Swing Discussion Boards > About Some ECS/Lindy Comparisons and Contrasts

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Spitfire, Feb 27, 2005.

  1. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I can go and see a movie like "Dumb and Dumber" and laugh at the bodily fluid and slapstick humor. I can go and see a movie like "Napolean Dynamite" and laugh and think, and appreciate the subtlety. ECS is fun because it is simple, uncomplicated. It allows me to hold a pleasant converstaion with my partner. It shooting fish in a barrel, it doesn't cause me to grow, it doesn't challenge me. I can do it with anyone, whether they are even trying to follow me or not. Whether the music swings, sways, pulses, throbs, etc.

    Yes you can have fun with it. ECS is potato chips. Tasty, but in the long run empty calories. Lindy Hop is a balanced seven course meal. Think Merengue and Salsa Or even better think bronze tango versus gold. ECS is the easiest steps in lindy hop, simplified more. Literally.
  2. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Thanks for the confirmation Damon.

    This also explains why ECS doesn't exist as ECS outside of the U.S., since ECS is part of the American "Rhythm" category in the U.S. and not the "Latin" category danced internationally.
  3. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Exactly... the equivelent is Jive of course... which is not so much a derivitive of lindy hop as a dance inspired by lindy hop. WWII US military personal and USO dances etc. etc. Without learning the Lindy Hop the European/British copied what they saw and it developed on its own into what is now called Jive. (for a very short, very generalized summation)
  4. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    Basically, I agree with d nice on this.
    I'm the type of person who likes things that are challenging - I'm a grad student, I only read dense, classic literature, and I despise movies like "Dumb and Dumber."
    As I mentioned, I started with ECS, and I thoroughly enjoyed it ... for awhile. And then, I needed more. I have friends who started at the same time as me, and although they've learned lindy, they're still perfectly happy with ECS. Different strokes for different folks, right?
  5. luh

    luh Active Member

    there is a lot in there, so I'm gonna make parts out of it.

    first thing i have to say to this is, what is bad with easy ness? It can't all be tough. And if it would be, there would be a lot less people dancing swing I'd say. And even if things are easy, they can be a lot of fun!

    second thing i have to say is, that if you actually "learn", "all" moves, than you can't be a to good ECS dancer. I don't want to offend you, but it can't be true what you're saying. Because you can't learn all moves. Because there are moves created every day! That is a cool part about swing, you can always create something. you're not limited to the stuff which they teach you - so don't tell me you learned all moves!

    i think you didn't understand the ECS, sorry. If you would you wouldn't be talking about it like that.

    you can very good disregard rythm, and music in lidny too. But every GOOD dancer doesn't do it, but it's the same with ECS.

    well but that's not the fault of ECS, that's the fault of who teaches it.
    A good taught and danced ECS takes at least as much power as lindy.

    That just popped into my mind:
    Today i got an email of a friend from the US. He is in a club, teaching. And he told me that they have some problems with their newcomers, cause the think they already know how to swing, and teach and too, and the old ones in the club think it's wrong, because the mess-up the everything in the dance.

    another disagree i have here. I think it's pretty heavy duty, that you tell your students, that THIS is the right way to do it.
    There are a lot of ways to do it, and there are a lot of ways to do it wrong. But there is just not ONE way which is correct, there are certain correct ways.

    i got somewhat offended. And i answered pretty harsh probably too. Don't mean to offend either.

    Thanks for telling me too, that I'm not a good dancer. (I haven't figured out how you concluded something like that, but that's what you say in your last sentence). I hope that explains maybe as a part-of-a-reason why i got offended. (It's never a good idea to call someone a bad dancer if you have no clue of him, and than think that he won't be offended)

    I just have to add, that I'm actually a good lindy dancer, which is not just a thing i say, i really mean it. I'd love to show you!
  6. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    If you'd continue reading, you'd note that I mentioned there is nothing wrong with something easy. Some people like things that are easy, some people need more of a challenge.

    Quite frankly, a matter of semantics, and taking things extremely literally. Also, most "new" moves that are created already exist. I've seen it time and time again. By "all," understand that to mean those moves which are regularly taught and danced.

