Swing Discussion Boards > Opinions of Lindy/WCS/Jive Communities on Each Other

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Apache, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. Silveralsa

    Silveralsa New Member

    I learned Hollywood/Dean Collins style of Lindy, which was on balls of feet. Though, different moves can definitely change things to the basic.
  2. Apache

    Apache Member

    Haha, say that to Peter Loggins sometime and prepare to get a history lecture. But on a tangent you are a lucky follow, to learn Dean's Smooth Style these days usually requires expensive privates from the very few teachers who know it well these days. Maybe once I have the funds aka a job it would be something I would persue.

    But to get back on topic, I would love to hear more opinions from people who actually dance Jive because it seems like we have a lot of feedback from WCS dancers and Lindy Hoppers.
  3. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    I'll just comment that I've seen a lot of bashing on the part of lindy dancers of WCS and ballroom and vice versa, but I also see a lot of crossover. I believe what happens is that there are many people who after becoming proficient at one dance then become interested in trying out other styles and perhaps some grow weary of doing just one dance and want some variety.
  4. Flat Shoes

    Flat Shoes New Member

    Usually when one prefers one dance over the other, there is something you like better about that dance. For me it doesn't mean Lindy is a better dance, but there are elements of Lindy I like better, and elements of WCS I like less.

    That's just how it has to be. :)
  5. Apache

    Apache Member

    Well that is true, but how about in the case of people who for many years dance mainly only one dance and do not go down the crossover route? I know in some Balboa communities there are people there who have only danced mainly that dance for 20+ years.
  6. Joy In Motion

    Joy In Motion Active Member

    I wholeheartedly agree. So sad to hear people bashing another dance or propogating stereotypes without having any experience with that particular dance. Even if you do have experience but just don't enjoy it very much, it could be that it just doesn't fit you as well as another dance does. Doesn't mean there's anything wrong with the dance itself.

    I do find that the majority of people end up finding one in particular that fits them the best. For me, perhaps someday I might end up settling into one for the most part (anything can happen), but I am one of those rarer dancers who finds herself equally drawn to several and can't commit to doing just one. There are others who just jump around to all different types, but typically they don't really get deep into any of them and most of their dances end up all looking the same without regard for the distintiveness of each. I really enjoy getting deep into each of them. While there are similarities between them, I find that the true essence of each lies in those differences.
  7. Lyndee

    Lyndee New Member

    I know the last reply on this thread was a while ago, but I haven't been to the forums in a while, and I'll weigh in on this topic.

    I don't know any jive dancers and am not really familiar with jive in general, other than on DWTS, so I don't have an opinion about that.

    I am a lindy dancer (as is obvious by my cheesy forum name). In my dance circle, WCS dancers, or "westies", as my group calls them in a somewhat derogatory way, are seen as kind of lame...like WCS is embarrassingly easy, or something. They're always joking around about WCS dancers.

    I myself have tried WCS a few times, and I found it to be quite a challenge. This might be because I'm used to lindy, but I don't really understand why my lindy friends think "westies" are so lame. It's just a different dance and a different style. I happen to like lindy better, but I don't think anyone should be putting down anyone's preferred dance.

    I do have a few friends that dance both lindy and WCS and love both, but most of my lindy group seems to think that people only dance WC if they aren't good enough for lindy. (I know some pretty snobby dancers).

    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I have nothing against any other dancer, but there are some people out there who may not be as open-minded about it.
  8. Iolane

    Iolane New Member

    I dance ECS which I consider similar to jive as far as communities go since they are both ballroom. I agree with those who say there is not really a jive or ECS community; ECS is just one of 5 dances that I learn for competition. I don't consider myself to be a part of the ECS community any more than I consider myself to be a part of the cha cha, rumba, bolero or mambo communities.

    I've taken a lindy lesson or two, and while I think it looks awesome when done right, it's just not my thing. How the body moves and the general posture of the dance runs completely counter to what I am used to in ballroom (not just ECS but all the dances.) I am a person who wants to be good at whatever I do, and I don't think I have enough time to dedicate to keep progressing in ballroom while learning to do lindy the proper way.

    WCS on the other hand comes to me a bit easier and I think that's because the way the body moves is more similar to ballroom than lindy is. I still don't love the dance, but I find it relatively easy to pick up.

