What is Swing Dance

What is Swing Dance? 

If you ever thought that ballroom and Latin dance wasn’t for you, you may want to try swing dance. Noted for its lifts, flips and spins, it’s an energetic and lively style of dancing that just as hip and cool in the clubs as it is on the professional dance floor. Loved by social dancers of all ages, swing dancing will get you fit, improve your coordination and balance and give you hours and hours of fun!+ Expand

What is Swing Dance?

But what is swing dance? Swing is a quick fast paced dance that’s characterised by lots of swinging movements and flipping and throwing of dance partners. Rather than dancing in hold with hands on shoulders and waists as common in ballroom dancing, dance partners just hold hands. It’s a non-progressive dance style, in that it’s mostly performed in one spot rather than the dancers moving around the room. This makes it the perfect form of expressive movement for crowded dance floors. 

This group of dances first developed in the 1920s as dancers found ways to express the popular swing style of jazz music. During this time, dancers performed hundreds of different styles of swing dancing, although most of these dances are long since forgotten. However, some of the dances survived, including the popular Lindy Hop and Charleston, together with the Balboa and Collegiate Shag.


The Different Swing Dances 

Swing developed on the east coast and west coast of American simultaneously and encompasses a variety of styles that are sometimes mixed together to form different dances. However, the mother of Swing is known as the Lindy Hop or Jitterbug and is probably the most famous of all the swing dances. Originating from the dance clubs of Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s, it has a bouncy, infectious energy and incorporates spectacular lifts and the fast-paced swing-outs that are its signature moves.

Mention the Charleston, and we immediately have a vision of flappers in 1920s dresses, their feet swivelling from heel to toe and back again. The Charleston evolved from African-American dances, growing and changing as its popularity grew from the 1920s to the 1940s. One of the west-coast dances, the Balboa originated in the dance halls of California. Although like other forms of swing, it’s danced at a fast tempo, the partners remain close together. Other popular types of swing include dances such as the Jive, the Carolina Shag, and the Boogie Woogie.


Are All Dances Fast Paced? 

Swing dance styles are influenced by the music of the time, so the dances developed as music evolved from jazz and ragtime through to hip-hop, rock-n-roll, funk and pop music. We can’t imagine a jive without thinking of 1950s rock and roll music or a Charleston without the sounds of the jazz musicians. However, not all the dances are fast paced, swing dancing is also performed to slower beats and rhythms.


Could Swing be the Dance for You?

You need to have energy and stamina to dance swing, but this can be built up by practice. By signing up for dance lessons, you’ll get to learn the main steps, meet new people and have lots of fun. It’s a form of dance that enables you to add your own personal style and expression so is the ideal choice if you love to be creative. So put on your dancing shoes – it’s time to have fun!

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