The East Cost Swing is probably the most famous American folk dance. It originated from the Lindy Hop. Popular Swings include the Black Bottom, the Charleston and the Shag which were called in the early 1940s, ‘the Lindy’.
At first, the Lindy was danced with shuffling movement, as a modified box step. The slight shuffling movement from Lindy style 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.
Decades ago, a time where band greats such as Chic Webb, Duke Ellington and Benny Goodman were popular, Swing was danced in the Harlem section of NYC. The dance took on most of the today’s styling and popular steps.
For many years, the high-end establishments frowned upon the wilder forms of Swing dancing. The acrobatics involved in the dance would limit the number of people who could dance at one time. However, it is not impossible to do fine dancing in a relatively small area. So there was no question that Swing was here to stay. 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. Swing has these attributes. Such bands as the Brian Setzer Orchestra and the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy have revived Swing dancing in the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s.
The Swing is a spot dance. It does not move along the line of dance. The dance style has a free interpretation which uses often single, double or triple rhythms. Characteristics of the Swing include a relaxed shuffling as well as a use of the upper body sway.