Swing is a very energetic and unique dance. It can be simple or complex, but you can be assured it's always fun. There are many different styles or versions of it, each with distinct characteristics. As its name implies, it is known for its swings, lifts and spins that can sometimes be quite complicated. It's a quick dance that requires a considerable degree of physical fitness. In this article we'll take a quick look at its history.
The history of swing begins with the history of Lindy hop. Lindy hop originated in the late 1920s in New York and reached huge popularity in the 30s and 40s. It has its roots in the Charleston and Foxtrot and was danced to what was at a time called jazz music. Jazz music was also known as swing music and the dances danced to it became known as swing dances. Lindy hop got its name after Charles Lindbergh, the famous aviator. It is still danced today.
In general, the term swing refers to a group of dances that were developed in the 20s, 30s and 40s of the last century. With the rising popularity of jazz music many different forms of dances like Lindy hop evolved: Jitterbug, Balboa, East coast and West coast swing, Boogie-woogie, Collegiate Shag, St. Louis Shag, and Imperial Swing, just to name a few.
Although originally danced to the swing style of jazz music, you can dance to a wide variety of music styles, from country and pop to rock and roll. As music changed from the 1920s so did the dances. Rock and roll music brought, well, rock and roll. Rhythm & Blues music brought Imperial Swing, Carolina shag, and so on.
Like jazz, swing grew out of the African American communities. With the help of American soldiers during the WWII, it spread all around the world. Today, it is one of the most popular dances enjoyed worldwide.
Swing dance steps are really fun to learn. If you want to learn how to dance just for fun with friends, or to lose weight, or as a passion, you really can't lose with ballroom dancing. So what do we need to know about swing?
Anybody can dance swing. Anybody. Of course how well it is danced is largely dependent on the talent and the effort that is invested by the individual pursuing this course. However, if you are someone who has been told all his/her life that dancing is not for you, then it's time to let of that old stinkin' thinkin'. If you love to dance and you know you can do it then go ahead and let yourself loose on the dance floor!
Swing is fun but it can be a little challenging because it is danced with fast tempo music. In fact, one form of swing is actually called the Quick Step so yes, be prepared to be quick with your steps (pun intended). The trick is to keep your feet close together as much as the dance would allow so that you retain balance and you can keep up with the music and your dance partner.
Since swing is a partner dance, it would be a good idea that you get to know our partner well. You don't need to date them, but be comfortable enough with them so that there is believable chemistry between the both of you. You also need to trust and know each other enough to be able to anticipate their moves well. This is the secret of many great performances.
If you have been dancing for more than a few months, you will have to invest in a pair of ballroom dance shoes. These shoes are specifically constructed to support your feet the way it needs to be supported in dance. They can be a little expensive so take care of them. Don't use them walking around because you will wear them out easily. Keep them covered from dampness and store them in a separate bag when you bring them to dance class or competitions.
What do you look for in ballroom dance shoes? It is important that the heels are covered in suede. Leather heels can make you slip and rubber covered ones cling to hardwood floors (that most dance floors are made of) and this can injure you. Make sure your shoe is snug but not too tight, with straps that do not dig into your skin and cut your circulation.
Now, don't go overboard and buy every style of ballroom shoe and elaborate costume you can find. Build up your wardrobe gradually. I mean it's good to love ballroom but make sure you use your money well. Check out online ballroom dance videos to supplement your lessons. There are great tips and pointers you can pick up in some of these online classes.
Learn swing dance steps and give yourself license to have fun! You'll forget how you ever got on without swing dance steps all in your life.