Side-by-Side Look at East Coast and West Coast Swing

Topics: Jitterbug, Competitive dance, Dance Pages: 2 (514 words) Published: March 26, 2006
Since the early 1900's, swing dancing has livened up the dance floors across the United States. Many versions of swing dancing are still in existence today. Of those dances (the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, and the Charleston), the two most common amongst the social dancers are the East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing. Though they derived from the same dance, the Lindy Hop, many things set them apart from one another. The style, frame, and beat of the West Coast Swing make it the more popular of the two.

The East Coast Swing, the older form of swing dancing, is nothing more than the Lindy Hop shrunken down to a six-count dance and is the easiest to learn. The East Coast Swing is a simple structured dance that moves in a circular pattern. With steps like the "Walk with Kicks" and "Boogie Walks," dancers can move around the dance floor. Because dancers are able to move around, collisions can often occur with the numerous dancers that are dancing on the floor. The East Coast Swing has a typical lead/follow styled frame, where the dancer's steps and patterns often mirror each other, i.e. they are the exact opposite of each other. This style of frame does not permit the follower much opportunity to take the lead. The East Coast Swing has upbeat and energetic footwork, which gives it its bouncy look, but it does not allow for much syncopation. It is often danced to fast-paced music that usually falls within the range of 140 to 220 beats per minute but can be danced to many other variances of beats.

The West Coast Swing, the grandchild of the Lindy Hop and Jitterbug, is an eight-count dance and is one of the more difficult swing dances to learn. It is an intricate slot dance where the leader pretty much stays in place. The leader only moves to the side, allowing the follower to pass. The smaller area of dance space allows more individuals to have access the floor with less risk of bumping into other dancers. The West Coast Swing...
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