Swing is a lively, non-progressive partner dance that can be danced to a wide variety of music, from blues to rock & roll. Non-progressive means it's mostly performed in one spot, so it's very convenient on a crowded dance floor.
Swing is one of the most versatile partner dances you can learn - very social and beginner friendly. Easily adaptable to a wide range of tempos, it involves movements with lots of swinging, spinning and rhythmic, creative footwork.
There are many different styles of swing, the term actually refers to a group of dances that developed from the swing style of jazz music in the first half of the last century. There's Lindy Hop, Boogie-Woogie, Jitterbug, Shag, Charleston, West Coast and East Coast Swing, just to name a few. Each of these dances has its own distinct flavor.
One of the most popular and very suitable for beginners is the East Coast Swing. It's a bit more social and relaxed than other versions. It's also a formal ballroom dance and the easiest to learn. Perfect for beginners, which is why we'll focus on this version here. It will create a good foundation and is the base for other more complex versions.
East Coast Swing can be danced to a variety of music styles. If it's written in 4/4 time and has a tempo between 135-170 beats per minute, you can swing it.
To dance swing you'll need a partner, a sense of humor, and a bit of endurance. It may seem a bit intimidating at first, especially if you're watching those who really mastered it. But as with all things, you have to start with the basics. And the basics are easy. Once you learn the fundamentals, you'll be swinging in no time. Always remember, wear comfortable shoes. Now let's go swinging.
Basic steps (East Coast Swing)
Beginners usually start with East Coast Swing, because it is the easiest of all swing styles. Here we will show you the basic 6 count step for East Coast Swing.
East Coast Swing has a basic count of 1&2, 3&4, 5,6. It's known as a triple step swing. The basic pattern is triple step, triple step, and a rock step.
When you're starting out you can replace the triple step with a single step. In that case the pattern would be step, step, rock step or rock step, step, step, depending on how you start counting. The overall progression is, of course, the same.
The triple step is really not that difficult to master, it is performed in a chasse-like manner - side step, together, side step.
Instructions & Diagrams:
- 1&2: Triple step (chasse) to the left (left-right-left)
- 3&4: Triple step to the right (right-left-right)
- 5: Step backward with your left foot
- 6: Weight shifts to your right foot
Basic Steps For Women: The woman starts with her right foot.
- 1&2: Triple step (chasse) to the right (right-left-right)
- 3&4: Triple step to the left (left-right-left)
- 5: Step backward with your right foot
- 6: Weight shifts to your left foot
Remember, keep the steps small.
Now let's have some more fun, let's do some kicking:
Where to go next?
When you're ready for more fun, check out our recommended video lessons. Video is a great way to learn dancing.