What is the Difference Between West Coast and East Coast Swing?

What is the difference between West Coast and East Coast Swing


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There are two main types of swing dance – West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing. While they share some similarities, they also have some key differences.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the key differences between these two styles of swing dancing.

So, if you’re wondering what the difference is between West Coast and East Coast Swing, read on!

So what’s the difference between West Coast and East Coast Swing?

The East Coast style of Swing is made up of three triple steps and one rock step, whereas the West Coast style, is made up of two walking steps and two triple steps.

West Coast Swing vs. East Coast Swing

1. The origins of both styles

The origins of west coast swing can be traced back to the Swing era of the 1930s and 1940s.

West coast swing was initially created as a variation of Lindy Hop, which was itself a variation of Charleston.

The main difference between west coast swing and other swing dances is that it is danced in a slot, with the dancers facing each other instead of dancing in a circle like most other swing dances.

This allows for more intricate footwork and movements. 

West coast swing became popular in the 1950s when it was featured on American Bandstand, a popular television show.

It soon spread across the United States, becoming particularly popular on the west coast.

There are now west coast swing clubs and competitions all over the world.

The origins of the east coast swing are a little less clear.

Some believe that East Coast Swing (ECS) was developed in New York City during the 1930s, while others believe it originated in the 1950s.

What is certain is that it was developed as a variation of Lindy Hop.

East coast swing is danced in a square instead of a slot like west coast swing and is typically slower and less complicated than other swing dances. 

2. The music

West Coast Swing is a very versatile dance that can be done at many different speeds and styles of music.

The speed for wcs varies from 60 beats per minute (BPM) up towards 180 Bpm over the years, but now it has settled in between 90-120+ BPS with 4/4 time signature!

The most popular songs for west coast swing dancing are “634-5789” by Tower of Power, “95 south” by smokehouse, and “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5.

The music for east coast swing is usually faster than for west coast swing, with a 4/4 time signature and a tempo of around 168 BPM.

The most popular songs for east coast swing dancing are “Rock Around the Clock” by Bill Haley & His Comets, “Hound Dog” by Elvis Presley, and “Great Balls of Fire” by Jerry Lee Lewis.

3. The basic steps of each style

The basic step of the west coast swing is a 6-count starter step, which goes like this: 

For Leaders:

1-2 Step back on your left foot, then close your right foot to your left. 

3-4 Tap with your left foot, then push forward with your right foot. 

5&6 Triple steps.

For Followers do the opposite. 

Here’s a video showing you how to do it:

That’s the basic starter step! From there, you can add in other moves and steps to create different sequences and patterns.

The basic step of the east coast swing is a 6-count starter step, which goes like this: 

1 and 2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6 form the basis of the basic count for East Coast Swing. It’s known as a triple step swing.

That’s the beginning of a triple step, triple step, and a rock step.

This means that you take three steps in one direction before switching directions and taking three steps in the other direction.

The final move in the pattern is a rock step, which is simply stepping forward or backward on your own before coming back to your partner.

Here’s a video showing you how to do it:

4. Differences in body movement

West Coast Swing It’s characterized by fast footwork and a strong emphasis on hip movement. WCS dancers often use a lot of arm motion and tend to move with a more fluid, flowing motion than other forms of swing dancing.

ECS is similar to WCS, but it emphasizes leg movements and tends to be more bouncy.

Which style is right for you?

The best way to decide which style of swing dancing is right for you is to try both and see which one you like better!


Both West Coast Swing and East Coast Swing are fun and energetic forms of swing dancing that anyone can enjoy. They both have their own unique style, music, and basic steps.

The main differences are in the music, the steps, and the body movements. What style you prefer is up to you!

P.S. If you’re looking for new dance shoes, then check out our selection here!


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