Do I need a partner?
How long does it take to learn to swing dance?
West Coast Swing or 6-count swing basics can be learned in a couple of hours. But, like playing an instrument such as piano, the sky’s the limit! Few people have sat down at a piano for the first time and started playing Mozart. Same holds true for swing dancing. Learning West Coast Swing can take time and patience. Don’t be discouraged; take as many lessons as you can from a wide variety of teachers. Be patient with yourself; enjoy the journey, social dance alot.
What is West Coast Swing?
West Coast swing is a modern evolution of East Coast swing that is danced to Blues, R&B, Soul & Contemporary music. The footwork is based on a 6-count basic, but has evolved in a stylized way to fit more modern music. As it evolved, it became its own dance. However, it is still a distant cousin, or perhaps a different dialect of the same language. It’s similar to the differences between British English and American English. The conversation can still be had between dancers from the various communities, but each side might think the other “talks funny”.
Since you’ll be in close proximity to another person when you’re dancing, it is very important to have fresh breath and deodorant. We would also recommend avoiding dishes with lots of garlic before a dance…sadly, many of us avoid Italian food before a dance, but that has the added benefit of not weighing us down while we dance with a belly full of heavy pasta. Let’s face it, we all sweat, but packing a small towel or an extra shirt goes a really long way to make those who dance with you happy.
It’s an awareness of others on the dance floor. It’s dance floor courtesy. Floor craft is an art that should be practiced while on the dance floor. Knowing how the dance works and how the other couples on the floor will move is important. This is especially important for leaders. Leaders need to avoid sending their followers crashing into others on the dance floor. If you happen to kick somebody accidentally, stop and see if they’re okay and tell them you’re sorry. And try to be mindful of your steps if you are dancing backwards. If you do happen to kick somebody really badly, check on them after the song is over just as an extra courtesy.
What is a Leader / What is a Follower?
In any partner dance, as in life, there are those who lead and those who follow. Traditionally, these roles have been divided along gender lines, with guys being the leaders and the gals being followers. However we’re quite open-minded to either gender assuming either role.