First Announced: JUNE 2010
West Coast 101
In an effort to preserve the fundamentals and characteristics of
Classic West Coast
Swing Dance Council delved back into formal Pattern
starting in 1950 - and followed the development & evolution up
through 2010, in
order to be able to sanction 14 BASIC PATTERNS in West Coast Swing.
This process resulted in the presentation of 14 Patterns that could authentically represent the
essence of West
We have had numerous requests over the past 20
to clarify these basics. The
timing is actually right on target. There have been growing
not just across our nation,
authentic patterns that would serve as a standard
foundation for teaching, competing, or simply for basic social dancing of West Coast Swing.
The following is
the current list for West Coast "101":
The order is slightly different
than on the original "101" DVD.
This suggested "Teaching Order" is based on the latest professional
Certified West Coast Swing Teachers.
STEP PATTERN (Teaching Order - June, 2011)
Triple Rhythm Break & Anchor
(8 Beats of Music)
Left Side Pass (from
Front to Back, Man’s Left side)
(6 Beats of Music)
(6 Beats of Music)
Underarm with Hand
(6 Beats of Music)
Right Side Pass (from
Back to Front, Man’s R. side)
(6 Beats of Music)
4-Beat Starter Step
(4 Beats of Music)
Throw Out (from closed “Slingshot” position)
(6 Beats of Music)
(6 Beats of Music)
(6 Beats of Music)
Basic Tuck (from
(6 Beats of Music)
Push Break (Sugar
(6 Beats of Music)
Two Hand Tuck
(6 Beats of Music)
Walking Whip (Selected form of Closed Whip)
(8 Beats of Music)
Release Whip (Selected
form of Basic Whip)
(8 Beats of Music)
For "West Coast 101" Competitions,
dancers should be able to dance at least 10
of the 14 Basic
Patterns, which should include a
Triple Rhythm Break. A Triple Rhythm Break can serve as a "Thinking Step"
for a Leader, or to complete a phrase, or mark
time in place. for either partner ,whenever needed.
Original DVD available
$20 - Non-Profit Venture Detailing the 14 sanctioned Basic Patterns &
Techniques for Classic West Coast Swing.
Below are brief Descriptions of the
PLUS Historical &
for both Inclusion on this Basic List,
and why each Pattern should be taught
in this particular
teaching order. (Technical Update: 8-5-11)
1. TRIPLE RHYTHM BREAK & ANCHOR.
A. “Triple Rhythm Break”: Starts in “One Hand” Open Position (Her
Right to His Left Hand) The “Triple Rhythm Break” is simply a matter
of the Leader dancing Left & Right Triples in place, while he leads
Follower into Right & Left Triples in place. (One Set of 8)
B. “Triple Rhythm & Anchor :
One regular Triple, followed by an
Anchor Triple in place.
Together (A & B) - The entire pattern produces one full “Set of 8”.
This Pattern is: 3 standard Triples, followed by an Anchor Triple.
HISTORICAL: “Triple Rhythm Break and Anchor”
started being included
in GSDTA lists about 1985, as Pattern #1. ” It was
designed to teach
new dancers the art of anchoring, before learning too many patterns.
Before that time, it was standard procedure to teach triples first, as a
aid, or Drill - but the Triples were seldom included on the printed Pattern
List. Triples were usually taught as part of the Left Side Pass, or the Underarm
The Triple Rhythm Break & Anchor started showing up on general
lists around 1990. This process served to clarify the Anchor, and
important role in
WCS. The term “Anchor” replaced the
Steps of the 1950s. (Details available from GSDTA)
SIDE PASS: Starts in “One Hand” Open Position (Her Right to
His Left Hand)
Leader: steps Back on count “1” (rotates Left
on left foot on “&a” – steps Back
on Right foot on “2” – “Forward & Together Forward” on “3&a4” – Right
Anchor Triple on “5&a6”.
walks Forward, Forward on “1- 2” –(looking left on “2”) rotates 1/4 turn left
on Left foot on "2&a" - place Right toe base close to left
heel on "3" and rotate
another 1/4 turn left on right Toe-Base on "3&" - Left heel
goes down on the "a" count,
driving the body Back on count “4” of the Right triple – End
with Left Anchor
Triple on “5&a6.”
