The Lindy Hop is the most popular swing dance of all time. Also known as Jitterbug, or simply Swing or Lindy, the Lindy Hop is the authentic form of dance that was created in Harlem NY in a black african-american community at the end of the 1920's. Lindy Hop dance and Swing music evolved in parallel in big ballrooms like the famous Savoy in Harlem. Deeply based in improvisation, it is a couple dance that is very rich and diverse. The steps that are used are multiple and the rhythms are also various, the connection between partners allowing for a very playful dancing experience. Legend says that the name ''Lindy Hop'' was given by Shorty George Snowden in an interview, and that it would have been inspired by Charles Lindbergh's (nicknamed Lindy) epic "hop" over the Atlantic ocean in his plane «Spirit of Saint Louis» in 1927.
Alternative name for Lindy Hop, also used as a term to describe the energetic Lindy Hop dancers.
West Coast Swing
West Coast Swing is a couple dance that became popular in the 50's and 60's. While keeping rhythms and connection similar to Lindy Hop, this dance evolved with the contemporary music. At first, WCS was performed mostly on blues dancing, but it is now practiced to country, RnB, Hip Hop.... all of today's popular music. This style is usually done to slower tempos and removed the ''bounce'' that we find in almost all other swing dances. We can also recognize WCS in more souple and elastic movement, done in a much more narrow and defined corridor in space. It still kept the improvisational aspect, but allowed for a renewed connection between partners and transformed the 'rock-step' by an 'anchor-step'. Some think that West Coast Swing evolved from the Californian ‘smooth style’ danced by Dean Collins and evolved to favour a Hollywood movie aesthetic.
Charleston was created in the United States in 1923 and is named after the city of Charleston in South Carolina. In solo, in couple or in group performance, Charleston is done to fast and crazy rhythms of ragtime and swing. It became extremely popular in 1923 with the help of the Broadway show Runnin’ Wild done on the music of James P. Johnson and the famous track Charleston which was the song that was most listened to and played in the whole 1920's decade! Charleston was popularized in France by the great Joséphine Baker. Nowadays, we dance Charleston as integrated part of the Lindy Hop, and we also keep alive the solo Charleston dance.
How to dance Charleston Documentary
Blues dancing takes its roots in african movement and rhythm. It evolved in places called Juke Joints, where people went to relax and socialize. We could find in those places all that prohibition was trying to eradicate... the alcohol, but also what came along : gambling, dance and music! Blues was never really defined precisely, so it stayed alive in some various forms through the ages, and we have a very free modern interpretation of the Blues dancing today. It is always quite intimate and sensual, requires a subtil connection between partners, and hence stimulate a musical and emotional interpretation of music.Blues in Competition at the European Championships 2013
Balboa is a swing dance that emerged in the 1920's on the West Coast of the United States, near San Diego on the Balboa peninsula. By the early 1930's it was known enough to be given it's name: the Balboa. This dance was especially created to take into account the very crowded nature of dance floors. The 2 dancers in the couple are very close to each other and perform fancy footwork. At first, the dance was also called ''Pure Bal'' and was danced exclusively in closed embrace position. It then evolved over a decade to a more open dance which was called Bal-Swing. Balboa is typically danced to faster tempos of music.
Boogie Woogie is another swing dance that evolved in the 50's. This dance is rooted in Lindy Hop, but is adapted to rock and roll and boogie woogie musical rhythms. Musical interpretation is especially important of this fast and high-energy dance. It is especially practiced in Europe these days, but is now more and more popular abroad, including here in Quebec! Most of the times, advanced Boogie Woogie dancers will use tricks and aerials to add a touch of sensation to their performance on stage or in competition. The footwork is easily recognizable because of the very intense pumping of the knees up and down. Nowadays, Boogie Woogie is more of a competition dance, not practiced a lot in a social dancing context, although many people would like to see that change.Antoine and Sandrine's great Boogie Woogie Short Showcase - 1st place Jump n Dance 2014.
Rock and Roll is first and foremost a popular musical style from the 50's. Rock and Roll dance is basically a form of Lindy Hop adapated to that musical genre. In France, the 'Rock' is a 6-count form of dance but it is not commonly taught or practiced in Canada. We use Lindy Hop as a mean to dance on Rock and Roll music, using simple and dynamic patterns to best fit that music!
Collegiate Shag appeared in american colleges, each of them having their particular styles! Collegiate Shag is an energic dance with a semi-closed embrace hold, a strong bounce and fast and hard-hitting footwork, most of the times in 6-counts patterns. Always fun and lots of possible footwork!
Interesting mix of Swing and Tango, Swingo is a subtil and intimate dance, practiced on slow swing songs or on blues music. It is a very modern and quite rare form of dance, since it requires specific notions of two dances. You will be introduced to it in one of our Swing II classes and if you like it, you can follow the Swingo Series, that we offer once in a while.
The air steps are part of Swing dance ever since Frankie Manning had the idea to throw his partner Frieda Washington over his back in a contest at the Savoy Ballroom in 1935 performed live on Chick Webb's music. At Studio 88-Swing, we teach a very wide variety of Swing air steps, also called aerials, from beginner level to advanced level, always with a very serious attention given to the security and preparation aspect of the practice.