What is Swing Dancing?laura.h.knight@gmail.com

What is Swing dancing?

Google “Swing” and you’ll get lots of different results. Most know it as a musical genre, which had its heyday from 1935 to 1946, when big band swing music was the most popular in the United States. But this jazzy, joyous music has been around since the late 1920s and, with musicians today giving it a modern twist, it’s truly back with a vengeance.
Swing dancing encompasses a varied range of styles danced to that same music — they’re even often mixed on the dance floor. The mother of Swing dances is the Lindy Hop, nicknamed the Jitterbug for it bouncy, infectious energy. This is the core dance taught by Swing Patrol, but we also pay heed to other vintage dances from the Swing family such as Balboa, Charleston, Blues and Solo Jazz.

What is Lindy Hop?

Look to the dance floors of Harlem in the 1920s and 1930s for a clue to this partnered dance’s origins. Immortalised in classic Hollywood films, Lindy Hop is best known for its spectacular aerials and its fluid signature move, the swing-out. It’s an exuberant, high-energy dance, at its most inventive and joyful on the social dance floor.

What is Balboa?

Danced in a close embrace, Balboa was California’s answer to the overcrowded dance floors of the 1930s. In its purest form, it’s a contained and elegant dance, perfect for tackling fast tempos without breaking into (too much of) a sweat.

What is Charleston?

The iconic dance of the Golden Twenties, the Charleston evolved from African-American dances. It grew and changed with the music, through the hot jazz of the 1920s to the swinging rhythms of the 1940s. Today, partnered Charleston is often combined with Lindy Hop steps, but it can also be danced solo, its simple basic step making it easy to style up and improvise.

What is Blues?

Sultry, fluid and smooth, Blues dance developed in juke joints and underground house parties: a living, expressive embodiment of this soulful music. Rooted in history, it’s evolved from African rhythms and movements — but it’s also a thoroughly modern dance growing in popularity all over the world.