    Well, have you spent time perusing vintage swing clips, from the 30's and 40's? If so, could you please tell me where I can find someone doing the tabletop or pretzel? Because I've never witnessed that. It is, however, a fact that a lot of these moves came from Country Western dancing.

    If I understand you correctly, we disagree. You cannot actually be good at either (or any) dance and disregard correct rhythm. THe point I was making is that most people who dance ECS do disregard rhythm - which makes them poor dancers of any sort.
    Fair enough, and I've been arguing this last point for years. But, most people, at least in my experience, who dance ECS, do not take a lot of lessons - they learn the basic steps, and never get to a point where they are interested in technique. This has absolutely nothing to do with the teachers, but with the culture involved with ECS and swing dancing in a lot of clubs.

    Yes, and we stress that every week. The point was - the way the student demonstrated WAS NOT one of the right ways, and the way we were teaching WAS.

    You may want to re-examine your post then.
  7. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    Comparing east coast to movies such as "Dumb and Dumber" which I don't like either, is rather upsetting.

    So it is simple people like simple dances? (I have an MA in History, friends we east coast with include a PhD in Physics, another who teaches college Chemistry, a paralegal, a computer tech, etc.) But I guess I am out of my league on this dance forum.

    I am more in agreement with 16 year old Luh, welcome, Luh!
  8. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    Not what I said - or meant. I happen to enjoy challenges in all aspects of my life. Some people don't. That doesn't mean they aren't intelligent, it just means they have different preferences.

    Most people do tend to enjoy some sort of progression - you start with one dance (any dance), and after a while, you want something more - you try a different dance, take further instruction in the dance you know, etc., and this improves you as a dancer. There is nothing inherently wrong with loving ECS, just different people want different things out of dancing.
  9. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Damon's merengue:salsa = ECS:Lindy analogy made alot of sense to me. The basic structure of the first member of each pair is less complicated as far as basic structure. Fine. But this in no way dictates the level of technique with which one can dance either. Personally I don't like dancing merengue with most partners as I find it less interesting as far as rhythm and the connections I generate as a result of that... and I can well imagine that the same would hold true for a Lindy based dancer regarding ECS. At the same time, however, I recognize that the right connection with certain rare partners makes for a great merengue just so long as I don't think of it a a "dumbed down" version of salsa (which, historically and developmentally speaking, it in no way is anyway!).

    But this is also my perosnal taste! Others prefer merengue and while I can say that I find it less rhythmically complex (and don't typically enjoy dancing it as much) I can't call it less of a dance. Just my 2 pesos...

    [As an aside... I think it only fair to recognize that English is not the first language of everyone participating on the DF and that some leeway and allowances need to be made for this.]
  10. genie

    genie New Member

    Luh, my apologies for seeming harsh in my post. I certainly did not intend to direct my comments to anyone in particular and I hope that you did not take it as such.

    I do not doubt that you are a great dancer with both lindy and east coast. You could probably teach me a thing or two, but my love is with lindy and since I have been dancing for so long and I've been there, done that, I have since decided that I will do minimal east coast since there are other moves I'd rather do. I think east coast has gotten a bad rap partially because in most dance communities, you really only see the first time beginners doing it. Advanced dancers tend not to respect east coast very much and people pretty much follow whatever the top dancers say, do and think.

    I'd say more, but I have a headache now. This thread is like Verbal Wimbeldon. I think I need to go lie down for a while...
  11. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    I would be interested to know the average age of the posters on this thread. I think someone did a survey here a few months back, and most posters were way under 40. I would guess that most of those were exposed to EC Swing only as a prep course before going into the Lindy Hop which experienced a renaissance about 15-20 years ago, after basically disappearing from the world dance conciousness with the evolution of Jazz music and the introduction of Rock & Roll music.

    One of the posters on this thread stated that EC Swing ignores the rhythm of the music. I am assuming they are referring to 30's and early 40's Swing music which was based on 8 count phrases. Since the EC basic is 6 counts it will be off rhythm for three 8 count phrases.

