Learn About the
Swing
An American Rhythm Dance
(Jive - International Latin)

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The Swing is truly an American dance.  It first appeared in the 1920's in commemoration of Lindbergh's solo flight across the ocean.  During the 1930's it was part of the Swing era and was known as the Jitterbug and took on a very acrobatic appearance.  The American GIs introduced the swing to the European stage.  The English adapted the Jive from the Swing, and it is danced today to very fast music.

The Swing is one of the most versatile of all of the dances.  The music expresses a high energy and started with some of the greats like Benny Goodman, Cab Calloway, Tommy Dorsey and so many other greats.  Today Swing music can be Rock-n-Roll, Top 40, Country, Beach, the old and the new Big Band sound. 

The different styles of music have lead to different styles of the Swing.  The big band style supports the East Coast Swing, Jitterbug, Lindy, and Jive.  Rock and country sounds encourage the East Coast Swing and the West Coast Swing.   Beach music makes the Shag the dance of choice.  In the competition world the East Coast Swing is danced in the American Style heats and the Jive is danced in the International style.

 

Character: 

Fast, fun. bouncy and  rhythmical, rig & hip actions are essential.

1. Rocking Actions, Triple Actions, Walking Steps
2. Elevated knee actions “up” between small steps
3. Subtle use of Rib-Cage action; Cuban Motion on Rock Steps, end of Triples
4. American Swing - Shuffling and Casual, Jive - Bouncy and Spirited
5. Maximize energy going down into floor not across floor.
6. Fast and Fun, "Totally Let Go"
 

American Footwork:

Chasses (Triple) Actions are:    
                    Ball/Flat  - Ball  -  Ball/Flat

Rocking Actions:
                   *Bal/Flat      Ball/Flat

 

Note 1.  * "Back" Rocking  the heel may or may not lower depending on the speed of the music.

Note 2.  When dancing Lindy Turns (Whips) the right "hooking" foot should be placed with weight on the ball of  the foot only.  

Note 3.  Footwork in Jive is “Balls” of feet due to the fast speed

 

Tempo: 

American: 28 - 48 MPM
Int. Jive:  44 - 46

Count:

American patterns utilize either 6 or 8 counts for most basics.

1  - a -  2 ,   3 - a - 4 ,    5,  6

3/4 1/4  1    3/4 1/4  1     1   1
 
1  - a -  2 ,   3,  4     5  - a -  6,   7, 8
3/4 1/4  1     1  1    3/4 1/4  1     1  1
 
Note 1.  There are two main rhythmical variations in the basic East Coast Swing, the Basic and Lindy rhythm.  The Basic rhythm uses 6 beats for one basic, while the Lindy rhythm use 8. There are other counts that can be used with advanced elements.
 

Note 2.  There are three main counts used in the Swing. Stepping on the __ .

 1. Single Rhythm                 
         1 - 2,         3 - 4,       5         6
         Slow         Slow      Quick  Quick
2.  Double Rhythm             
          1        2,      3       4,      5      6
        Tap   Step    Tap   Step  Rock Step
3.  Triple Rhythm               
          1    a    2,     3   a    4,     5  -  6

 
This content is intended as general information and should not be used in lieu of an actual dance class to learn the aforementioned dance.

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