Side Pass has been Pattern #1 or #2 since 1952. Although not
included in many lists until the 1980s, it trains leaders to turn left, and
“centering” and the “Flashlight Technique” to both Leaders and Followers.
3. UNDERARM TURN: Starts in
“One Hand” Open Position (Her Right
to His Left Hand)
Leader: steps back on
count “1” – Forward Right on “2” (rotating RIGHT on “2&a” - 1/2 a
turn) - steps Back on Left foot on “3” – and forward R-L on “a4”. -
Ends pattern with a
Right Anchor Triple. (Also: Leader lifts right hand on
“2” for her to go under)
walks forward on “1- 2” –(looking left on “2”) rotates 1/4 turn left on the "&a"
step on Right "toe base" on Count "3" and rotates enough to be able
to go straight Back
“4” of her Right triple – follows with Left Anchor Triple on “5&a6.”
was Pattern #1 or Pattern #2, in most lists, starting as early as
Pattern teaches the leader to rotate Right and teaches the follower to
whenever rotating left.
UNDERARM with HAND
CHANGE: One Hand
starting position –
Steps Back on “1” leading her to his right side & underarm, without
turning around. Hand change on count “4” of the 6-beat pattern. She
goes under her own right hand the same as an Underarm turn, winding up
in “handshake” position with the follower behind the leader.
Historical: Underarm with Hand Change:
has followed the Underarm Turn
in most lists since 1954. Some listed this pattern as:
“Underarm TURN with
hand change.” Either variation is acceptable, but learning the pattern
the TURN for the Leader, creates a desirable, and additional, angle change for the Leader.
RIGHT SIDE PASS (With Hand Change):
Starts in Handshake position,
both partners facing
forward, Follower is behind leader, in anchor position. (Standard 6-Beat
Short step forward on
L foot on “1” - Larger step back on R foot on
count “2” -
then complete left triple, small "Back &, together Forward" – and end the pattern with an anchor in place.
walks forward on “1- 2” –(looking left on “2”) rotates 1/4 turn on Left foot on
places Right "toe base" near Left heel on "3" and rotates another 1/4 turn Left
on the "&"
following "3" - Left heel goes down on the "a" driving the body back to
Receiving foot on "4" -
finish with an Anchor Triple on “5&a6”
HISTORICAL: Right Side Pass
has appeared as Pattern #2 OR #3 since 1954. Note:
Arthur Murray’s in 1954, if you asked someone to do a Right Side
Pass, they would
START with an Underarm Turn - switch hands on "4"-
and THEN perform the Right Side
Pass - taking the Follower from behind
the Leader - (in hand shake position) to in front of
hands again (on "3"- to finish with an anchor. Today, we simply start the pattern in
position. (a 6-Beat Pattern that does not have to be preceded by an
Underarm.) It can start following any pattern that finishes with the
Follower behind the Leader, in Handshake position.
6. 4-BEAT STARTER STEP:
Both partners in closed position, preferably, both facing into the slot, in a V
Leader: Tiny Left Triple in place – then a
“Back & Together Forward” on “3&a4”:
Follower: Tiny Right Triple in place – then
a “Back & Together Back” ending in Slingshot position,
ready to walk
forward into a Throwout or a Tuck.
4-Beat Starter Step was introduced by GSDTA
in 1958 as a “2 Unit
Preparatory”. It did not
become popular as a “Starter Step” until the early
1980s. The 4- Beat Starter Step was necessary in order to lose the “Rock
“5-6”. This allowed every pattern to start with the Double
Rhythm, stepping twice, on counts “1-2” of each new pattern.. This
eliminated counting the Rock Step as "5 6" from the old, and outdated Basic Step.