    I don't know exactly when EC Swing was "made up" by the ballroom crowd, but I would assume it was at the tail end of the swing era when it went from something only blacks danced (therefore NOT danced by the white mainstream) to the overwhelmingly popular dance of the era. Dance has to be tamed before it can be sold to old fogie ballroom dancers (this is a joke, I hope you know, but true nontheless). By this time the music was already changing. When Rock & Roll hit it wasn't always 8 count phrasing. EC fits very well with a lot of Rock music.

    I was only born in 1958 so I have to rely on history too, but look at the dancing they did on American Bandstand (if you are old enough to remember it). There might have been a few Lindy Hoppers in there, but when I was growing up I only remember seeing EC Swing.

    I would say EC Swing or regional variations were the main Swing being danced from the 50's until the early 90's. It was only in the mid 80's that people when looking for the original dancers of the Lindy Hop to recreate the dance.

    So EC Swing or Jitterbug was the MAIN form of swing dancing for 40 years before Lindy Hop made its return. Something doesn't stay around for 40 years just because it is easy. It has to be fun, and challenging enough to keep dancers dancing.

    Keep in mind that Lindy Hop probably existed all that time also in isolated pockets, just as West Coast Swing survived in California, but for the general population of the US, let alone the World, it didn't exist.

    To the poster who stated that the average dancer could learn all there was to know about EC Swing in a year, all I can say is :uplaugh: ROFLMAO. MAYBE if they were studying/practicing full time. The same goes for any of the other forms of Swing.

    The most intriguing thing about EC Swing is that it can adapt all kinds of different moves into its timing. People who love arm wraps, tucks, ducks, and tunnels can be dancing right beside someone else who likes lots of heel pops and heel toe combinations; and beside someone else who likes spins. Several of Lindy Hops basic moves exist in EC Swing modified to fit the style of music it was danced to, just as the WC Swing whip is modified from the same step.

    And EC Swing doesn't have to stay 6 count. It can also be 8, 10, 12 beats whatever the combination of moves calls for.

    International Jive is not all that different from EC Swing. It is just danced to a fast tempo and has an emphasis on endurance since it is always the last dance in an International Latin competition, so it focuses on fast flicks, kicks, and high knees just to prove that the dancers are in condition, and to highlight those who can't keep up.

    I like all forms of Swing. I wouldn't compare EC Coast/Lindy Hop to Dumb and Dumber/Art Movie.

    I would compare EC Swing/WC Swing/Lindy/Jive/Shag/Balboa/Hand Dancing/etc. to different forms of pasta dishes. Spaghetti, Lasagna, Fetuccini Alfredo, etc. All tasty dishes but everyone has a different favorite. And your favorite is YOUR favorite.
  12. Alias

    Alias Member

    Hey ... even 13 ... but 13 is not even!

    The fundamental unit of swing dance music has a duration of two beats ending on an even beat, then the count duration of a move should be even (that is a multiple of two).

    I guess you know what you do and manage it well (for example you can freeze between 13 and 14, and start the next move on 14, that's ok, but I'd say the count is 14 then), but it could mistake some unaware readers.
  13. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    If you got a CD with "Fascinating Rhytm" (i.e performed by Benny Goodman), count the beats of melody. It has one segment that repeats itself twice. It's seven beats, and then repeats itself. Imagine you have a pattern matching those beats and doing it twice, matching the music. Wouldn't you have a seven beat pattern repeated twice? Should such a move not be danced because it isn't a multiple of two? Or is such a pattern not possible? I don't think so.

    I agree with you that the fundamental unit is two beats and that most moves should start on an odd count (not to be confused with leading on two, which is something else). But I also agree with d nice that this is not absolute requirement, and if you got a move that works well on thirteen beats (I don't), then go ahead and use it. Just like musicians may use a musical pattern that has an odd number of beats.
  14. Swingolder

    Swingolder New Member

    Well said, bjp, and logical.
    I know I shouldn't but I start to worry if I think people are going to ridicule me because I am dancing something so "simple" as east coast. I am an 'over 40' dancer and, after a slow start, have gotten pretty confident when I am out dancing. I am afraid that confidence could evaporate if I thought most people thought I was doing ec because I couldn't do anything with more value.
    I am also at an age where I like to think I don't have to be challenged to have fun. I went through a lot to get where I am and now want to enjoy myself.
  15. DWise1