    In reagards to all the bad mouthing by one community of another, I heard a ballroom dancer reply to a lindy hopper who criticized ECS as easy say, "I may not be able to do what you do, as well as you do it, but you can't do what I do as well as I do it either." Basically referring to the fact that ECS/jive is just a small portion of all that a competitive rhytm/latin dancer needs to know.

    I respect all dancers, whether I like the style of dancing or not. I really don't get this idea that one style or community is better than another.
  9. Beto

    Beto Active Member

    I may go slightly off topic here with my experiences in lindy, blues and WCS...

    Ditto. A friend of mine who's a lindy instructor and DJ jokes about WCS. "West Coast Swing? Sure, I'll learn that when I reach retirement age." She is joking. I think. ;)

    *raises hand in the air* I've done salsa/mambo for 10 years and other than brief forays into WCS 5-6 years ago and Argentine Tango 4 years ago I am beyond burned out. I'll still dance it but never again on a weekly or monthly basis.

    Ugh. I'd never want to be one of those people. Maybe that's snobby on my part but I need variety.

    Maybe it's a honeymoon phase for me in dancing but I absolutely *LOVE* blues dancing since getting exposed to in February and dancing it regularly since April. I feel an emotional connection to the music and to the dance. I don't know if I ever felt that with salsa and mambo. Fun, exhilarating and exciting yes, but emotionally? I can't say.

    Got into lindy in August and am slowly building up my skills there and got back into WCS in October. Loving the variety in the dances but have to remember to adjust my posture when switching from blues/lindy to WCS.

    And we now return you back to your regularly scheduled topic already in progress...
  10. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    People who do so are not only less open minded, but perhaps also insecure and self doubting. Have any of these "bashers" actually tried learning WCS or any other form that they want to remark negatively on or do they just close their minds to something that is different and dismiss as being too simplistic?

    Is there any dance that can't be taken to a more complex and challenging level depending on how far one wants to go with it?
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    These quotes are from various years and sources.

    1960 Ed Long
    Like Argentine Tango and, to a lesser degree, Mambo, it is in the category of a dignified "show-off" dance not within the scope of the average student to do well without considerable practice. Attempts to over-simplify foot movements and to overlook style features - to enable students capable of good Lindy and Jive to learn the steps of this dance as "added variations" - have slowed immeasurably the appearance of its true form on ballroom floors throughout the country."

    1971 Butler
    Western Swing is for the advanced dancer rather than the beginner or intermediate student. This is the answer for "What to do after advanced Lindy".

    1988 Hutchinson
    During the fifties the track style became most popular among the serious Swing dancers and was called Western Swing in the west and Carolina Shag in the south. In 1959, the California dance organizations changed the name of Western Swing to West Coast Swing so it would not be confused with country and western dancing.

    In the wake of its popularity, the West Coast Swing style became the "swing Dancer’s dance.

    As West Coast Swing became the Swing dancer’s dance in the late 1940s..."

    It is a complicated and demanding dance...
  12. Spitfire

    Spitfire Well-Known Member

    This reminds me, a teacher at one of the studios where I first started told me some years later that at the time WCS was only being taught to the more advance students at this studio. Was that pretty much the case many years ago?
  13. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Ha Ha, I haven't been dancing THAT long. I'm just trying to pin down the history, as it's been recorded in books, articles, and on film.
    Maybe TangoTime or Uncle Joe will come along and answer this one since they both were around then and teaching.
    I will say, though that Lauré Haile's notes state that students should be able to dance the first four or five figures of the Bronze level in all three rhythms: single, double, and triple. That tells me that being an advanced dancer was expected.

    What I'm seeing is that over the years the ability to, say, dance "half time to the "too fast for Jive" thing has completely gone out of the vocabulary.
    The "simplification" of the dance has made it more accessible, and popular over the years, I think.
  14. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Please help me, my English left me: Is track style the same as in the slot, in-line?

    Thx in advance
  15. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, track style is the same as in the slot, in-line.

    One thing I'm seeing, is that, although many dances/styles of swing are tracked or slotted, West Coast Swing (originally known as Western Swing) places a premium on staying in the same slot on the floor. Laure Haile hits that pretty hard in her notes.
    Dean Collins and other dancers on film, and in notes by Joe Lanza, are free to change the direction of the slot. One of my projects is to actually count the number of times they can be seen changing the orientation of the slot, since no one else seems to believe this is happening.
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    One other historic note is that what was then known as Western Swing was also called "Smooth Swing" or "Sophisticated Swing". I guess that would be in contrast to, you know, those other swing dancers.
    The 1960 material states further that "it has become known as a "college age" dance".
    There's been a bit of a role reversal here, because now I think young people when I think Lindy Hop, and older people when I think WCS.