Starter Step became the “Get ready - Get set” (using
2 Triples) - as a preparation BEFORE the “GO” which had now become the
“1-2” of the 1st pattern being danced. Please Note: A Starter
Step, particularly for Jack & Jill competition, should make the Follower feel
comfortable, knowing that the Leader hears the same music, same beat, & is going
to be a good Leader. This is an important note for Leaders: Do not to try to
dazzle the Follower by some exciting, new Starter Step. Many of today’s Starter
Steps, leave the Follower looking bewildered, unsure and does not present them
as a capable Follower until much later. Not a fair procedure for the
7. THROW OUT
Starts in Closed Slingshot Position, Follower behind Leader. Leader’s Left
hand is gently holding Follower’s Right hand. Leader’s Right hand is holding
Follower. above the waistline, just under the shoulder blade, in Slingshot
Forward step on Left foot on Count “1” and longer back step with Right
foot on Count “2”. – “Forward & together, forward” on “3&a4” and finish with a
Right Anchor Triple in place.
–Walk on “1-2” – rotate left on Left foot on “2&a” – step on Right toe base on
count “3” (rotate on the Right foot ¼ turn left) X left by allowing Left
heel to go down to send the body backward on the “a’ count – to arrive on the
Right foot on count “4”. Finish with Left Anchor. End in Open position, one hand
The Throw out has been Pattern #4 or #5 since 1954. It is important today
for the Follower to walk forward on counts “1-2” of most basic WCS
patterns, rather than do a “Rock Step” which today, is more frequently recognized as an
East Coast or Lindy characteristic.
RIGHT TORQUE TURN:
Starts in One Hand Position (Leader’s Left Hand to Follower’s Right Hand).
Leader: Step back L on count “1” –
Forward Right (replace) on count “2” - rotating RIGHT on the Right foot, on “&a”
AFTER the "2" – Leader
steps back on Left foot on “3&” (3 Toe Base) – & Fwd. (replace) on the “a”- Fwd again on
“4” – and Anchor on “5&a6”.
Walks forward on “1 - 2” with Contra-Body movement (Right hip & shoulder pulled
slightly back on “&a” before “1” - Left Hip & Shoulder are pulled back on
the "&a" before "2")
– Pull the Right Hip and Right Shoulder back R, rotating right on the Left
foot, one complete half turn. (Right big toe stays in place during "2&a",
forming a spiral footwork) Immediately drive Right foot, upper right arm and
right hip DIRECTLY SIDE, toward back wall, traveling “side &
together side on the “3&a4” – rotate to anchor position before Anchoring on “5&a6”.
Historical: Lady’s Right Torque Turn - This
pattern is actually a re-discovery of an old concept, which has been lost for
quite a few years. However, it fits neatly into the
current Basics. This move introduces the Follower to a Torque Turn. It also teaches her to
drive back w/ her right shoulder & Right Hip on “3&”, which becomes important in developing a
good Turning Basic and Whip. This latest discovery in the Learning Process
turns out to be an amazing aid in producing great Turning Basics and
great Whips – particularly for Followers. In the 2 year development process
of this list, this particular pattern made short work of improving Followers
skills in doing Whips. Specific students were sought out who had difficulty in
making proper body contact on count “3” of either a Turning Basic – or a Whip.
In every instance, the correction & development was almost instant. This
pattern has become just one more important teaching aid in the evolution of West Coast
Teaching Technique: On count "2" the Follower keeps her Right Big
Toe on the floor, as she revolves right, allowing the feet to do a spiral wrap
around before driving out on "3".
Leader: Step back on count “1” -
Forward Right on “2” rotating RIGHT on 2&a” - Back check on Left toe base on
“3&,” Fpl R on "a"-Left foot slightly forward on “4” - End with Right Anchor. Leader catches partner
with Right Hand, (He is facing back wall, on count “3”). Ends in Closed position.