    DWise1 Well-Known Member

    [disclaimer]Just using your post as a springboard into this part of the thread. My post is not intended as a criticism of yours, etc, etc, etc.[/disclaimer]

    In my x2b's work (Kindergarten teacher now teaching special ed pre-school), they speak of the students having "multiple intelligences" and try to reach them by engaging as many of those "multiple intelligences" as they can; eg, visual, aural, tactile, small-muscle activity, large-muscle activity, etc. A student could be "simple" and even a bit retarded (probably a term teachers are supposed to frown upon, but then I am not a teacher) in one "intelligence" and yet very adept at another.

    So while it may seem that simple people would only be able to handle simple dances, a "simple" person could very well be adept at complex dances if that is where his/her intelligences lie. Besides, as I've been reminded and have demonstrated to myself many times, if you think too much while dancing then you're just going to mess yourself up (eg, I'd keep getting myself confused trying to figure out how to maintain a turning box step in Rhumba while leading her in a turn). So maybe a "simple" person has the advantage in dancing.

    There's also the case in which a person of greater intelligence wants something simple. I am above average in intelligence and work in a mentally-intensive profession (software engineering). When I affilliated with the Naval Reserve, I was assigned to a warehousing unit "kicking boxes". I actually enjoyed taking that one weekend out of the month to do some "good mindless work"; it was a refreshing change of pace for me.

    Similarly, a few weeks ago I finally was taught the Electric Slide (there's a thread on it here from that time). It's the simplest line dance I've ever seen, yet I was glad to have learned it, because that way when people are dancing it I can now join in.

    And "simple" dances can also becoming surprisingly complex. The footwork in Country Two Step is rather simple -- simple enough to be danced by drunken cowboys, we were taught -- and yet I find the armwork that I need to remember and to lead to be very challenging, as well as gauging my own speed and position in order to keep her progressing at a constant rate. It's a simple dance that is not simple. I believe the same can be said for merengue.

    People have different motivations and the same person can even have different motivations for different dances.

    Yes, there is the motivation to take on challenges to improve one's dancing skill and to grow as a dancer. But there's also the motivation of just wanting to have fun. Lindy is challenging and I am learning a lot in it and have so much more to learn, but it's fun to get out there and play with ECS; last year I was actually starting to stress so much over trying to get it right that I fell into a devastating months-long slump of near zero confidence, until some friends took me out dancing for fun.

    One ulterior motive I have as a fledgling dater (at 53) is to learn as many dances as I can in order to be more "marketable" to potential dates. At the same time, since I had started dancing late in life (at 48), I am also trying to prevent the recurrance of one particularly painful evening sitting alone while everybody else was dancing; I want to be able to get up and dance in almost any social situation (see the remark above about Electric Slide) -- though I would probably draw the line at hip-hop and grinding. Combining those two motives, I would want to be able to dance with any one of my future dates, which means that I would need to be prepared to handle -- er, entertain -- follows from a wide variety of dancing backgrounds.
  16. blue

    blue New Member

    If so, d nice has claimed to be simple... because he said he can laugh at "Dumb and Dumber". I can't, but I don't think that makes me a better or less simple person than him.

    I live in the country where social partner dancing is a tradition that never died. The popular dances of today are extremely simple - a derivate of foxtrot that makes the ballroomers look away in disgust, plus our "bugg" that I think is the simplest version of lindy derivative there is around the globe. We even have a special music style made to be simple to dance to; hardly anyone listens to it if they don't dance, the whole point of it is it should be easy to spot the rhythm and so it is not very sophisticated - quite the opposite.

