This American street dance evolved over the past half-century from the more commonly known retro-style of Swing, the Lindy Hop.Unlike Lindy Hop, which is preserved as a historical dance and sticks to the traditional Big Band and Jazz music of the 1920's-1950's, West Coast Swing is a living dance, still evolving. It follows the music trends of each decade, and adjusts to accommodate new dance styles. In the 1970s it adopted some of the stylings of Disco and the Hustle. Now, it can be danced to most of the music played on the radio today, and incorporates many dance elements of Hip Hop and Jazz. This makes it extermely appropriate for dancing in a night club. Focused on improvisation and musical interpretation, it is the most versatile and free partner dance in existence. West Coast Swing has been enjoyed by thousands of dancers of all ages across the US and Canada for decades, but predominantly "underground". But with all the media attention developing from movies and tv shows such as "Dancing with the Stars" and "So You Think You Can Dance", all forms of partner dancing are expected to become more popular. New dancers will try the Ballroom dances, maybe dabble in Salsa, but when they find West Coast Swing, they'll fall in love.

Versatility & Practicality

It can be done slow and sexy, smooth and sophisticated, or fast and rhythmically to most types of music, including Top40, R'n'B, classic Swing, Jazz, Funk, Blues, Pop, Country & Western and Hip Hop. People of all ages can use it anywhere, anytime, to any kind of music. You can dance it in a Club, at a wedding, or in a restaurant and have the staff tip you for entertaining their guests!

 

Relevance to this generation

West Coast Swing adopts the current music, fashion, and movement trends of the times. Right now we dance to mostly Top40 and contemporary R&B. Just as "classic" radio hits are revered and cherished, many dancers also enjoy dancing to old school funk, 60's, and classic Blues. Since Hip Hop and Jazz are in the dance mainstream, WCS has adopted much of the same movement concepts. Forget high heels and ballgowns - "Westies" dress the same as if they were headed to the Bar, and the rule is dress to impress or at least get attention, but always be comfortable. West Coast swing is the smoothest, funkiest and most modern form of partner dancing in existence. It has been featured on Star Search, 30 Seconds to Fame, and So You Think You Can Dance. Like Salsa, it is a "street" dance - you can find it all over the city, in the studios and in the clubs. Imagine dancing in the club WITH A PARTNER!

 


 

 
 

Freedom & Expression

WCS is the most free and expressive partner dance in existence. It's dynamic, sexy and playful. Improvisation and spontenaeity are highly encouraged and desirable. People love West Coast because it's like being on a smooth roller-coaster ride and once the basic patterns are learned, many "surprises" can be added. You may find you sometimes even surprise yourself when dancing by spontaneously inventing new steps and patterns!

 

Equality

There is also no other partner dance where women have so much independence and decision making power. In all other partner dances, the man traditionally "leads" and the woman "follows". In West Coast, the dancing is a co-operative partnership between the dancers. Leads are mostly an "invitation", not an order, and at an advanced dancing level the lead can pass back and forward between the man and woman during the dance. Finally, along with Argentine Tango, it is the only other Western dance where it is "socially acceptable" for two men or two women to dance with each other (sexual orientation is irrelevant)

 

Accessibility

WCS is not the easiest dance to learn, but is definitely your best investment. You don't have to be amazingly skilled or spend thousands on lessons just to be good enough to have fun. Fun is accessible immediately, and it becomes more and more addictive the better you get at it. The other significant feature of the dance is the fact that advanced West Coasters can happily dance with beginners by entertaining themselves with syncopated footwork.

