East Coast Swing has been around for quite some time because of its immense popularity. It started in the 1940s and has evolved over the years to what it is now, giving it longevity and adaptability. East Coast Swing dancing has a count and step progression that lends itself to a type of music that is catchy and has a contagious beat, which also contributes to its appeal. At Fred Astaire Dance Studio of Durham, we offer full instruction for East Coast Swing Dance classes & lessons for people interested in learning this very popular type of dance!
At parties, wedding receptions, and any other function where dancing is involved, you’ll see people flock to the dance floor to do the East Coast Swing when music with the appropriate beat is played! You can pair it with the Foxtrot, the Rhumba, or the Cha-Cha. But, however you adapt it, this dance is a must-have in your social dance roster!
The History of East Coast Swing Dance
Eastern Swing Dance falls in the larger category of Swing Dance. Swing dance began during (you guessed it!) the “swing” era of the late 1930s and 1940s. After the bleak years of the Great Depression, the world began to recover and people found that they needed some fun in their lives. Swing dance came to the rescue!
East Coast Swing essentially developed from the Lindy Hop around 1928. The Lindy Hop started in Harlem in jazz clubs and evolved as jazz changed. The best known forms of East Coast swing moves included the Black Bottom, the Charleston, and the Shag. In the early 1940s, these forms became what was called the Lindy.
The Lindy was first danced with a slight shuffling movement, as a modified box step. The shuffling movement of the original Lindy can be likened to today’s single rhythm in Swing. As the shuffling, or single rhythm developed, it progressed into both the double- and triple-time Lindy. Today all three styles form the basis of good Swing dancing.
Changes to East Coast Swing Moves & Steps Over the Years
Lindy Hop was fast and intricate to match the music by the big bands of the 1940s. Over time, the bands got smaller and the dancing evolved with the music. The next 30 years rebranded the swing dance to dances like the Jitterbug, Boogie-Woogie,Jive, and Rock-and-Roll.
For many years, the better establishments frowned upon the wilder forms of Swing dancing. The acrobatics involved would limit the number of people who could dance at one time. But it is not impossible to do fine dancing in a relatively small area. East Coast Swing adapted its form to accommodate smaller spaces and fewer movements.
The dance lost some popularity in the 1960s and 1970s because of the prevalence of electric rock bands but saw a resurgence in the 1980s. Dancing with a partner became prominent again and the popularity of the dance skyrocketed in the 1990s. Such bands as the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy revived Swing dancing in the late 1990s to the early 2000’s.
East Coast Swing Today
Today East Coast Swing Dancing is one of the most popular types of dance. East Coast Swing can be referred to by many different names in different regions of the United States and the World. It has alternatively been called Eastern Swing, Jitterbug, American Swing, East Coast Lindy, Lindy (not to be confused with Lindy Hop), and Triple Swing. Other variants of East Coast Swing that use altered footwork forms are known as Single Swing or “Single-step Swing” (where the triple step is replaced by a single step forming a slow, slow, quick, quick rhythm common to Foxtrot), and Double Swing (using a tap-step footwork pattern). Our East Coast Swing Dance classes are a perfect way for you to learn this dance.
Characteristics of East Coast Swing Steps
In all parts of the country one can find dancers adding their own changes to style and interpretations. In order to survive, all dances must be built up from a firm basic movement so that ad-libbing and complete freedom of expression can be interpreted into the dance. East Coast Swing steps involve a spot dance that does not move along the line of dance. Free interpretation is a characteristic of the dance style, often using single, double or triple rhythms. Highlights of the Swing include a relaxed shuffling movement and use of upper body sway.
East Coast Swing has these characteristics:
- A rhythm dance with both 6-and 8-beat patterns
- A stationary dance where dancers stay in the same spot on the floor
- Dancers move in circular movements
- Two “triple steps” and one “rock step”
- Has a mix of turns and wraps
- Highlights the 2 and 4 beats
- Energetic with bounce
Reasons to Take East Coast Swing Classes
There are many reasons to learn the East Coast Swing Dance. Here are just a few:
- Great exercise
- Good for bones and joints
- A way to meet new people
- Improves balance
- Improves memory
- Lifts your mood
- It’s fun!
Book into our East Coast Swing Classes Today!
If you’re looking for something new to try, if you love music, if you like to move around to a beat, you should call us at (919) 489-4313 to learn more about our East Coast Swing Dance classes! If you’re new to our studio we offer we offer new student specials! Together, we can get you moving in an East Coast Swing Dance kind of way!