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 a 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:
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 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, a 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!
What are the differences and similarities between East Coast swing and West Coast Swing?
East Coast Swing (ECS) and West Coast Swing (WCS) are both popular swing dance styles that originated in the United States.
Here are the key differences and similarities between the two:
1. Basic Rhythm:
East Coast Swing (ECS): It follows a 6-count pattern (rock-step, triple-step, triple-step), emphasizing quick, bouncy footwork.
West Coast Swing (WCS): WCS is more fluid and typically danced to 6- or 8-count patterns. It has a slower and smoother rhythm, making it more versatile for various music genres.
2. Connection and Frame:
ECS: It maintains a relatively traditional closed dance frame, with partners holding each other closely.
WCS: WCS often uses an open position, allowing for more freedom of movement and a more elastic connection between partners.
ECS: The footwork in ECS is more “triplet-based,” with three quick steps in each 6-count pattern.
WCS: WCS footwork is more “slotted,” with dancers moving back and forth along an imaginary line or “slot.” It involves walking steps and anchor steps.
4. Music and Style:
ECS: ECS is often danced to faster, upbeat music, such as traditional swing or rock and roll.
WCS: WCS is known for its adaptability to various music genres, including blues, pop, and contemporary songs, thanks to its smooth style.
ECS: ECS is considered easier for beginners due to its simpler footwork and rhythm.
WCS: WCS offers more creative opportunities for advanced dancers due to its versatility and adaptability to different musical styles.
6. Regional Variations:
Both ECS and WCS have regional variations and influences, which can lead to subtle differences in style and technique.
Both styles are part of the swing dance family and share the fundamental concept of lead and follow.
They emphasize connection and communication between partners, allowing for improvisation and variations in patterns.
Both ECS and WCS are social partner dances, encouraging interaction and fun on the dance floor.
In summary, East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing share common roots in swing dancing but differ in terms of rhythm, style, and adaptability.
ECS is often seen as an excellent starting point for beginners, while WCS offers more versatility and creative opportunities for experienced dancers.
Ultimately, the choice between the two will depend on personal preferences and the type of music and dance experience you seek.
What is the difference between Western Swing and West Coast Swing?
Western Swing and West Coast Swing are two distinct dance styles with different origins and characteristics:
1. Music and Origin:
Western Swing: Western Swing is a country music genre that originated in the southwestern United States during the 1920s and 1930s. It’s characterized by a mix of country, jazz, and big band music.
West Coast Swing: West Coast Swing is a partner dance that evolved from Lindy Hop in the 1940s on the West Coast of the United States, particularly in California. It is danced to various music, including pop, blues, and contemporary songs.
2. Dance Style:
Western Swing: Western Swing is primarily a music genre, and while people may dance to Western Swing music, it doesn’t have a standardized dance associated with it.
West Coast Swing: West Coast Swing is a well-defined partner dance style characterized by a slotted and linear movement pattern focusing on connection, improvisation, and adaptation to various music genres.
3. Dance Technique:
Western Swing: There is no specific dance technique associated with it, as it’s primarily a music genre.
West Coast Swing: West Coast Swing has a specific dance technique, including a unique connection between partners, footwork patterns, and a recognizable dance frame.
In summary, Western Swing is a music genre, while West Coast Swing is a partner dance style. They differ in their origins, dance techniques, and purposes, with Western Swing being a musical genre and West Coast Swing being a social dance.
What are the characteristics of the East Coast swing?
East Coast Swing (ECS) is a lively and energetic partner dance style that evolved from Lindy Hop and is known for its upbeat and bouncy feel. Here are its key characteristics:
Rhythm: ECS follows a 6-count pattern with a “rock-step, triple-step, triple-step” structure. It’s known for its syncopated footwork and quick steps.
Frame: Dancers typically maintain a closed dance frame, with partners holding each other closely.
Footwork: ECS involves quick footwork, including triple steps and rock steps, which create a playful and buoyant quality.
Music: It is often danced to fast-paced swing and big band music, making it a high-energy and lively dance.
Character: ECS is known for its fun and carefree style, making it a favorite at social dance events and weddings.
Versatility: It can be adapted to various tempos and musical styles, making it accessible to dancers of all levels.
East Coast Swing is a social dance that’s relatively easy for beginners to pick up, making it a great entry point into the world of swing dancing.
Why is West Coast Swing so popular?
West Coast Swing (WCS) has gained popularity for several reasons:
Versatility: WCS is incredibly versatile, allowing dancers to adapt their style to various music genres, including pop, blues, R&B, and contemporary songs. This versatility makes it suitable for various social settings and events.
Connection: WCS emphasizes a strong connection between dance partners, fostering clear communication and enabling creative improvisation. This connection creates a unique and intimate dance experience.
Innovation: WCS continually evolves, with dancers and instructors introducing new moves, patterns, and styling. This innovation keeps the dance fresh and exciting.
Community: WCS has a vibrant and welcoming global community of dancers, fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie among enthusiasts.
Competitions: WCS competitions and events allow dancers to showcase their skills and connect with others who share their passion.
Adaptability: Its adaptable nature allows WCS to stay relevant and appealing to dancers of all ages and skill levels.
These factors contribute to the enduring popularity of West Coast Swing in the dance world.
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- Beginners, Dancing for. “Learn Basic Swing Steps.” Learn Basic Swing Steps, www.dancing4beginners.com, https://www.dancing4beginners.com/swing/. Accessed 20 May 2022.
- Online, West Coast Swing. “West Coast Swing Music | Your Ultimate Resource for WCS Music.” West Coast Swing Online, www.westcoastswingonline.com, 25 Apr. 2020, https://www.westcoastswingonline.com/west-coast-swing-music/.
- “West Coast Swing – Wikipedia.” West Coast Swing – Wikipedia, en.wikipedia.org, 12 Aug. 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Coast_Swing.