Swing Dance

The term “swing dance” is commonly used to refer either to a group of dances developing in response to swing music in the 1920s, 30s and 40s, or to the lindy hop, a popular partner dance today.  Swing dancing has a strong tradition of social and competitive boogie woogie and acrobatic rock and roll.  Lindy Hop eventually evolved into many variations of swing dance. Some of these variations include the West Coast Swing, Jive and the Boogie Woogie.  While not technically a “swing dance”, Blues is historically/culturally related to Swing and remains very popular in many swing dance communities.  “Learning to Swing Dance is easy and fun if you have the right instructors.

Learning to Swing Dance is easy and fun if you have the right instructors and trainers.
Swing dancing is all about personal expression and style.   The Swing dance reflects the culmination of many different factors, influences and mutations.  Swing dancing is a fun, wonderful exercise, and a great way to make new friends.   In Swing dancing you can learn how to interpret swing music with your body.   The Swing dance is characterized by an emphasis on improvisation and the ability to easily adapt to steps from other 8-count and 6-count Swing styles.

The Lindy Hop is a type of Swing dance that has become very popular and fun. The Lindy Hop evolved into West Coast Swing during the 60’s and 70’s and changed as the music changed.   This style of swing has many related dances that are an essential part of your swing vocabulary including Balboa, Bal-Swing, Collegiate Shag, Shadow/Tandem Charleston, Front Charleston, and the 20’s

Charleston. Believe it or not the Lindy Hop is a street dance, in that it’s ever changing, done mostly socially, and is open to lots of inspiration and new steps. The Lindy Hop is defined by the music, and the music defines the Lindy Hop.  This style of swing is best thought of as a creative, energetic and free-spirited.

Swinging jazz developed from Dixieland jazz, and traveled north with black dancers during the Great Migration. Dancers were often familiar with a wide range of popular and traditional dances.  Dancers soon incorporated tap and jazz steps into their dancing.    Many swing dancers today argue that it is important to dance many styles of partner dance to improve technique, but also to reflect the historical relationship between these dances in the swing era of the 1920s and 1930s.  I recommend that you learn the basics, practice until you don’t have to think to follow the beat, watch other dancers of different skill levels, take different classes, attend workshops, dance with different partners and, above all, have a good time.

Swing dancing is characterized by an emphasis on improvisation and the ability to easily adapt to include steps from other 8-count and 6-count Swing styles.  These slow rhythmic steps were always accompanied by a single quick, quick rhythm.  There is no absolute “right” way to perform steps and patterns. The rock step in ballroom swing often resembles more of a “Latin” style rock step.  The footwork consists of smooth and continuous floor contact, sliding and gliding-type steps (versus hopping and jumping-type steps), and there are no aerials.

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