Sharing The Joy Of Dancing

CHARACTERISTICS OF EAST COAST SWING


In the modern era of standardized American Style Ballroom Dance, there are basically two swing dances. They are the West Coast Swing (W.C. Swing) and the East Coast Swing (E.C. Swing). The W.C. Swing has evolved into a Country Western dance, danced in a slot to typically slow, sultry music. E.C. Swing has incorporated the rest of the swing type dance rhythms (Jitterbug, Lindy, Shag, etc). It is danced with Single, Double, Triple, and Lindy rhythms. This allows E.C. Swing to be danced to just about any speed of music.

E.C. Swing is a very versatile dance because of it's multiple rhythms. It is very important to understand the timings of the dance. If you don't, you will always feel too fast and frantic. The triple step timing is the most useful. I always start dancing the triple step and if that is too fast I drop down to double time. There isn't any music that is too fast for double time. I never use single time unless I am very tired because it is sooooo slow.

Triple step timing has two triples and a rock step. A triple step is three steps to two beats of music. These three steps are not the same timing. The first two steps of a triple step are half beats and the third step is a full beat (musically - 1 & 2). You can create a very bad habit by counting them 1, 2, 3. If you count triple step 1, 2, 3, 1, 2, 3, rock step, you will have a hard time dancing to fast music and it will always feel frantic because you will not be with the music. If you understand music, count it: 1, &, 2, 3, & 4, 5, 6. If you don't understand music, count it: quick, quick, slow, quick, quick, slow, rock, step (quick being beat and slow being 1 beat). You can also say: quick, quick, hold, quick, quick, hold, rock, step. The intent is to get two fast steps and a slow step in the triple step. The figure at the bottom lays out the triple step in timing, notes, and beats.

Double step timing has two touch steps and a rock step. A touch step is touching the foot without a complete weight change then changing weight completely. The timing for double step is: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 (touch, step, touch, step, rock, step). Each word is 1 full beat.

Single step timing has two single steps and a rock step. A single step is 2 beats. The timing is: slow, slow, rock, step (slow is 2 beats).

As you have seen, E.C. Swing uses 6 beats. It is danced to 4/4 time music so each pattern uses 1 measures of music.

Lindy timing is triple step, step, step, triple step, rock, step. Musically it is: 1, &, 2, 3, 4, 5, &, 6, 7, 8. As you noticed it uses 8 beats or 2 full measures.

E.C. Swing is a Latin dance just like Cha Cha or Rumba which means it is danced with toe steps and Latin Motion. As with any Latin dance, it is danced from the bottom of the rib cage down. The upper body does not bounce up and down. This would make your movement too slow.

The E.C. Swing closed dance position is actually a closed promenade position with the man's right arm in a position similar to a Waltz or Foxtrot frame, but the man's left arm is down about waist level with the left thumb on top of the top of the ladies right hand. Besides the rhythm, one of the hardest things is to maintain connection with your partner because your hands are in so many different positions.

E.C. Swing is definitely one dance you should learn because it can be danced to such a wide variety of music speeds and it doesn't require much space.