Swingdance, 100 years on...
With it’s roots back in down town Harlem NY, swing dance hit the UK during WW2 with an explosion of jazz and swing that provided an emotional escape for young people. This created a cultural revolution allowing them to abandon their worries and to immerse themselves in the magic of social dancing and music. Nearly 100 years later, the swing dance fever is back uniting and connecting us on and off the dance floor.
Whatever your age, join our community, learn to dance, and step forward in time and on to the dance floor to recreate and transform this magic called Swing Dance!
Lindy Hop is the Grand Father of the swing dance family and was originally an American dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. It was very popular during the Swing era of the late 1930s and early 1940s and was brought here during WW2 by the GIs. Lindy Hop can be danced at many speeds and in a variety of styles but the magic of Lindy Hop is its close connection to the syncopations in jazz and swing music and the energy that dancers create.
Most people start with Lindy Hop, get hooked then start to explore the other styles.
Balboa (original Balboa or Pure-Bal) is a dance that originated in Southern California during the 1920s and 1930s and has now evolved to include Swing Balboa which means dancers can release to a more ‘open’ hold allowing freedom and individual interpretation. Usually danced to faster swing and jazz music it is an ideal dance to fall back on when the tempos pick up. Its cute, stylish and extremely musical and I refer to it as the Tango of Swing in its intricate connections and ‘teamwork’ between partners. Its perfect for dancing to traditional or New Orleans or Dixie Jazz and we also use it when dancing to fast rock and roll.
The Charleston is a dance named for the harbor city of Charleston, South Carolina. The rhythm was popularized in mainstream dance music in the United States by a 1923 tune called “The Charleston” by composer/pianist James P. Johnson.
Immortalized by the popular TV Show Strictly Come Dancing it is now a ‘must do’ dance for us all. Its perfect for bouncy, catchy, cheeky tunes from any era and can be performed solo or with a partner and is used to add character to Lindy Hop. we use Charleston in our performance pieces as it can be flamboyant and fun to watch and once you have the basic step – anyone can do it!
The Collegiate Shag (or “Shag”) is a partner dance done primarily to uptempo swing and pre-swing jazz music (185-200+ beats per minute). It belongs to the swing family of American vernacular dances that arose in the 1920s and 30s.
It is believed that the dance originated in the Carolinas in the 1920s and later spreading across the United States during the 1930s. Its not for the feint hearted but so much fun. High in energy, high in humour and high on our list to develop here in Milton Keynes.
Jazz and swing owe their existence to original blues and blues is a huge part of the swing dance heritage.
Swing Blues is danced to slower tempos and while it uses many of the shapes and footwork from Lindy Hop and Balboa it has a heart beat and life of its own.
Swing blues tends to be more expressive than raunchy, more creative than sensual and is a great way to cool down at the end of intense evening of dancing.