West Coast Swing

The West Coast Swing (sometimes abbreviated WCS) is a swing dance that developed from the Lindy Hop in California, influenced strongly by the dancer and choreographer Dean Collins.

West Coast Swing incorporates both the eight-beat and the six-beat rhythm of Lindy Hop, but it does not include the Charleston-derived components of Lindy Hop. It is typically danced to slower music and with a number of stylistic differences from Lindy Hop.

The most obviously distinctive feature of West Coast Swing in comparison with Lindy Hop is the linear nature of the dance: the follower's movements are restricted to an imaginary line on the floor, known as a slot. (These slots were allegedly developed as a way to pack more dancers into a crowded ballroom, by aligning the slots throughout the room.)

In addition, the timing of the leads in West Coast Swing is somewhat different to Lindy Hop. Most Lindy Hop moves begin with the punctuation of a rock step (say on beats 1 and 2), and then the leader starts to pull the follower into the relevant move after that (on beat 3). In West Coast Swing there is no rock step punctuation; the equivalent moment of the move, two steps on beats 1 and 2, is used for the follower to begin her travels. This means that the leader has to start his lead earlier than in Lindy Hop (on beat 1 rather than beat 3).

Finally, the slower tempos of music danced to in West Coast Swing allow for much more complicated footwork variations, which are a much more central part of the dance. Even an intermediate West Coast Swing dancer will be familiar with a battery of alternative footwork patterns for the core moves.

Show All Hide All