West Coast Swing is a laid-back, improvisational, smooth and sultry dance done to a wide variety of slow-tempo music, including R&B, pop, blues, swing, jazz, and country. Our emphasis is on having fun and playing with the music, rather than wild, gyrating acrobatics.
WCS is the smoother, sexier version of the swing dance family. It's a highly versatile dance form, and we consider it our crowning jewel.
Blues & Street Dancing
Street dance, formally known as vernacular dance, refers to dance styles — regardless of country of origin — that evolved outside of dance studios in any available open space such as streets, dance parties, block parties, parks, school yards, raves, and nightclubs. They are often improvisational and social in nature, encouraging interaction and contact with spectators and other dancers. These dances are a part of the vernacular culture of the geographical area that they come from.
The type of Blues Dancing that we do is centered on very strong partner connection with the basis being pulsing weight changes. The current form of Blues actually evolved out of the Swing/Jazz partner dancing scene, though original Drag Blues Dancing is actually one of the parents to Swing and Jazz. The sense of a dance based on "walking" with deep connection also shares some similarities to Tango, though all three are distinct dances.
WHAT IS BLUES DANCING?
There are many definitions of Blues Dancing and blues music. I am primarily interested in the forms of music and dance that are occurring in the social partnered Blues dancing scene of today. This form of Blues has been exploding as a dance in its own right across North America and starting to hit the other continents.
West Coast Swing
NOTHING IS MORE REVEALING THAN
Lindy Hop is the original swing dance from the 1920s-40s, and it has enjoyed a healthy life ever since its beginning at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. Lindy Hop segues neatly into West Coast Swing for those who are interested (the dances have the same basics, but technical and styling differences based on the kind of music played). For those who have taken or are interested in taking East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop can be taken at the same time. Most of the steps in ECS are the simpler moves taken out of Lindy Hop and taught as a separate dance.
This class will launch you into the world of Lindy Hop. We cover all the basic moves and concepts that build up to the fancier aspects of the dance. We encourage you to take this class with Swing in order to get a jump on incorporating a variety of timings into your dancing. No dance experience required. Heck, no partner required. Just get on the dance floor.
Brazilian Zouk has captured the hearts of many people around the world and has recently started being called "the dance of love". With its strong, flowing movements, zouk attracts people who are generally strong and grounded, and looking for a dance that emphasizes interdependent partner interaction to create .
Zouk is known best for flowing motion and upper body movement (i.e. body waves), giving rise to the woman’s dramatic “hair flicks”. The dance is close with an intimate partner connection. Dancers often deviate from the general rhythm to allow for musical interpretation. The pace of the dance is generally slow and smooth.
The result is that it is beautiful to watch, and extremely fun to dance.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
We have often described Blues Dancing as similar to a slow swing dance where "hyperconnectedness" is the focus rather than "moves" or footwork. This is, of course, an oversimplification. Better than words, it might help to actually view some of my video examples.
Unlike Tango, Drag Blues is driven by a deep pulse found in the music, and this pulse drives the movement as well as the feel or spirit of the dance, which is much "earthier" than the "airy" and light feel of Tango.
WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE?
With that in mind, here are some samples of some of our favorite songs to hopefully give you an idea of the "Blues" that drives us. Some of it fits in the canonical definition of "Blues Music" and some of it just feels wonderful to Blues Dance to.
Buddy Johnson - You'll get them blues
Roy Eldridge & George Williams – I Remember Harlem
Jeffrey Wright – I'm Your Hoochie Coochie Man
The Gene Harris Quartet – Summertime
Muddy Waters – My Home Is in the Delta
Ray Charles – (Night Time Is) The Right Time
Buddy Guy - Stone Crazy
Mose Allison – That's Alright