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Articles of Interest

Articles of Interest » American Swing

American Swing

Author:
Ron Montez (Ron Montez is one of the most respected personalities in the Dance world. A seven time undefeated United States Professional Latin Champion.)

American Swing

American Swing comes from a great tradition starting with the Jitterbug and the Lindy Hop and all of its varying forms of swing. In today's dance we have East Coast and West Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug and the Jive which comes from Europe.

American Swing is often referred to as the East Coast Swing or Triple Swing. One of the best parts of this dance is that it's really fun; it's a great dance for beginners to be exposed to, and for them to begin with. The second is the music—stimulating, with popular hits from the movies, and the old classic big band. American Swing can be danced to big band, pop, country, blues, rock and roll and the list goes on. It has a great music source to draw from—a very versatile dance.

The trick is to relate the type of dancing you're doing to the music stylistically. If the music has a hoppy bouncy feel like in big band or pop, then there's some bounce in your action. For the heavy down beat blues, the dance is danced flat and earthy into the floor strongly.

Rock and roll is very varied. It can be faster, slower— it fills the whole spectrum. You can "rock around the clock", or heavy and slow to AC/DC. You just have to feel it because of the variety of styles.

An important thing to remember is that Swing is related but quite different from jive. Jive is danced to very fast music, technique is highly standardized. It's very vertical in nature, with a high knee action, and buoyancy in the feet and ankles. Swing may have a slight bounce in the knees but relies more on connection (feeling the partner in the connecting hand and dance frames—a hanging back, pressure forward, centrifugal force, and counter balance) and body isolation and lead and follow than jive. I recommend highly that people learn swing in the beginning because it's a great fun dance. You won't be disappointed. In all my years of teaching, I've always enjoyed teaching swing because it's so well received.