Back to top

West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing is a partner dance with roots in the Lindy Hop. It is characterized by an elastic look that results from its extension-compression technique of partner connection and is danced primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. The dance allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together, putting West Coast Swing in a short list of dances that emphasize improvisation.

Typically the follower walks into new patterns traveling forward on counts "1" and "2" of each basic pattern, rather than rocking back. Traditional figures include 6-count and 8-count patterns of one of the four basic varieties: (1) Starter Step, (2) Side Pass, (3) Push Break / Sugar Push, (4) Whip.

Alternatively the basic patterns in West Coast Swing are defined as: Sugar Push; Left Side Pass; Right Side Pass; Tuck Turn; and Whip. Virtually all other moves in West Coast Swing are variations of these basic patterns.

The Anchor Step is a common ending pattern of many West Coast Swing figures.

The origins of the West Coast Swing are in the Lindy Hop. In a 1947 book, Arthur Murray wrote, "There are hundreds of regional dances of the Jitterbug type. Each section of the country seems to have a variation of its own."

Dean Collins, who arrived in the Los Angeles area around 1937, was influential in developing the style of swing dance on the West Coast of the United States as both a performer and teacher. When his wife, Mary Collins, was asked if Dean was responsible for the emergence of the dance, however, she said that Dean insisted there were "only two kinds of swing dance—good and bad". According to one of his former students, a member of his last dance troupe, Collins himself said that he had nothing to do with the West Coast Swing style.

Laure Haile, an Arthur Murray National Dance Director documented swing dancing in Los Angeles and used the name "Western Swing".

Western swing, country boogie, and, with a smaller audience, jump blues were popular on the West Coast throughout the 1940s and into the 1950s when they were renamed and marketed as rock and roll in 1954. Dancers danced "a 'swingier' more smooth and subdued" form of jitterbug to Western swing music.

West Coast Swing (still known as Western Swing at that time) is the basis for the dancing in the rehearsal scene in Hot Rod Gang (1958). Music is supplied by rockabilly musician Gene Vincent's "Dance to the Bop".

Murray taught Western Swing beginning from a closed position and the possibility of dancing single, double, or triple rhythm. After "Throwout" patterns began with the woman "walking in" and the man doing a "rock step", or step together for counts one and two. Although the dance remained basically the same, the Golden State Dance Teachers Association (GSDTA) began teaching from the walk steps, counts 1 and 2. It replaced Laure Haile's Coaster Step with an "Anchor Step" around 1961.

"West Coast swing" as a synonym for "Western swing" appears in a 1961 dance book, and was used in an advertisement by Skippy Blair in 1962 but wasn't incorporated into mainstream swing circles until the late 1960s.

Blair credits Jim Bannister, editor of the Herald American newspaper in Downey, California, for suggesting the name West Coast Swing.

In her 1994 book Dance Terminology Notebook, Blair wrote she would "tell anyone who would listen, that Western really meant West Coast. One of the students made an asture observation and asked, 'Then why don't you say that?'"

When the Golden West Ballroom, in Norwalk, California, changed from Country to Ballroom dancing, the dance most advertised on the Marquee was West Coast Swing.

"Beginning with the 1967 opening of the Golden West Ballroom in Norwalk, California, and through 1980, West Coast Swing was on the marquee as the dance taught every Wednesday and Friday night."

New Era in the Presentation of Country Music Showplace to Feature Top Singing Stars. Author: Ron Heinzel. Los Angeles Times. Date: December 1, 1963 Start Page: OCA2 Pages: 2 Section: Orange County "On the night of December 5 the doors will swing open at the Golden West Auditorium to mark the realization of a dream and an era in the presentation of music Americana.

Golden West Auditorium, a new country music show place located at 12400 Studebaker Road at Imperial Highway, Norwalk, Calif., celebrated its formal opening with a press party embracing cocktails, lunch and a fashion show December 2. The new country music auditorium is the realization of an idea nurtured some five years ago by businessman Olen S. Thidedeau, who vowed to give Southern California a country music show place second to none. Billboard December 14, 1963 page 20

Western Swing was documented in the 1971 edition of the "Encyclopedia of Social Dance". Patterns began with the woman stepping forward twice, but described the "Coaster Step" with a forward step as the last step of the 2nd triple. The one song that was listed for this dance was "Comin' On" by Bill Black's Combo (1964 Hi #2072). As late as 1978, the term "Western Swing" was common usage among Chain and Independent Studios to describe "slotted swing".

Circa 1978 "California Swing" was yet another name for West Coast Swing, albeit with styling that was "considered more UP, with a more Contemporary flavor." By 1978 GSDTA had "some 200 or more patterns and variations" for West Coast Swing."

In 1988, West Coast Swing was pronounced the Official State Dance of California.

Source: Wikipedia

West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing is one of the most versatile social dances. It can be danced to country music, blues, jazz, modern dance music, and R & B. Crossing so many genres of music and fun to dance to all tempos of music, you will most definitely get to use this dance no matter where you are going. During this class we work on both leaders and followers on how to connect to each other. Leaders learn how to properly suggest the patterns they would like to dance and followers learn how to react and respond quickly to these suggestions.

