name a few. Separately, they have consistently placed/won in Jack & Jill and Strictly Swing divisions at competitions all over including Swingdiego, US Open Swing Dance Championships, Capital President’s Day Weekend, Boogie by the Bay, and many others. Together, they combine knowledge from many components of dancing in general, movement/body mechanics, and WCS specifically. They are known for focusing on many of the most complicated concepts in WCS, and finding ways to simplify them, making them easier to understand and apply. Their goal is to spread their love and passion for WCS to dancers all over the world, and they look forward to many of years of doing just that.

Rebecca Ludwick (USA)

Rebecca enjoys sharing her passion for dance and her knowledge of the body which she acquired through a lifelong immersion in Ballet and other kinetic movements. She has been both a long-time student and instructor of dance. It is said of Rebecca that she is not only a beautiful dancer, but also an extremely insightful diagnostician of others’ pathway for growth. You will recognize Rebecca by her graceful style and remarkably playful smile. Rebecca has won and placed at many top NASDE events and has finished Top 10 in the NASDE tour for the past 5 years. She has also been a Classic finalist at Swingdiego and the U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships the past 3 years. If you see Rebecca on the dance floor, ask her for a dance–its sure to be a fun one!

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