    Then there is this, also by Ed Long who had his own dance "Academy" in Bellevue, WA (It's still there, although he himself has passed away.)
    "Western Swing, in complexity, is an absolutely smooth precision "emotional" dance"
  17. slinkiness

    slinkiness New Member

    I don't consider myself active in lindy hop, but I've taken two quarters of beginner lindy classes and sometimes attend lindy hop dances. I'm active in West Coast swing and in International ballroom. Jive is part of ballroom Latin, so the jive community is the ballroom community.

    In my dance circle there is a lot of crossover between lindy hop and West Coast swing. I've read about lindy hoppers' complaints about WCS not being really swing but never actually heard anyone say it.

    Among the ballroom dancers in my circle, I'm the one who is most into WCS. Some of the other ballroom dancers think WCS looks cool and take classes in it when offered by the club, but focus mainly on ballroom. Others don't really get improvisation or don't like WCS dancers' less upright posture. When it comes to lindy hop, their consensus is that lindy hop looks awkward.

    I like West Coast swing's elastic look and more casual nature. I also like the funky, bluesy music. I do ballroom dancing because I enjoy working on the technique, and I've found that I like competition. I compete in West Coast swing as well, but because WCS competitions are mostly on the official circuit, while my ballroom competitions are on the much smaller collegiate circuit, I can see some results and measurable progress in ballroom.

    I don't really like the look of lindy hop, but I'm not worse at it than at jive. I guess I kind of agree with my ballroom friends that lindy hop tends to look awkward.

    I've also done modern jive (ceroc). In fact, it was one of the first dances I learned because I happen to be at one of the only places in the US where ceroc is popular. I'm not all that into ceroc, but I enjoy learning flashy moves and poses that aren't part of the ballroom syllabus.
  18. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    I would be willing to bet that EC Swing is, BY FAR, the most common type of swing in the US. It may have started in a studio as a modified version of Lindy but it has become a valid dance on it's own in the 60-70 years it's been out in the public arena. It's the easiest swing dance to teach a boy- or girlfriend, sister or brother, son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, niece or nephew.

    It's the gateway dance most often taught before swing dances to get newbies on the floor.

    Lindy has had a renaissance, and I hope it never dies back again but it is still mostly a regional dance in areas with large enough populations to sustain a dance scene long enough to attain some competence in the dance. It doesn't come overnight.

    WC Swing, at least in the NW, has had a longer popularity and most "swing" clubs before the Lindy revival were WC. It also needs time to learn and perfect. Because it is in the ballroom curricula it has had a wider exposure over time than Lindy.

    I liken Lindy and WC to two strands of Jazz, which have gone off in different directions. They have the same DNA, but they have enough differences that dancers can have preferences about them.

    Lindy is very rooted in the swing music of the original era and the contemporary music that follows the swing music genre.

    WC developed along with other offshoots of swing and jazz music - Rock n Roll, Blues, R&B. It has tended to follow the popular music of the day, and is continuing to do so now. WC is the style that I think is currently changing and developing the most.

    Lindy and WC are street dances, relying on the dancers themselves for innovations in the dance rather than structured changes in syllabi.

    Jive is a stylized compilation of all three of these swing genres. Those moves that comform to the set competition tempo and musical stye of JIVE are encorporated. Everything else is ignored. You can think of Jive in a similar vein as Paso Doble. When was the last time someone busted out a Paso anywhere other than a competition or ballroom dance?

    They all have their exponents or they wouldn't be danced.

    They have such different skill sets though, that I am not surprised the groups don't overlap more.

    It would be like trying to learn Argentine, American, and International Tango all at the same time and not bleeding one technique into the other. It would be doable, but would take a LOT of work.

    Maybe we should change the phrase Live and Let Live to Swing and Let Swing!
  19. Beto

    Beto Active Member

  20. Ithink

    Ithink Active Member

    Your post makes me think we're dance twins separated at birth;) Just agree with everything you said (except I've never been exposed to Ceroc).

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