Types of Swing Dances

Here are some types of swing dances that you might have heard of:

  • What is Swing?
    “Swing” is a term for a family of mostly partner dances originating from the Savoy Ballroom in the 1930’s. It is a street dance originally done to jazz or big band music.
  • What is Lindy Hop?
    Lindy Hop is the original “swing” dance, descended from Charleston. It has an eight-count basic pattern that goes in either a circular or slot shape on the floor.
  • What is East Coast Swing?
    East Coast Swing (also called “Jitterbug”) is a subset of Lindy Hop that was promoted because it was much easier to learn for beginners. It has a six-count basic pattern. If you learned “swing dancing” at a club, it was probably East Coast Swing.
  • What is West Coast Swing?
    West Coast Swing has an eight-count basic pattern similar to Lindy Hop, but usually done to slower, often more contemporary music in a more ornate, ballroom style. Lindy innovator Dean Collins called it “an abomination on the dance floor”. I wouldn’t go that far, but my site does NOT cover West Coast Swing since it usually has a completely different (older) crowd than what you’d find at “regular” swing events covered on my site.
  • What is Balboa?
    Balboa is a compact eight-count dance originally done in crowded ballrooms in Southern California.  It is usually done to faster music with the partners close together during the basic.
  • What is Shag?
    Shag is another compact dance, but the variety done in Southern California is six-count.  It’s done close together and kinda looks like hopping, but smoother.

Hope this is helpful!  Please leave a question or comment below!  – Brian 3/9/2013

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