9. The Basic Whip

The whip is a swing out variation. The swing out is perhaps the single most dramatic and identifying characteristic of lindy. There are many different variations of the swing out. The whip is a swing out which creates the illusion that the leader is somehow throwing the follower out the way a pitcher throws a fast ball. The important thing to remember is that this is only an illusion. What the leader is really doing is redirecting the momentum of the follower. This should be done in a way that feels comfortable for both the leader and the follower.

The whip is an eight count pattern. The basic eight count footwork and weight changes are as followers:

For the leader:

First 4 Counts
1 2 3 & 4
rock step tri - -ple step
left right left right left

Second 4 Counts
5 6 7 & 8
step step tri- -ple step
right left right left right

For the follower:

First 4 Counts
1 2 3 & 4
rock step tri- -ple step
right left right left right

Second 4 Counts
5 6 7 & 8
step step tri- -ple step
right left right left right

It is important to be comfortable with this footwork because it will be the basis for most of the eight count patterns covered in this tutorial. When learning this footwork, put on a cd or record of medium or slow tempo swing music and dance the eight count pattern continuously for at least twenty minutes. If you make mistakes later on you should not stop and start over but try and recover and continue. A wise dancer once said "There really are no mistakes just variations." This does not mean, however, that technique is not important.

The whip footwork for the leader starts with a rock step on 1,2. On 3&4 the leader is not going to do a full triple but, instead, on the last step of the triple he keeps his weight on his right leg and touches forward with his left foot, triple touch. By 3&4 the leader should turn 180 degrees. On 5, the leader turns his his head then his body 180 degrees by pivoting on his left foot and stepping around clockwise with his right foot. To maintain balance on 5, the leader's right and left foot should have a space between them and should not be in a single line. On 6, the leader sits back on his left leg. On 7&8, the leader does a triple sit in place, right left right, ending with his weight on his right foot. Other than turning, the leader should not travel in this pattern except to get out of the follower's way. Part of the illusion of the whip is created by the fact that the follower is traveling relative to the leader who is dancing in place.

The footwork for the whip for the follower starts with a walk walk on 1,2 moving forward in a straight line. On 3&4 the follower is not going to do a full triple but, instead, on the last step of the triple keeps her weight on her left leg and touches forward with her right foot, triple touch. On 5, the follower pivots 180 degrees clockwise on her right foot and steps down at the end of her pivot with her left foot. On 6, the follower steps back with her right foot into a sitting position. On 7&8, the follower does a triple sit in place, left right left. The follower's path in this pattern should be linear.

Connection occurs in the whip by the leader redirecting the follower's momentum. As far as the follower is concerned, when the pattern starts the leader is doing a pass by on the leader's right side, that is, until the leader reaches out and catches the follower on 3 as in pattern number 5 (going from open to closed position). The only difference between pattern 5 and the whip is that on count 4 the leader and follower should travel 180 degrees from the starting position and they should be facing one another. The follower's momentum is what creates the rotation. On 5, the leader continues to redirect this momentum smoothly by pulling the follower in close and turning clockwise another 180 degrees.

Arms in 5 position: Just as in the sugar push, the leader's left forearm and the follower's right forearm should stay parallel to the ground. These forearms should bend outward so that the leader and follower can get close. The follower should bend her left wrist and mash her palm into the leader's palm. On 5, the leader and follower are offset with one another so that the leader is looking over the followerís left shoulder. In 5 position, the leader and the follower should be close and offset with the leader looking over the follower's left shoulder. The leader's left hand and the follower's right hand should be directly to the side of where the leader and follower's bodies are almost together. The follower's right elbow can go behind her back if the leader pulls her very close.

On 6, the leader lets go of the follower with his right hand and the leader and follower sit back and separate. This sitting back and away from one another is another element that contributes to the illusion of the whip. The follower is not pushed anymore forcefully than she would be in a sugar push. On 7&8, since both leader and follower have reached the end of the line, they triple sit in place.

Try these combinations:

1. starter step, send out, pass by on leader's right side, bring back to closed, basic
2. starter step, sendout to two hand open position, sugar push, bring back to closed position, basic
3. starter step, send out, whip, bring back to closed position, basic
4. starter step, send out, pass by on leader's right side, whip, bring back to closed position, basic
5. starter step, send out, whip to two hand open position, sugar push, bring back to closed position, basic

His back step starts her
forward...

...They catch, she looks back.
He will use his next
triple step to rotate
180 degrees......

(Notice his exaggerated
and relaxed left leg
lift, the "puppet string" lift)

...to face her. She will
now be moving straight
at him, so he has
to get out of her way
quickly...

...like this.

The soon-to-be free
hands do not release
until the last moment.

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