West Coast Swing Dance Moves

Do you want to know how to spot a swing dancer? Look for the one with the biggest smiles on! Swing is one of the most fun and entertaining forms of ballroom dancing. Find out more about west coast swing dance moves in this short article today.

West coast swing dance steps originated from the Lindy Hop— the mother of all swing. Naturally, this particular style of swing originated from the west coast. Arthur Murray wrote in 1947 that there are several regional dances of the Jitterbug type. Many provinces had their own variation of this dance.

Dean Collins, a performer and teacher who lived in Los Angeles in the 1930’s, was influential in the swing style of dance on the West Coast. His wife Mary Collins was often asked if his husband was a factor in bringing dance to the masses. She reminisced that Dean would share that there were “only two kinds of swing dance- good and bad”. Dean Collins learned how to dance in the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. This is where his love for dance and passion for reinventing the swing type of dance was developed.

The west coast swing is known as a “slotted dance”. The slot is the space that dancers follow. If the tempo is slow the slot is described to be straight and narrow at around eight or nine feet; however, the faster the music, the shorter the line becomes. There is a follower and a leader. The leader moves consistently until mid-way down the slot while the follower moves forward and backward straight towards the leader.

There is also basic etiquette in dance. This is especially followed in a crowded venue to avoid accidents or irritations on the dance floor. An example of this is using a fixed slot (or area). This will allow other dancers to have their own slot.

During the swing era the west coast swing dance was incorporated in many types music like the Jazz and the Blues. In the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s west coast swing dance moves were used in rock ‘n’ roll movies. During this time, teenagers were already experimenting in freestyle dance while the older generation continued to dance the Swing.

Disco music and dancing in the mid 1970’s were going back to “touch” partner dancing. This helps bring back west coast swing in California during this era. In the 1990’s, west coast swing dance steps were being danced by Country Western dancers to the tune of country western songs. Today, west coast swing is now part of the repertoire of the country western dance community. West Coast Swing is normally danced to music in 4/4 time. This makes West Coast Swing danceable and popular in today’s western music dance scene.

How did you find your short lesson on the west coast swing? If you want to learn more about west coast swing dance moves and other popular ballroom dancing styles, check out the resources available in this site today. Enjoy!

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