Swing has a long and colorful history which has never been fully documented. It would make a great
doctoral dissertation for someone interested in dance.
Generically, Swing is a dance to Jazz, Rhythm and Blues, Swing, Rock and Roll, Hustle (Disco), Rock,
Country Western, and Funk music using any rhythm where the dancer's figures and variations emphasize
changing dance positions, using jazz movement and footwork, and moving randomly over the floor. The
styles of Swing that have evolved over the years have had many names depending on where one lives in the
U.S. The following definitions are provided in order to discuss the subject.
STYLE - DEFINITION
General A prefix to any style of Swing where the figures and variations begin and end in any position.
Open A prefix to any style of Swing where the figures and variations begin and end in open position.
Closed A prefix to any style of Swing where the figures and variations begin and end in closed position.
Single A prefix to any style of Swing when using only single steps on the odd rhythm units.
Delay A prefix to any style of Swing when using only delay steps on the odd rhythm units.
Double A prefix to any style of Swing when using only double steps on the even rhythm units.
Triple A prefix to any style of Swing when using only triple steps on the odd rhythm units.
THE LINDY FAMILY
Lindy Hop A style of Swing originally danced in a circular area to Jazz music using an Odd-Even-Odd-Even
rhythm (Lindy Rhythm) with nimble footed hops, skips, bumps, grinds, squats, and acrobatics.
Jitterbug A style of Swing originally danced in a circular area to Jazz music using an Odd-Odd-Even rhythm
(Jitterbug Rhythm) with nimble footed hops, skips, bumps, grinds, squats, and acrobatics.
Lindy A synthesis of Lindy Hop and Jitterbug danced in a circular area using both Lindy and Swing Rhythm
without the acrobatics.
Jive An upper-class English style of Lindy using Jitterbug or Lindy Rhythm with a an English Jive triple on
the units. (What is an English Jive triple? A triple with the step (change of weight) on the 1, a, and 2 beats,
where 1 and 2 represent whole beats, and a represents three quarters of a beat.)
Shag A style of Lindy with hops and skips, and with the leader and follower remaining predominately in
closed prom or closed open position.
Balboa A style of Shag predominately using Lindy Rhythm with the hops replaced with a slight body
bounce, slips, and/or slides remaining predominately in closed prom or closed open position.
Rock 'n' Roll A style of Jitterbug originally danced to Rock and Roll music using Jitterbug Rhythm with
delay steps on the odd units.
Bop A style of Jitterbug originally danced to Rock and Roll music using Swing Rhythm with delay-steps,
hops, and skips and avoiding acrobatics.
East Coast Swing Another name for Lindy.
Country Western Swing A style of Lindy danced to Country Western music which emphasizes moving
between double-hand-hold dance positions.
Cajun Swing A Louisiana Bayou style of Lindy danced to Cajun music.
Pony Swing A Country-Western style of Cajun Swing.
DC Hand Dancing A Washington, DC, style of Lindy which emphasizes moving between double-hand-hold
THE SWING FAMILY
Swing (Style) A synthesis of Lindy Hop and Jitterbug using Swing rhythm (Even-Odd-Odd) and Whip
rhythm (Even-Odd-Even-Odd) danced with the follower traveling back and forth on a fixed straight track
(slot) and the leader moving off and on the center of the track or trading places with the follower on the track.
Savoy Swing A style of Swing popular in the New York Savoy Ballroom in the 30s and 40s originally
danced to Swing music.
West Coast Swing (Hollywood Swing) A style of Swing emphasizing nimble footed rhythm breaks popular
in the California night clubs in the 30s and 40s and voted the California state dance in 1989.
Alcatraz A New Orleans, Louisiana, name for Swing.
Carolina Shag A North and South Carolina style of Swing (the South Carolina state dance) where the leader
and follower trade places on the track, and emphasize the man's nimble footed rhythm breaks.
DC Hand Dancing A Washington, DC, name for Swing emphasizing double-hand-hold positions on a
revolving track and a whip left.
Push A Dallas, Texas, style of Swing which emphasizes spinning the follower between basket, vine, halo,
and pin dance positions, using a double hand hold, push and pull leads (Double Resistance), and a rock
rhythm break with bumps.
Supreme Swing A Tulsa, Oklahoma, synthesis of West Coast Swing and Push.
Whip A Houston, Texas, style of Swing which emphasizes spinning the follower between basket, vine, halo,
and pin dance positions, using a double hand hold, a push and pull lead (Double Resistance), and a ripple
action in a rock rhythm break; and beginning the rhythm on the down or up beat.
Imperial Swing A St. Louis, Missouri, synthesis of Swing and Lindy.
Universal Swing A Randy Clements style of Swing which is a synthesis of the regional differences in
rhythm breaks used in a Swing figure.
Western Swing A 1950s name for West Coast Swing. In 1958 the Golden State Dance Teachers Association
changed the name from Western Swing to West Coast Swing.
Ballroom West Coast Swing A style of Swing popular in the ballroom dance school organizations and
different from the style performed in the California night clubs and Swing dance clubs.
THE HUSTLE FAMILY
Hustle A Latin style of Lindy originally danced to the popular Disco music in the 1970s.
Latin Hustle A style of Hustle using a Double/Delay/Triple rhythm break, predominately danced on a
Street Hustle A style of Hustle using three beats for a figure in 4/4 Metric Signature (Street Rhythm) with a
single, delay, or triple step on the last two beats and predominately danced on a straight track.
These are the definitions Swing Dancer uses for the various styles of Swing. If anyone out there has any
additional definitions to share, please call or write. Whoops!! There is Jerry Lee Lewis and "Great Balls of
Fire" on the turntable! Now where did I put my blue suede shoes?
Keep On Dancing! Hutch