West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing (WCS) emerged as a variation of Lindy Hop. It focuses on partner dancing and utilizes a distinctive elastic feel and look derived from its extension-compression technique.

West Coast Swing patterns often stay within an imaginary slot, a long thin rectangular area likened to a very tight hallway. This slot is created within the connection of the partners and will vary in length according to music of different tempos and tones. In social dancing, the slot serves two purposes; the first is to save space and allow as many dancers to share the floor as is possible and the second is to set boundaries between dancers so that no one runs in to one another.

The variability of West Coast Swing also means that it can be danced to music as slow as 60 beats per minute to well over beats of 180 per minute though tempos around 125 beats per minute seems to work well. This versatility can be traced to the origins of West Coast Swing and the diverse set of musical genres it used. Not only did it take from the swing music of the time, but also from rhythm and blues, jump blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country swing, and western boogie. This melting pot of music, and movements based on an openness which described well by Skippy Blair, “The only problem that exists in swing is when someone decides there is only one way to dance it. There is never only one way to do anything…try on different styles that you admire…until you find the comfortable one that fits you.”