    No doubt, ECS is a lot more sophisticated than the "foxtrot" and "bugg" that ordinare swedes do. The point is though, they do it! We do have a living partner dancing culture, more so than most European countries. I am an exception who went from never having danced in my whole life to lindy hop and argentine tango. Most swedes who dance, have done some of this swedish combination; those who dig deeply into bugg will often grow tired of it and continue with boogie woogie and/or lindy. Hadn't it been for the more simple dances, a lot fewer people would have found the more sophisticated ones - you know, one starts out on lighter drugs and end up doing the really heavy stuff. ;)

    I think it's cool that we have this tradition of popular, easy social dances. One day I should learn some bugg, just to be a more social creature - that's how useful these two dances are around here. It is also cool that there are more demanding dances.

    Before I started with lindy I met a girl who had been doing it for a year or possibly less. She talked about how complicated it was like if that was a merit in itself, how she needed to think about sixcounts and eightcounts while dancing. No, I don't think being complex is a merit in itself. Some lindy people think too much. Maybe some of them actually should be doing something simpler, where they wouldn't have to distinguish between six- and eightcounts; then maybe they could relax and have fun to the music, instead of trying to meet up to all those standars to what makes a decent lindy dancer.

    I haven't seen ECS, but if it is a lot more simple than lindy - then I think it serves a very good purpose.
  17. Alias

    Alias Member

    Just to specify further (sorry to be off topic):
    I guess you mean here an odd count as the duration between an even count (instant) and the next odd count (instant), but for me a start is rather an instant.

    I formulated as "ending on an even beat" as I am aware of the instant versus duration dual-pupose of beats and counts, but I could have said "The fundamental unit of swing dance music has a duration of two beats (duration) starting on an even beat (instant) and ending on an even beat (instant)", the end instant of one unit is the start instant of the next unit, then for me a move starts on an even count (instant) and ends on an even count (instant).
    I sometimes wonder if only mathematician consider that the beginning is at number 0 (and not at number 1) because people (even in music) seem to consider the beginning at number 1, however one's life begins on birth and not on the first birthday anniversary.

    It's not just rhetoric because it's the way I deal with music (when dancing), going from global (structure) to local (event) subdividing in smaller units, then (in swing dance music) I get the fundamental unit (the start and end instants (even beats) as well as the duration (two beats)) before the odd beat (instant) which I get by dividing in two the fundamental unit, that is I get 0 and 2 before the 1 (note for salsa dancers, this same method would lead to find the 2 before the 1).

    By the way what is "leading on two"?
  18. luh

    luh Active Member

    what a boring dance. Just the usual and taught stuff. I'd never be able to dance with that. I got a lot taught, but without making stuff up, it wouldn't be that fun.

    I don't think we really disagree on this one, just a simple misunderstanding.
    I meant, that you can disregard very easyly rythm and music in lindy and in ecs, but I wasn't meaning, that you could a good dancer if you would do that! "Every GOOD dancer doesn't do it"

    I wish everything would be as simple as this one.

    I'd say it's the teachers, not the culture around ECS

    well than don't tell me and your students, that THIS is the right way. Tell especially your students, that there are different ways that are correct. Show them, and point out, that there are a lot of wrong ways too, and correct him if neccessary.

    i guess answering was the better solution

    Thanks for the welcome. Welcome too. It's good to know that I'm not the only one. It's getting tough, not to think of everything I teach as a bad.
  19. luh

    luh Active Member

    Unbelievable you really said that.
    It's somehow weird to me, how you can do this, but anyway:
    I think you shouldn't judge those who like ECS, as people, not moving, not learning.
    I get more and more the strong feeling you really didn't understand the ECS at all. So I'm going to try to explain it now to you:

    Progression isn't just a thing you can do in lindy. And there is a lot to reach in ECS! Growing is very hard progress, especially if you think you reached the top - than you just started to scratch it a tiny little bit.

  20. luh

    luh Active Member


    Well, there is always someone who is going to try to dominate others opinion. The good thing is: You got your on brain - Think for yourself! ;)

    And I can tell you something:
    Every GOOD dancer, will include as many swing dances while he is dancing as possible. Just to give an example.
    When I'm dancing:
    I do at least Lindy and Charleston (just because that's the only ones they know over here - a little sad), but there are few people which know how to shag, and ecs too.
    And when I'm dancing with those, I'm always doing ECS, Shag, Lindy and charleston!

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