 

Constant Evolution

Once you learn the common basics, you are never criticized for your preferred version – there are no rules restricting patterns or style, just plain old physics and manners. In fact, dancers are encouraged to explore variations and create new moves themselves. There are over 5000 documented patterns and more are created and added every year. Thanks to the contributions of science, all dance forms have enjoyed an upgrade in ergonomics. Movement specialists have studied the dance and reformed teaching techniques to make West Coast Swing more efficient and enjoyable. But this information is slow in reaching remote areas. Like in technology, there are still outdated versions being taught and danced, but eventually they will give way to the more functional, more effective techniques and styles.

westcoastswingcanada003003.jpg westcoastswingcanadah.jpg westcoastswingcanadats.jpg westcoastswingcanadahtl.jpg westcoastswingcanadafaq.jpg westcoastswingcanadac.jpg westcoastswingcanadawi.jpg westcoastswingcanadah1.jpg
home  |  what is wcs  |  the history  |  the scene  |  how to learn  |  FAQ's  |  contact
 
copyright 2006-2009 Canadian Swing Champions  |  webmaster: Tessa Cunningham

Dance

Family

Origin

Difficulty

Music

Technique Emphasis

Style

Fashion

West

Coast

Swing

Descendant

of Lindy Hop

West Coast,

USA

1940's

 High

R&B, Blues,

Top40,

Funk, Jazz,

60's, 80's 

Linear, Elastic

Action-Reaction

Features the woman

Walks & Triple steps

Dynamic,         

Funky, Sexy,

Groove 

Dressy-Casual

What you would 

wear to a night

club 

Lindy

Hop

The original

Swing dance

New York

USA

1920's

 Medium-High

1920's-1950's

jazz, blues &

big band

Circular, Low

Leveraged

Original Jazz Footwork

Rocksteps & Triple steps

Fast, Casual,

Carefree,

Athletic

Some very

casual, Some

dress in

1940's theme

costumes

East Coast  Swing

Descendant

of Lindy Hop

North America

1950's

Low 

Old-time rock

& roll, big band, rockabilly

Diluted Lindy Hop

Lilt/Bounce

Rocksteps & Triple Steps

Bouncy,

Casual, Easy

Same as Lindy Hop

Shag

Cousin

of Lindy Hop

SouthEast

USA

1920's

 Medium

Beach Music,

Blues

Linear

Intricate footwork

Features the man

Rocksteps & Triples steps   

Smooth,

floating,

contained

Casual.

Sandals are

common 

Hand

Dancing

Decendant

of Lindy Hop

NorthEast

USA

1950's

 Medium

R&B, Funk,

Blues

Linear, Body Isolations

Tandem movements

Spins & Hand Changes

Funky, Soulful,

Fast, Sexy

Same as WCS 

 Jive

Descendant

of Lindy Hop

North America

1950's

 High

Big Band,

Rockabilly

Circular, High Knees

Vertical pulse

Rocksteps & Triple steps

Bouncy, Fast

Precise,

Aggressive

More dressy

More ladies wear  

skirts & heels 

Ceroc/

Modern

Jive

Descendant

of Lindy Hop

France, UK

1980's

 Low

Pop, Dance,

R&B

Circular

Single Steps

Simple Patterns

Fast, Smooth,

Dips & Tricks 

Same as WCS 

Salsa

Latin Street

dance

Central/South

America.

Current form:

1960's

 Low

Latin, Mambo,

Salsa

Circular

Cuban Motion (hips)

Triple Steps 

Spins & Hand changes

Fast, Sexy,

Dips & Tricks 

Dressy-Casual

More ladies wear 

skirts & heels 

Country

Western

Collection of

borrowed

dances 

North America

1980's

depends on

the dance

Country

Western

Patterns and lines,

less on musical

interpretation & groove

Cute, Sharper,

Relaxed 

Some casual,

some dress in

Western attire 

Blues

Cousin of Lindy Hop

America 1900s

 (debatable)

Low

Slow Blues,

 Soul, Funk, Jazz

Known as the

Lindy Hopper’s

slow dance.

Lead-follow focused.

Unregimented.

Some vintage movement.

 Controversial.

Visceral,

dynamic,

slow, musical.

Very casual

Zouk

South American

 Street dance

Central,

South America

Low

Lambada,

 Reggae,

 R&B

Circular.

Spins and turns

Body rolling and

 hair/head rolling.

Latin, slow,

 sensual,

 relaxed.

Like Salsa