(Note: It helps if Leader looks over his Right shoulder at the back wall on
Follower: Forward R-L on “1 2” –Torque Turn
R on “&a” – “”Back & together Forward” on “3&a4” (stepping forward between his
feet on count “4” ) – (rotating right on “4&a”). Anchor on “5&a6” in closed
Slingshot position, with Follower behind Leader.
Historical: Turning Basic was introduced in
the early 90’s by GSDTA, as a desired element for the follower to learn a
“back & together forward,” and the leader to learn to catch partner w/ right
hand on “3” while still using a 6-Beat pattern.
Technical: The Leader determines the difference in this pattern & a
Whip, by how He leads the Anchor. A Whip releases the follower to travel
back on a "5 6." - If he is leading a Turning Basic, he will rotate his upper
body to the right on "3&a4" - holding her very close and not allowing her
to go back on "5."
10. BASIC TUCK (from closed
“Slingshot” position) –
Forward, Back – Step together Forward – Anchor in place.
Forward, Forward – rotate left on “&a” then Forward R, on “3&” –
Together L on “a”, – rotating right on the “a” in order to step Forward
on count “4” (rotating right to Anchor position) – Finish with an Anchor in 3rd.
( Think of the body turning left & then Right on counts “3 &a4”)
Another “time tested” pattern that’s been around since 1952. The major change
through the years is that today - West Coast Swing Followers start from
Slingshot position with a “Walk-Walk” for the follower, instead of a Rock Step.
11. PUSH BREAK:
Back on "1" - Together in 3rd on “2” - Small “Forward & together Forward”
on “3&a4” (releasing her Left hand on “4”) – Anchor in place on “5&a6”.
Forward, Forward – Forward on toe base on “3&” Back in place on “a”
and stronger Back on Right Foot on“4” – Anchor in place on “5&a6.”
under the name “Sugar Push” , the Push Break has been around since 1952.
Unfortunately, it has frequently been taught as Pattern #1, (too early for
anyone to learn compression.) Without compression, the pattern is
rough, or no compression at all. Net result is that the pattern itself has
been being labeled dull & uninteresting, by the newer dancers. The Name Change
came about when the old-timers swiveled in on every step of the Sugar
They claimed, (and rightfully so) that the pattern was named after the old
Foot. A Sugar Foot was (and still IS) 100% little tiny swivels. (Still a
move in Lindy). The name change was voted on at a huge turnout of the early
Council - and the name “Push Break” was adopted at that time.
Two-Hand Contra-Body Tuck –
(Same footwork as Left Side Pass):
Step Back on count “1” (rotate Left on left foot on “&a”
Step back on Right foot on “2” – follow with a Forward
& Together Forward and a Right
Anchor triple. Leader pulls his Right Hand toward his
throat area on “1” - Pulls his Left Elbow
toward the back wall on “2” – catches her Left
hand in his Right, to stop on “3&” -
& turn right on “4”.
Walks Forward, Forward on “1-2” with slight contra-body movement, rotating
on “2” – maintaining the rotation left on “3&” –
presses against his right hand on the “3&”
and rotates to the right in order to go forward on
“4”. Rotation on “4” takes her to Anchor
position for “5&a6.
Classic pattern - very popular from 1954 up through 1995, danced with
movement. In recent years, the Two-Hand CROSS Strut Tuck has become an
“Two Hand Tuck” The Cross Strut version finds the follower with the
same shoulder forward
as the forward foot. This pattern is allowed as a substitute for the
Contra-Body Tuck, and is
included in WCS 101.
WHIP – Walking Whip Is the Same Footwork as the Release Whip, only
through count “4” :
Leader: Step Back on “1”, Forward in place on “2”, rotating
Right on “2&a” – Step
Back on left toe base on “3&”, Forward in place on “a” and
Side Left on “4”.
Pull Right shoulder back on “4&a” as left foot hits the floor
on ‘4”. – Walk
with the follower on 5-6 – and then Anchor with Right foot
toward her, turning
left to step in place Left, and cross Right foot forward into
the slot. (She is
behind him in closed Sling-shot position.
