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The Difference Between East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing, and Lindy Hop

East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and the Lindy Hop are all variations of the Basic Swing dance that originated in the early 1900’s. What started off as a form of wild dance with kicks and jives, slowly evolved to a more sophisticated, graceful version. There’s not much of floor space covered in the ‘Swing’ since the form basically involves movement coordinated with the rhythym of music rather than the melody. They were quite popular as balroom dances, which may be another reason for using limited floor space. There may not be many variations observed in these forms in aspects of count or types of steps, however there are few basic traits characteristic of each dance.

San Francisco Swing Recommends these Albums and DVDs:

Swing Kids: Music From The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
The Big Band Era: 18 Greatest Hits
Swing Session
Lindy Hop For The Total Beginner
Swing Dancing 101 (Shawn Trautman Dance Instruction)

The Lindy Hop

The dance derives its name from Lindbergh’s flight (hop) to Paris across the Atlantic. It happened to be in vogue then. A direct descendant of the early swing dance, this form retains much of the energy and wildness of the original ‘Swing’. There are more kicks and free arm movement that match the fast music. No wonder its popularity is still on the increase even today.

The East Coast Swing

Popularly known as the ‘Triple Step’, this is danced to a count of 6. The movement is not restricted to any specific pattern, but is more of a circular movement, basically on the same spot. Slightly faster paced than the West Coast Swing, it can be adapted to any music, especially the old Rock ‘n Roll tunes. Pushes, turns and tunnels are all part of this form.

The West Coast Swing

This is the most sophisticated of the three forms that could be more suited to ballroom dancing. It has graceful movements combined with twirls and pushes, which could be improvised to suit any form of music. As compared to the Lindy Hop and the East Coast Swing, the West Coast Swing is a slower dance. It has a linear pattern, where the partners move to their right or left in counts of 6, 8 or 10. There are a variety of steps comprising swivels, tucks, whips, pushes and underarm turns.

The music actually determines the kind of dance to go with it. With the evolution of the music, from early Jazz, Rock ‘n Roll and Country music, swing dance has evolved with so many local variants to the basic form that the names are used interchageably. As for places outside of the US, Lindy Hop still remains the most popular version of ‘Swing’, embellished ofcourse with the local preferences.

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