See also the Lindy and Modern Jive pages.

Swing Web sites

Difference between kinds of swing


The precise origins of swing are not clear. In the 1910s there was a dance called the Texas Tommy, that according to Craig Hutchinson was the precursor of it all. After that, there is the Lindy Hop which originated in the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. The name refers to Charles Lindbergh's "hop" across the ocean in 1927. From this evolved the Jitterbug. This name appears in a Cab Calloway song of the early 1930s. Lindy and Jitterbug evolved into East Coast Swing and Jive. Where exactly West Coast Swing became a separate dance is not exactly clear, but happened somewhere in the 1940s. Skippy Blair was teaching what was essentially WCS (albeit called Western Swing) in the 50s.

East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing

These are the most popular types of swing. East Coast Swing has a rotating character, where the couple has no fixed relation to the room. In West Coast Swing the follower stays in a narrow slot on the floor; the leader stays in the center of the slot and steps out of the way to let the follower pass. Additionally, in WCS it is more common to have eight-count (or even longer) moves than ECS. (VE)

An article about the difference between east and west coast swing: http://www.midtownswing.com/articleEASTvsWEST.html. A more general article about styles of swing: http://simon.cs.cornell.edu/Info/People/aswin/SwingDancing/swing_dance_styles.html.

Eastern Swing, East Coast Swing, Western Swing, West Coast Swing

Eastern Swing is occasionally used as a synonym for East Coast Swing. The name was originally used by the Arthur Murray studios. Western Swing was the name originally given in the late '40s to what is now called West Coast Swing. The name change came about to avoid confusion with country and western, in particular Western Swing, a style of music related to both country and jazz, which was popular under that name already in the '40s. (The star then was Bob Wills, current examples of Western Swing are Asleep at the Wheel.) (VE)

East Coast Swing, Lindy, Jitterbug, Jive

See section (5.7).

West Coast Swing, Whip, Push

An essay elsewhere.

St Louis Imperial Swing

In St Louis there are at least 9 Imperial Swing clubs there, many of which have regular lessons and are even bringing young teenagers into dancing. Imperial resembles a slotted triple swing and is of course closely related to WCS. It supposedly is named after the Imperial Club in N. St. Louis, which I think still exists but not as a swing club.

If one goes to a general dance in St. Louis, everybody does Imperial Swing. I've seen it to music for which I'd prefer cha-cha, hustle, WCS, ECS, and even once merengue. It may be accurate to say that "swing" refers to Imperial swing in St. Louis. (RL)

Step Dancing

This is an active dance in the Chicago area, similar to DC Hand Dancing. There's a mention of that fact in an article that appeared late last year in "U.S. News and World Report" magazine; see it at: http://www.usnews.com/usnews/issue/971222/22out1.htm.

DC Hand Dancing

National Hand Dance Association (email: NHDA97@AOL.COM; phone: 202-882-5002; postal mail: 1412 4th St., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024).

Swing Publications

For the West Coast SwingAmerica newsletter and a collection of articles see http://www.cyberatl.net/~mharvey/

Swing music

Here is the list of DJ Greg Parmerton.

Music used at Boogie By The Bay, 1996 and 1997.

Additionally, there are lists of swing songs in http://catalog.com/meyer/music.html and http://www.cs.cornell.edu/Info/People/aswin//SwingDancing/Music/cds.html and ftp://ftp.digex.net/pub/access/malak/wcssongs and http://family.values.net/dance/swing.D.txt.

Swing in the movies

There is a lot of swing in movies old and new. Most of it is Jitterbug / Lindy Hop. The following are not impossible to obtain:

Books about swing

Stearns: Jazz Dance.
(Publ in New York by Da Capo Press, 1994, ISBN: 0306805537) Updated with a new foreword & afterword by Brenda Bufalino. Includes bibliographical references, index and filmography (p. 403-427) by Ernest Smith. This is the "bible" of swing history. Originally published in New York by Macmillan, 1968.
It is an outstanding book for its time about the history of Jazz Dance but, because the Lindy Hop informants used by Stearns (Minns,James) were-- shall we say--" jivers" in the conversational sense, they pulled his leg on some history and simply distorted other. Other original Savoy Lindy Hoppers (both so-called "stars" and ordinary social dancers) have been trying to set the record straight but there is nothing else in a good, popular reading book. [Judy Pritchett]
Get this book from Amazon.

Norma Miller: Swingin' at the Savoy
Norma Miller is one of the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers who danced at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. It has some nice Pictures and some great information ,although it is about her personal bio at the Savoy and other dance spots she was in over the years, it is a little biased about Norma (understandably) and The role that she and the Hoppers played in the Making of popular Lindy Hop. It could have had more stories about the other dancers and places. It is however a major recomendation for any Swing Dancer/Fan.[Sonny Watson]
Get this book from Amazon

Simon Selmon: Let's Lindy

Other information

Various essays about swing, culled from Usenet.

This file is part of the FAQ list for the newsgroup rec.arts.dance. The FAQ list is being maintained by Victor Eijkhout (victor at eijkhout dot net, talk about vanity), who appreciates being sent additions or corrections on the material in this collection. Copyright 1994/5/6/7/8/9/2000 lies with the maintainer and the contributors of various parts.

Listen up: Victor did not write most of this stuff; he just collected it. So don't send him any dance questions.

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Last modified on: 2000, Friday April 21.