: (Footwork Identical to Release Whip)
“Forward , Forward,” on “1-2”
(Torque Turn Right on the “&a” before “3” ) “Back & Together Forward” on
“3&a4” (Pivot Right on “4&a”) - Drive straight back - Left -Right on “5-6”
Anchor in place on “7&a8”. Ends in Closed, Sling-shot position.
In the 1950s, a Closed Whip was called a Lindy Turn. According to
records, this pattern started being called a Closed Whip on most lists,
The updated pattern includes the “Walking look” as both partners move in the
direction on “5-6.” (This pattern currently appears under several different
Leader: In this version of the Whip, the man’s
Right Foot stays in the same place
from count “1” thru count “4.”
Step Back on “1”, Forward in place on “2”, rotating Right on “2&a” – Step
Back on left toe base on “3&”, Forward in place on “a” and Side Left on
Pull Right shoulder back on “4&a” as left foot hits the floor on ‘4”. You
a “Cross” Foot position when the weight changes to the Right foot on
Left foot takes a small Side step on “6”. – then Anchor in place.
Leader does not catch HER with his Right hand until count “3” – and releases his
right hand after “4”.
“Forward , Forward,” (Torque Turn Right on the “&a”) - “Back & Together
Forward” on “3&a4” (Pivot Right on “4&a”) Drive straight back on Left foot
on “5&6” – Anchor in place on “7&a8”..
The Whip has been taught much earlier in many lists. However, based on
the psychology of learning, and other factors, this 8-Beat Pattern fits
nicely into the
proposed progression where it is placed. Because of the variety of Basic whips,
selected the Release Whip as the easiest & most appropriate form for this
The Release Whip has the leader keeping his right foot in place
throughout the first
6-Beats of the pattern - not releasing it until the anchor on “7&a8.” This
forms a foundation for the various whips that are available, and makes all
easier to learn.
There is additional information on
almost everything listed. We have
tried to keep things as simple as possible for this initial presentation.
The DVD clarifies the
patterns and techniques. If there are still
questions – after reading these descriptions and viewing the
feel free to email me personally at:
or Call me at: 562-869-8949
DVD for $19.95 plus postage. (This is a
Venture) Take advantage of a good deal: Buy 10 copies for $100.00
Sell them for $20 - or give them away as presents.
Spread the Word!
Coast 101 competitions are currently “Jack and Jills”
To be eligible to compete in West
Coast 101, you MAY be a Beginner. You
MAY be a
Newcomer. You may already
be a Novice dancer. However, you
eligible for West Coast 101 -
if you have ever PLACED in the TOP 5
in a World Swing Dance Council
We have tried to anticipate
Questions - and provide as many Answers as possible.
has been in the works for over 2 years. It
was presented at the general
of the World Swing Dance Council
in November at the 26th annual U.S.
OPEN. It was
met with favorable response. Quite a few suggestions are already
We want to thank those who are
cooperating in teaching this specific set of 14
that the World
Dance Community will see some effort toward standardization in the way the West
Coast Swing Dance Community teaches West
Coast. We also need a
students to learn BASICS from their teachers -
rather than always insisting
latest moves, before they should be doing them.
These patterns will be be available on
Global Dance TV - New students will
looking for teachers who can teach these patterns. We hope to
thousands of new West Coast Swing students - and they will be looking
teachers who are Qualified to teach these 14 BASIC patterns.
Those teachers will be recommended.
YOU can do this. Join the energy that is
being put into this great West Coast Surge. These patterns are being taught in
Colleges, Parks and Recreation and many Public Grade and High
This list is currently being
taught in Kona, Hawaii - at the University of La Verne
in Long Beach
Parks and Recreation, as well as to children’s groups in
Programs in action - and doing well.
If you have questions about any part
of this program, please call 562-869-8949
or email Skippy:
Skippy@Skippyblair.com - We would also like to know of
any teachers that you think might be interested in participating in this
This project has been “in
the works” for several years.
