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What's the difference between east and west coast swing??
By tinydancer0417 Comments: 301, member since Sun Nov 25, 2007
On Sun Nov 30, 2008 05:56 PM

My husband and I are getting ready to take ballroom. we want to do swing and jive and anything fast, but we don't know the difference between east and west coast. Help here??

5 Replies to What's the difference between east and west coast swing??

re: What's the difference between east and west coast swing??
By Malaikamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1923, member since Thu Jul 11, 2002
On Wed Dec 03, 2008 02:28 AM
Edited by Malaika (32698) on 2008-12-03 02:29:59 Clarification!
Edited by Odessa (22571) on 2008-12-03 15:54:01 Changed your link, as requested. Hope that's the right one!
Both are 6 count dances. East Coast (also known as jitterbug) is what swing originated as. The basic step is Rock Step (1 2) Step (3 4) Step (5 6). East Coast is typically done to big band and jazz music - if you go out somewhere with a big swing and lindy hop scene, this is what people generally do. Here's a good video of East Coast. It's a little repetitive, which is why ...

From East Coast, you can go very easily into doing lindy hop, which is an 8 count dance. The basic step for Lindy is Rock Step (1 2) triple step (3 and 4) Rock Step (5 6) triple step (7 and 8). Lindy is more "advanced" than basic East Coast, and is a lot of fun. Here's a good lindy hop video - it's really long because it's from a Jack & Jill competition. All these people haven't danced together before, and they're just making it up as they go along :)

Then you have West Coast Swing and Jive, which are the ballroom's way of codifying east coast and Lindy. I don't do WCS or Jive (I'm a lindy hopper!), so I can't tell you much about the actual dances but from what I understand, West Coast is all done in a slot, generally not to traditional swing music. If you go out ballroom dancing, this is what everyone will do. Here's a West Coast video, and here's a Jive video.

When I watch people do Jive, I want to tell them to bend their knees and get into the floor! But there are lots of WCSwingers who do East Coast and Lindy, and vice versa.

If you are interested in learning East Coast or Lindy and happen to live in a town with college students, check out the school and see if they have a swing dancing club. I'm president of the swing club at my school, and we have free weekly practices open to folks from the community, free monthly dances with lots and lots of folks from the swing scene in the area, and we do lessons once or twice a semester.
re: What's the difference between east and west coast swing??
By dancesmith Comments: 30, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Thu Dec 04, 2008 09:20 AM
To expand on West Coast a little, it is more upright and usually somewhat slower than East Coast. For East Coast, think big band and early fast rock. For West Coast, more like early slow rock and rhythm & blues, even country. In social dancing, you might see people even mixing the styles.

For the record, like Malaika, I'm a dedicated lindy hopper. But my recommendation is to find out what's danced socially the most in your community. Classes are fine but the real fun is actually going out and dancing. Some communities have dances that seem to be oriented more to one or the other. Better yet, if both are available, visit both and see which one "fits" you the best. Regardless of what you might choose to learn in a class, it's the social dancing that will keep you and your husband dancing long-term.
re: What's the difference between east and west coast swing??
By Malaikamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1923, member since Thu Jul 11, 2002
On Thu Dec 04, 2008 09:53 AM
^ Good call. Most cities with big swing dancing networks of either kind will have a website with a calendar. Just look it up on google and it should pop up.
re: What's the difference between east and west coast swing??
By dance_marketing Comments: 21, member since Wed Dec 17, 2008
On Thu Dec 18, 2008 12:31 PM
Any type of Swing dance you choose is going to be a blast. West Coast Swing and Jive are completely different though. I happen to be a west coast swing dancer. In the early 90's West Coast used to be pretty fast, however it has evolved into a much slower, sexy dance today. If you want something really fast, I would stick to Lindy or Jive.
re: What's the difference between east and west coast swing??
By Danztarmember has saluted, click to view salute photos Comments: 4199, member since Tue Sep 16, 2003
On Tue Dec 23, 2008 04:21 AM
I've done a little of both styles, under the country dance umbrella so what I've done may differ a little from the main types, I don't really know! East Coast Swing is generally pretty fast and energetic, with lots of rock steps and chasse/shuffle steps. West Coast Swing is slower and more sensual almost, dances to just about anything in my experience!
The first poster gave some really good advice.
Good luck with your ballroom dancing :)

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