What is West Coast Swing? Is that swing that’s danced on the west coast rather than the east coast? Read on and find out!
The history of West Coast Swing is a little mixed and fuzzy. West Coast Swing is a partner dance with roots and influences stemming from the Lindy Hop. In the 1940s there were a myriad of regional styles of swing being danced across the country. According to many, Dean Collins, an integral swing dancer from the east coast, traveled to Hollywood to get into the movie business. While there, his style of dancing helped shape what would become known as the West Coast Swing. Although he takes no credit, there is an indisputable link to him and the history of the West Coast Swing.
During this period of the late 1940s, there were too many injuries from all the kicks and jumps performed in the jitterbug that it became banned from many dance halls all across the country. The West Coast Swing grew out of limiting the dancers’ floor space to a “slot.” There is even a rumor that the dance became very popular in Hollywood because the wide-angle lens had not been invented yet.
In 1988 the West Coast Swing became the official state dance of California. Over the years, the dance has continued to be influenced by the Hustle, Country Western, and Shag to make it the dance that we know today.
The West Coast Swing is a fun and interpretive dance that is characterized by flashy spins, taps and shuffles, and the push-pull connection between partners. Ranging from warm and slinky to funky with abandon, West Coast is one of the most spontaneous, improvisational dances. The music can range from jazz, to rhythm and blues, to top 40 or country.
Ready to give the dance a try? Our Thursday night monthly series class at 8:15 pm is now West Coast Swing and we would love to see you there! Give us a call at the studio for more information!