Special Thanks to: Wayne
& Sharlot Bott, Jordan &
Tatiana, Mary Ann Nunez,
and Jessica Cox. for their
continuing contributions & support, along with over
100 other teachers who
use these materials and report back on the progress
of their students.
thanks to Torri Smith and Sean McKeever who did
such a great job demonstrating the patterns for 101 on the DVD.
West Coast 101 Competitions were great in Kona
in May '09 - and the
Jack & Jill O’Rama in June - Miami Magic is next in July - and
France is in August 2009. Halloween Swingthing in October.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Historical Odds & Ends
OTHER THAN West Coast 101
Information on West Coast Material,
with dates included! Feel free to exchange notes.
MAY, 2007 UPDATE: Here at Dance Dynamics Headquarters,
inquiries every day, asking for the origin of specific terms and techniques in West
Many of them are familiar, and a few are not. We thought we should
clarify those that originated with GSDTA and that we are responsible for,
as well as noting some of the things GSDTA is NOT responsible for.
We have listed a few of
the more popular terms that originated in the teaching of West Coast Swing,
through the efforts of:
Skippy Blair's Dance Dynamics
Golden State Dance Teachers
JAN. 2008 Note:
In Alphabetical Order: Center Point of Balance (CPB) -
Centering Knob -
Dance Rhythms - Downbeats & Upbeats - Flashlight Technique -
Point of Connection - Power Point -
Universal Unit System(R) - Rhythm Units (2-Beat Rhythms) - Rolling Count - Three-Toe Base -
(As they are pointed out to us, we will add to the list).
These and other terms are explained in the
"Dance Terminology Notebook" that is contained online, here at
Go to the Index on the front page and click on Dance Terminology Notebook.
West Coast Swing:
Everything listed below is for historical purposes. It
is a combination of
Information gathered from early definitions (1965) - & forward
through the latest Dance
Dynamics, GSDTA and WSDC Educational releases
2006, by Skippy Blair ©
2-24-06 - update:
West Coast SWING -
(1) West Coast Swing
is an all American Rhythm dance
consisting basically of 6
and 8-beat patterns, along with 4-Beat Rhythm Breaks
that are danced
primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. West Coast Swing
variations of Underarm Turns, Side Passes, Pushes and Whips
plus Rhythm Breaks,
Syncopations and Extensions of the same.
Further Clarification of
1. At basic &
intermediate levels, most dancers start the dance with a 4-Beat
Starter Step, which falls into the category of “Rhythm Breaks.”
2. MOST West Coast
Swing teachers today (2008) teach the follower to walk
forward out of a Starter Step, rather than to do a “Rock Step.” (GSDTA
started the dance, walking forward on "1-2" in 1958)
3. Most notable, &
one of the oldest
evolvements: Anchors have replaced Coasters.
Interpretation: important ingredient, even at Novice level.
5. Both partners
have the freedom to “play” as long as they do not interfere
with their partner’s dance.
definition includes: WCS is considered a 50/50 partnership dance.
7. Both partners
travel frequently in the same direction, rather than rock away
from each other (as done in East Coast Swing and Lindy).
8. West Coast Swing
is basically a directionally slotted dance. (Not a "fixed" slot)
New moves are always
emerging when top
dancers interpret the music of the day. Swing Music of the 1940's gave birth to
a wide variety of dances that we recognize today as various forms of
AUTHOR'S NOTE: In
there have been so many styles
emerging and overlapping, that there are those who feel that WCS no longer
exists - that all swing is some sort of simply generic “SWING.” There is
nothing further from the truth. One needs to study the intricacies of the
development of something, in order to learn how to recognize an evolvement to a
higher state. It is much easier to recognize similarities - than it is to
focus on differences. The latest developments in WCS are easily identified
by examining the “root base” of the dance. When all else fails, try to identify
what you see as something OTHER than West Coast. Does it look like East
Coast - Lindy - Shag - Imperial Swing - Hand Dancing? If it won’t fit any
of those, and the dancers are primarily upper level West Coast Swing dancers,
then it is probably a variety and/or an evolvement of West Coast Swing.
