Dance Tidbits – Swing

Gjon Mili

If you think Lindy is just a girl’s name, think again.  Lindy (Hop) is the name of the original and most popular form of Swing dance.  All other versions of Swing dance were derived from the Lindy Hop with little twists and slight variations along the way.

The United States is the home of the swing, originating between 1920 to 1950’s. This partner dance (and my personal favorite dance) really comes alive when the rhythm and beat of the music are in syncopation with the moves of the dancers.

One of the first famous dance shows on television started in the 1950’s by a music lover named Dick Clark.  Dick Clark became legendary for his ability to produce music/awards shows throughout his life.  He died only a few years ago.  The show that started his whole career off was American Bandstand.  You could almost say that Dick Clark made Swing dance or Rock and Roll a household “dance.”  Every weekday you could turn the television on and see teenagers dancing the Swing.  It was then and there that I was inspired as a very young girl to dance forever!  It just seemed like so much fun to get up and dance because the music made you want to!  I could not get enough of the Swing.

When you examine Swing dance it was developed from a swing style of jazz with breakaway steps and even the Charleston.  If you are from Los Angeles, you’ll be happy to know that a type of Swing developed there from the Fox Trot, Jig Trot and Balboa.

Some of the more popular dances you will hear Swing called are:  Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, Jive, Rock and Roll, Jitterbug, Balboa and Shag.  In competitions you will be introduced to “Ballroom Swing” and “Jazz Dance Swing.”  Each Swing has it’s own dance steps that makes it slightly different and unique.

It is up to you and your partner to bring your own style and technique to the Swing to make it exciting.  Let the beat and rhythm of the music have a lot to do with the wow factor of your movements.  The more fun you look like your having combined with the beat, rhythm and tempo of the music, how good you lead and follow and even how “cool” your outfit may look, can be the winning combination for a perfect dance.  Make us believe we can’t get enough!

Happy dancing,



Shane Meuwissen is the Media Specialist for Fordney Foundation.  He is a former dance instructor who know works with his company Slow Motion Dance Videos capture the beauty of dancing. If you would like to learn more about Shane and his video work, visit his website