Swing dancing is a dancing style with Afro-American roots. The dance steps employ a lot of swings between partners, normally between a male and female. Experience dancers use lots of footwork and techniques to pull off an appropriate swing dance. The swing style comes from the swing style of jazz music from the early 1920s to late 50s.
There were lots of swing dance styles during the swing era and a lot of the steps we see today can be traced to a particular era. Majority of these steps have faded while some are still popular today. The style still common at dance halls and competitions includes Lindy Hop, Balboa, Charleston and Collegiate Shag.
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Majority of these swing dance steps can be traced to African American communities with a few exceptions like the Balboa which developed outside this community. Swing dancing not only has a swing feeling to it but also provides a lot of space for the dancers to add some spice and improvisation. You will find the dance steps in dance competitions, social gatherings, and parties.
It was not until the 20th century that people began to associate dance groups to the kind of swing dancing they perform. Nowadays, swing dancers are called jitterbugs. A true jitterbug should be able to perform effortlessly any of the swing dance steps lightly reviewed below.
Lindy Hop is the most popular type of swing dancing that was invented in New York and developed out of the Charleston dance. It is very energetic and provides plenty of room for jitterbuggers to improvise and mesmerize the audience. It can be performed with a slow jazz music or be electrically fast with breath-taking acrobatics.
Lindy Hop has come to be one of the most influential dance steps of the 20th century and judging by the way things are going it will stay for a very long time. Lindy Hop is the grandfather of most swing dance styles today, if performed rightly it can look really cool with slow music and has the ability to fire on when the tempo increases.
Youtube has a dance repertoire of both popular stars and individuals performing the Lindy Hop. For competitions, performances are made to learn strict routines while ordinary social Lindy Hop would just help you with a feel of the dance step.
Balboa Swing Dance
Developed from the other side of the country of California, the Balboa is a contemporary Lindy Hop Swing dance. Partners connect at chest level and express the music via intricate footwork. There is little room for improvisation and all the fancy spins of the Lindy Hop.
Balboa dates back to the 1930s and is rumored to have been derived from Charleston and Collegiate Shag steps. Bal-swing is a type of Balboa that bends Lindy Hop and Balboa dance routines. While partners can connect at the chest region, Bal-swing opens up and frees up space for more complex routines
Other swing dances include Collegiate Shag which was formulated on the crowded dance floors of college hip hops and the unpartnered Charleston swing dance.