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Jul 08, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jul 15, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jul 22, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jul 29, 2019 - 8pm

West Coast Swing

Our all new summer series of West Coast Swing begins in June! You can drop into this class and pay as you go or sign up for 4 consecutive sessions and receive a discounted rate. During this class we will be focusing on strong connection between the leader and follower, and musicality. Learning to use the music to help enhance your dancing is a big part of the West Coast Swing. We will learn some great new patterns and have a ton of fun!

Price: $20 drop in rate, $70 for a 4 week cycle

Time: 8pm

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Jun 10, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jun 17, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jun 24, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jul 01, 2019 - 8pm

West Coast Swing

Swing into March with our all NEW West Coast Swing group class. This dance is one of the most versatile social dances. You can dance it to many styles of music including blues, pop, and country. This is an intermediate/advanced level class and you need to have strong working knowledge of this dance or any other style of swing dances. We will be focusing on strong connection, turning, footwork and solid technique.

Price: $70pp for all 4 weeks of class.

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Mar 04, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Mar 11, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Mar 18, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Mar 25, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 01, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 08, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 15, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 22, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 29, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, May 06, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, May 13, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, May 20, 2019 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jun 03, 2019 - 8pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

West Coast Swing

Join us for this all levels super fun dance class! West Coast Swing is a remarkably versatile dance, allowing you to dance to many different genres of music. To name a few; R&B, country, blues, pop music and more. While this class isn't for beginners it is a great class for anyone who have some knowledge of partner dancing under their belt. We will progress through the 4 weeks starting with fundamentals of this dance and moving through some more advanced patterns, styling and technique. Become a better leader and follower and learn a little bit about music while you're at it!

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Jun 11, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jun 18, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jun 25, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, Jul 02, 2018 - 8pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

All levels West Coast Swing

Join us for this all levels super fun dance class! West Coast Swing is a remarkably versatile dance, allowing you to dance to many different genres of music. To name a few; R&B, country, blues, pop music and more. While this class isn't for beginners it is a great class for anyone who some knowledge of partner dancing under their belt. We will progress through the 4 weeks starting with fundamentals of this dance and moving through some more advanced patterns, styling and technique. Become a better leader and follower and learn a little bit about music while you're at it!

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

All levels West Coast Swing

  • Mon, May 07, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, May 14, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, May 21, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, May 28, 2018 - 8pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

West Coast Swing

Join us for this all levels super fun dance class! West Coast Swing is a remarkably versatile dance, allowing you to dance to many different genres of music. To name a few; R&B, country, blues, pop music and more. While this class isn't for beginners it is a great class for anyone who some knowledge of partner dancing under their belt. We will progress through the 4 weeks starting with fundamentals of this dance and moving through some more advanced patterns, styling and technique. Become a better leader and follower and learn a little bit about music while you're at it!

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Apr 09, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 16, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 23, 2018 - 8pm
  • Mon, Apr 30, 2018 - 8pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

West Coast Swing

The smoothest swing of them all. West Coast Swing can be used to a variety of music including, Country, R & B, hip-hop, and soul. During this class will will be focusing on musicality, different rhythms and timing. Learn some fun new moves and improve your dancing during this 4 week course.

This is an intermediate level class. A good foundation in the basics of West Coast or East Coast Swing is a must. Not sure if this is the right class for you? Call us at 516-241-3179 to set up a introductory private lesson with consultation to get started.

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Mar 06, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Mar 13, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Mar 20, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Mar 27, 2017 - 9pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

West Coast Swing

The smoothest swing of them all. West Coast Swing can be used to a variety of music including, Country, R & B, hip-hop, and soul. During this class will will be focusing on musicality, different rhythms and timing. Learn some fun new moves and improve your dancing during this 4 week course.

This is an intermediate level class. A good foundation in the basics of West Coast or East Coast Swing is a must. Not sure if this is the right class for you? Call us at 516-241-3179 to set up a introductory private lesson with consultation to get started.

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Feb 06, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Feb 13, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Feb 20, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Feb 27, 2017 - 9pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

West Coast Swing

The smoothest swing of them all. West Coast Swing can be used to a variety of music including, Country, R & B, hip-hop, and soul. During this class will will be focusing on musicality, different rhythms and timing. Learn some fun new moves and improve your dancing during this 4 week course.

Class begins Monday December 5th. Price is $70pp for all 4 weeks of class.

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Jan 09, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Jan 16, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Jan 23, 2017 - 9pm
  • Mon, Jan 30, 2017 - 9pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

West Coast Swing

The smoothest swing of them all. West Coast Swing can be used to a variety of music including, Country, R & B, hip-hop, and soul. During this class will will be focusing on musicality, different rhythms and timing. Learn some fun new moves and improve your dancing during this 4 week course.

Class begins Monday December 5th. Price is $70pp for all 4 weeks of class.

Blog Roll Image: 
$20.00

West Coast Swing

  • Mon, Dec 05, 2016 - 9pm
  • Mon, Dec 12, 2016 - 9pm
  • Mon, Dec 19, 2016 - 9pm
  • Mon, Dec 26, 2016 - 9pm

This group class already completed. View upcoming events on the Calendar.

Pages

New Student Introductory Offer!

Our New Student Special makes it easy to see if Lisa Sparkles Ballroom & Latin Dance Studio is the right studio for you.

View Offer

Subscribe to RSS - West Coast Swing