Welcome to West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing is it the most advanced form of swing dancing.

It was created bye adopting Lindy Hop, Jitterbug and Rock’n’Roll patterns to R&B, Blues and Soul music. Its main characteristics are: it’s linear form, great multitude of patterns, and incredible versatility when comes to interpreting music. It is so hard to describe exactly what West Coast Swing is, the best thing therefore is to see what it looks like. Below you will find several video clips of most prominent West Coast Swing dancers, currently pushing the envelope.

West Coast Swing 1

West Coast Swing 2

West Coast Swing 3

We teach West Coast Swing at any level from complete basics to very advanced.

The novice to beginner group class is scheduled to begin in February.
If you’re interested please contact us so we can put you on the list.

At any point in time you can schedule a private or a semi-private class.

What do our levels mean: if you are not certain which level of dance classes you should attend, you’ll find an explanation of different levels HERE

Joining: Before showing up for the first time be sure to contact us.
We wouldn’t want you traveling all the way down for nothing just in case there is an unscheduled cancellation.

All other classes: providing your level of dancing is compatible with the level of a class you are interested in, you can join at any time. Please note: if you would like to attend without a partner there might be a delay in getting you enrolled: we are trying to have an equal number of women and men in each class and typically there is a shortage of man.

For prices please click on the “Cost / Payment Options” link in the main menu or click HERE

Evolution of Swing from Charleston to West Coast Swing

 

It’s hard to imagine, it all started at the beginning of previous century with Tango in Argentina.

North America has always been torn between two opposing poles. On one side the bohemian’s seeking of freedom of expression, and on the other the puritans’ attempts to stifle what was “morally reprehensible”.

Hence the Americans fascination with Argentine Tango, that couldn’t be manifested directly.  Ever since Rudolph Valentinos famous scene from “The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse” Americans danced their “Not – Tango”, meaning Tango styled moves – to big-band music. At first local variations of a new style of dancing were being named after cities they were  being danced at.

Here we have: The Baltimore.

 

 

There has been many local variations called after their origins, some had more esoteric playful dance names like Turkey Trot. But there was something missing in this newly emerging popular culture phenomenon.

And then, Harry Fox just nailed it when he came up with his Vaudeville stage passing move.

He combined set of forward and back walks, interlocked them with a waltz like side together, chose to do it to an unusual 6 bits to regular 4/4 timing, rather then regular 4, and the rest is history…. The new move has become “the thing”.

The new pattern spread all over as “The Basic Step”, and the term “Fox Trot” has been created

 

Some simple moves done on the spot just to mark the rhythm, while you were being held in place by a crowd that didn’t move to eagerly around the dance floor, started to live a life of their own….  Here’s Charleston

 

And another version, with even more flashy creative footwork that strongly influenced couple dancing. This has became a precursor to Lindy Hop.

 

Lindy Hop in its hay days influenced decades of dancing. In this footage we can see the original founders of the style from Savoy Ballroom including Frankie Manning.

 

Lindy Hop was “the starting point” for the whole Swinging dances family.

 

 

When in the 50’s dance teachers had to explain the basic triple step of the currently popular swinging moves, they most likely had to explain things in the following way…

“First you rock your body onto a foot, then you roll the weight all the way over, then repeat in the other direction….

first rock then roll, first rock then roll….

rock and roll, rock and roll…

Sooner or later the new name was coined…

The Rock’n’Roll.

 

 

So the Rock’n’Roll era started, and it was fun while it lasted…

 

Then in the 60’s the puritan streak in society won for a decade, ironically strongly instigated by Elvis’s gyrating hips…

WASP older gentlemen deemed America’s teenagers dancing to be a threat to good morals.

There even was a movie about those times. It was called “Footloose”, you might remember that one…

So in the 60’s suddenly couple dancing was no longer as present in pop media…

we could see more solo and line dancing rather then couples holding hands.

 

Since the 60’s youth become 70’s parents, kids from the 70’s did not have anything to copy, they did not experience watching their parents couple dancing when they were growing up.

With the onset of mass media grabbing hold of the society, new trends emerged. Popular dancing started to look like that….

 

Couple Dancing took refuge in Ballroom Style.

 

Some Swing dancing survived as Jive – the ballroom version of Rock’n’Roll, some made it to the 80’s by hiding through the “thin decades” in Country Western style.

And it was in the 80’s that swing dancing started to go through the real Renaissance.

 

 

New era of pop music with “Wake me up before you GoGo” by Wham, or “timeless” classics of Shaken Stevens, brought back just the right rhythms.

It’s the music of the happy 80’s that helped bring Swing dancing back to mainstream.

Some more 80’s footage…

 

And here we have the “Old Timers” Frankie Manning and Norma Miller strutting it, some 40 years later…

 

So we made it to the 90’s and the truly modern times. Here we have some Jack and Jill competition in mixed Lindy and West Coast Swing.

Grandpa Manning would be proud 🙂