Originally branching off from the traditional swing dance Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing is an an urban, smooth, and modern style of swing.
It has been featured on popular dance programs such as So You Think You Can Dance and Dancing With The Stars.
In fact, the winner of the 2nd season of So You Think You Can Dance is a champion West Coast Swing dancer, Benji Schwimmer.
It's a very versatile dance that allows for individual expression and works with so many different genres of music.
West Coast Swing has its roots in Blues music. It has, however, evolved to be a fun and expressive dance to so many other genres including R & B, Pop, Jazz, Hip hop, Rock, and pretty much anything that is in 4/4 time with a moderate tempo. (It’s not as fast as the old swing/Jitterbug or Jive music).
A main characteristic of the dance is its "slotted" format. Picture a small train track and the follower is travelling along that track.
The basic steps are made up of 6 and 8 count rhythms, which include an anchor step at the end of the slot. The dance has evolved considerably over the years and is extremely accepting and encouraging of individual expression.
The follower is many times given opportunities to embellish with her own style *within* what is being led. (I believe this has been one of the main contributors to its rise in popularity over the past 20 years).
West Coast Swing has always been difficult to describe in words so take a peek at a couple of the west coast swing dance videos included on this site. You can see its style in action and the massive smiles it puts on faces!