9 Types of Swing Dances List

Types of Swing Dances

Swing dancing has existed for close to 100 years. 

Since the jazz era of the 1920s, swing has evolved to include a long list of dances, making it difficult for beginners to learn where to start. 

Here is a quick look at the eight most popular types of swing dances for beginners.

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Types of Swing Dances

1. Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop is an essential swing dance for beginners to learn, as many types of swing dances are based on the Hop. 

The Lindy Hop evolved in the 1930s and is named after aviator Charles Lindbergh and his hop across the Atlantic Ocean.

The Lindy Hop includes six-count and eight-count patterns with lots of flips, kicks, and swing-out moves. 

Performing the Lindy Hop involves a lot of movement across the dance floor, which people often associate with swing dancing.

2. Balboa

The Balboa is another one of the original types of swing dances that evolved in the 1920s. 

It originated in Southern California due to the smaller dance halls with limited space and the region’s more conservative attitudes.

Unlike the Lindy Hop, the Balboa does not feature big kicks, spins, or turns. 

The dancers remain in a closed position with an upright posture. 

3. Shag

The Shag was introduced in the Carolinas in the 1920s and spread across the nation throughout the following decade. 

It was one of the most popular swing dances of the time and was often performed to fast-paced music.

The Shag primarily uses six-count patterns and intricate footwork. 

However, there are multiple variations of the Shag, including the Carolina Shag, the St. Louis Shag, and the Collegiate Shag.

4. East Coast Swing

The East Coast Swing grew out of the big-band era of the 1940s. 

It is a six-count variation of the Lindy Hop with a simple structure, making it a great swing dance for beginners to learn. 

The East Coast Swing can also be performed to slow, medium, or fast-tempo songs.

5. West Coast Swing

As with the East Coast Swing, the West Coast Swing is a versatile dance suited for various musical genres, including jazz, blues, pop, hip-hop, and rock and roll. 

It is also a variation of Lindy Hop but originated on the West Coast in dance halls around the Los Angeles area.

6. Jive

The Jive is an upbeat dance that evolved from the Eastern Swing after American troops arrived in England during World War II. 

It is danced to fast-paced music and features turns, spins, and kicks. 

7. Boogie-Woogie

The Boogie-Woogie originated in the 1940s. 

Unlike most of the other swing dances, the Boogie-Woogie is not intended for jazz music. 

The dance came from boogie-woogie music, which was a form of blues. 

It focuses more on footwork and typically features a six-count pattern.

8. Jitterbug

The Jitterbug may be the most famous and misunderstood swing dance. 

Over the years, the name “Jitterbug” has been used to refer to several variations of swing dance styles. 

However, it is now commonly recognized as a single-rhythm variation of the East Coast Swing.

These are just a few of the most popular types of swing dances. 

After you learn everything from the Lindy Hop to the Jitterbug, you may find it easier to pick up new dances and expand your range on the dance floor.

9. Hand Dance

D.C. Hand Dance is a swing dance established in the 1950s in Washington, D.C. 

It progressed from the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and other swing dances from the 1920s and ’30s.

While Hand Dancing is still primarily a local dance practice north of Maryland and as far south as Virginia, it is seen by numerous West Coast swing competitors.

Historically, the name “Hand Dance” stemmed in the 1990s at the Neo-Swing comeback. 

What are the Different Types of Swing Dancing

There are numerous kinds of swings done throughout the world.

However, it began here in America; different styles are taking place worldwide, for example, in Germany, England and France, Brazil, Australia, and New Zealand.

The primary styles are:

  • East coast swing 
  • West coast swing Lindy hop
  • North Dallas
  • Push Houston
  • whip Carolina
  • Shag 
  • Collegiate Shag 
  • St. Louis Shag 
  • Bop
  • Hand Dancing
  • Swing-Out 

Among others, but what about jitterbug?

Jitterbug is not a particular dance. It’s an overall name for all quick styles of swing.

When you hear someone state jitterbug, it will be seen differently in Maryland than someone who does the jitterbug in California.

The three primary styles are West coast swing, East Coast Swing, and Lindy hop throughout the United States and worldwide.

Types of Swing Dances Summary

As you can see, Swing dancing is a type of partner dance that emerged in the 1920s.

There are many types of swing dances, and each one has its own unique style.

For example, East Coast Swing focuses on footwork, and West Coast Swing emphasizes fluidity and improvisation.

Lindy Hop is known for its fast tempo, and Charleston features intricate steps with flashy turns.

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