Lifestyle

Swing

By Arthur Murray

 

Perhaps the most uniquely American of all dances, the Swing brings forth a buoyant carefree movement. It’s one of the dances that becomes contagious.

 

History:

The Lindy (Swing) picked up where the Charleston left off. It had “swing-outs”, “break-aways” and “shine-steps”. With the birth of “Swing” music in the mid 1930’s the Lindy climbed the social ladder. In August of 1935, at the Palomar Ballroom, bandleader Benny Goodman played a Fletcher Henderson arrangement of “Stompin’ at the Savoy”. The rest, as they say, is history. The dance craze swept the nation, and depending on where you lived, it was the Jitterbug, the Lindy Hop or the Swing. Since those days, each successive generation has “discovered” the fun of swing. This most uniquely American dance is enjoyed all over the world.

 

Music:

Swing, Jitterbug, Jive, Shag, Lindy Hop, etc are normally written in 2/4 or 4/4 time with the musical accents occurring on the second and fourth beats of a measure. Swing includes two general rhythms: Swing Rhtythm – 1,2,3 & 4, 5 & 6 or its equivalent; Lindy Rhythm – 1,2,3 & 4, 5,6,7 & 8 or it’s equivalent. Swing may be danced comfortably over a wide range of tempos.

 

Characteristics:

A side step or triple step (shuffle) followed by a rock step done to lively music is the fundamental pattern for this dance.

 

Teaching Elements:

  • Basics                Turns and position changes
  • Open Breaks    Fingertip lead & follow; arm control
  • Footwork          Weight changes in rotation
  • Maneuverability  Learn how to move comfortably in all directions
  • Swing Motions & Accents   Stress the use of beats to steps and body to music
  • Various timings                      Single, Double and triple timing as well as Lindy timing to adjust to different music tempos
  • Compare/Contrast                 Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, Foxtrot

 

Swing songs and artists include:

In The Mood – Glenn Miller

Rock around the Clock – Bill Haley and the Comets

Start me up – The Rolling Stones

Jump, Jive, An’ Wail – Louis Prima or the Brian Setzer Orchestra