It is also true that WCS
is currently (2006) developing in two different directions. There
is a new breed of slow swing that borders on a Ballet style “Pax de deaux.”
It is slow, sensual and uses pattern entrances that have West Coast as their
root base. This form has a grace and style similar to Rumba and Ballet. The
effect is dramatic, but lacks any feeling of rhythmic “swing.” Neither the
music nor the dance actually “swings.” WCS patterns can be danced to
totally different music and the dance can lend itself to many different
disciplines. However, if the essence of the original dance changes enough
to create it’s OWN identifiable “essence” a new dance style is being born.
That’s how many Swing styles came into being.
2008 - and the "swing" is back toward SWING. (See article on
ANCHORS as they have evolved in the past 20 years.)
Let’s examine the
“ESSENCE” of WEST COAST SWING:
(1) Both partners travel,
a great deal of the time, in the same direction.
Most other forms of swing use more opposition moves - (Rock steps). (2)
The follower has more creative choices, as long as she does not interfere with
the Leader. (3) Follower walks into new patterns, rather than
rocking back. (4) Individual musical interpretation creates excitement
and new material erupts on the dance floor in a seemingly endless barrage of
possibilities. (5) There is an undercurrent in good swing music that makes
you want to snap your fingers or clap your hands on the Upbeat. (6)
Currently, Followers create “Kodak Moments” for a fraction of a second, as they
hit a great pose, coupled with good lines and a sense of body discipline that is
beyond the scope of most other forms of swing.
WEST COAST SWING
- (1) A highly stylized form of Swing
that is identifiable
by two main characteristics: (a) it is a slotted
that is distinguished by it's love affair with syncopations and
musical interpretation. (b) The lady does a "Walk-Walk"
traveling forward on counts "1" and "2" of each basic pattern. (2)
In the 1950's, this dance was called "Western Swing" and "Sophisticated
in the Chain Studios, and even in most Independent Studios. Many
Studios still use those names today.
(3) West Coast
Swing was declared the official State Dance of
California in 1988.
West Coast Swing
dance that stays
Today, (2008) this dance still requires a "50-50" partnership. It
is an "educated" dance where the "follower" needs to know
much more about the dance
than simply “How to follow.” West
Coast Swing reflects the social attitudes of the day: Although
the Leader sets the tone and direction of the dance, the Follower has the
freedom to interpret the
music and use syncopations in patterns that he might not even use (or care to
"Partnership" might be compared to a group of Jazz musicians. One
person goes off on a tangent while the other players keep the basic beat.
West Coast Swing
is literally a "High Tech" GAME played to music. At an intermediate
level, one partner can play while the other keeps the basic beat. Only
very advanced dancers should try to juggle both partners “playing” at the same
time, without disrupting the other.
The name “WEST COAST SWING", didn't surface into mainstream Swing Circles
until the late 1960's
and early 70s. In 1958,
opening of Skippy Blair Studios in Downey, California, "Western" Swing was
not a salable item in the city of Downey. (actually, nothing
really welcome in the city of Downey in 1958). We tried to explain to people that
“Western" really meant "West Coast," but it didn’t register with the average
person. Jim Bannister, editor of the Herald American newspaper in
Downey, remarked: "then why don't you SAY “West Coast”?
The new ads advertised West Coast Swing (1962). When the GOLDEN WEST
Norwalk, California, changed
from Country to Ballroom dancing,
the dance most advertised on the Marquee was West Coast Swing. Years later,
we would find that Arthur Murray’s actually had a hand book that used the
term West Coast Swing. However, Murray’s obviously preferred
“Western Swing” - because that was printed on their student's charts.
That was probably in an effort to conform to matching the term “Eastern
which was their most popular form of Swing at that time - and was the
predecessor of “East Coast Swing.” The name of Eastern Swing
naturally evolved into “East Coast Swing” several years
after “West Coast Swing” became the
accepted name for our dance.