Swing Discussion Boards > Swing Dances and Swing Dances

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by pygmalion, Feb 1, 2004.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This finally partially clicked for me yesterday, so I figured I'd start a thread on it today.

    In the U.S., ballroom and otherwise, there are a ton of so-called swing dances -- you know, ECS, WCS, bop, shag, lindy, balboa.

    But if you talk about swing dances in Europe, chances are people will think of waltz or foxtrot.

    So question. What do the two have in common? What makes a swing dance, of either description, swing?


  2. suek

    suek New Member

    Sigh. I wish those ballroom-ers would leave our terminology alone! I cringe when I hear the word "Swing" used to describe "sway." Sorry, I don't have time to sugarcoat this opinion. (see previous post about thinning populations...speaking of thinning, my waist measurement starts with a "2" for the first time in nearly forever. YES!).

    In my world, Swing is bounce, it's into the ground. Not just up and down like a pogo stick, but into the ground and in lateral motion at the same time. Ballroom swing has NOTHING to do with the ground and everything to do with swaying like a sapling in the breeze. There I've said it. That's it I'm done.
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Sorry, sue, but ballroomers had the terminology first. And basically anywhere in the world other than the US, swing means waltz or foxtrot. But there are good reasons why both types of dances are called "swing" dances. Because they both physically do swing. *shrug* sorry about stealing your terms. :) 8)
  4. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Also worth keeping in mind is that jazz based swing (lindy etc.) did not originate in europe but in the U.S. and less than a hundred years ago-- fairly young compaired to these European dances I'd imagine (please correct me if I'm wrong)

    It sorta makes sense that european terminology has not been greatly effected.
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I saw an article on the "swing" (i.e. ballroom) dances in my web travels. I'll try to find and post. 8)
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This isn't the article I was thinking of, but it's a place to start in talking about swing versus swing. This one is about learning to "swing" properly in standard dances (such as ballroom waltz, foztrot, V. waltz, quickstep, etc.)

  7. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    More on swing. Don't mean to beat this one to death, but I can be really pigheaded when I get onto a topic. According to this article, a group of the world's top standard coaches identified swing as the most important feature of waltz.

  8. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    It is so often said if you can walk you can dance. It is good to also hear what makes the two different, the swing. I still don't fully get it, but I guess you see someone walking, you someone dancing waltz/foxtrot...and part of what make different is the swing. [shrug]

    I actually got a little confused by this when I started learning to dance as I associated swing with swing dance. Now I'm getting more comfortable hearing the term as a descriptor of ballroom dance.

    A question is hip hop a swinging dance? zydeco? contra?...
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I know zero about zydeco and contra dance, so maybe someone else will answer.

    But as far as walking and dancing, here's my take. Waltz, and especially foxtrot, at the beginning stages, are very much like walking. If you can walk, you can definitely do those. The "swinging", so to speak, starts when you get to a little higher level, and start using your feet and legs to power your dancing, as well as adding your body to the equation. That's the transition I'm trying to make now. Moving from walking to dancing.

    If you want to see the swing, Sagitta, check out some videos of high level smooth dancers doing virtually any dance. You will see swing, big time.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Hmm. Somehow, this thread is not going where I intended it to. What I was hoping we could talk about is the physical movements that constitute swing, whether it be one swing or the other swing. What is the commonality?

    On the other hand, feel free to discuss whatever you like. It's a free forum. :wink: :D
  11. jon

    jon Member

    That will come as rather a surprise to members of the (just to pick a few examples) London, Toronto, Tokyo, Swiss, Edinburgh, Perth, Moscow, North Wales, and Swedish Swing Dance Societies. If you're going to make absolutist claims like this, please back them up with some objective statistics.
  12. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You left out Poland, Australia, UK, a few Asian countries, and quite a few others.

    You're right, jon. I should have said that in ballroom communities around the world, except the US, swing means waltz, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, and quickstep.

    I try to avoid absolutist claims entirely, since we all have perspectives that deserve to be treated with respect . 8) :D
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

  14. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    Swing dancing as I have known it is done to swing music. Does the music swing for a foxtrot? It certainly does for lindy.
  15. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    I'll leave this to our resident experts to answer more fully (oh Damon, where are you? :wink:). I'll just say that at many of the ballroom events I've been to the same song often has couples both doing swing dances (your version) in the center of the room while other couples are doing foxtrot around the periphery.
  16. Swing Kitten

    Swing Kitten New Member

    I don't know much about foxtrot... can you lindy and waltz to the same music?

    my point is that in the swing dances I know and love the movement is based on a bouce (into the floor of course ;) ) and not much of a side to side swinging movement... it's the music that 'swings'

    Often it seems that dances are named after the type of music they were developed for. So doesn't make sense that the dance developed for/with swing music be called swing?

    I'm not a historian
  17. Sagitta

    Sagitta Well-Known Member

    One of my instructors told me that if it is a slow swing song you can foxtrot to it!! She is pretty good at lindy,ecs and wcs so I guess she knows enough to say something like that! Not many people up for it where I am though! Usually people come to swing events to swing and not to do foxtrot!! :shock:
  18. suek

    suek New Member

    And to add to the mix, there's a dance called Swing Walk or Savoy Walk that encompasses ballroom moves (fox trot basic, box step, promenades) with close Balboa embrace, with a down-into-the-ground bounce and totally ROCKS done to slow swinging jazz. One of my absolute favorites. And again, there's 1.5 leads here in Sacramento with whom I can dance it. Oh well, that's 1.5 more than none at all.
  19. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The word swing in Europe even in ballroom communities does not mean any dance other than swing dance (Boogie Woogie, Jive, Rock and Roll, LeRoc, CeRoc, etc). Now if you ask a European ballroom dancer to describe swing they will probably describe exactly what Jen is talking about... th emotion used in smooth ballroom dances.

    As to whether this is correct or not... I'd actually tend to say no. They talk about swing body parts and fulcrums, but in reality what they are doing bears no true resembalance to any of the physics in their anolgies about tennis rackets, golf clubs, or swing sets.

    What they are actually describing is a relaxed propulsion where the body is moved through tensing and relaxing of muscles which cause a sway in the body and the end result is a swinging leg.

    Now them choosing to use the word swing to describe this is certainly acceptable in their world, though if you really want to talk about body mechanics and physics different words really need to be used (in order to minimize misunderstandings and to most accurately portray the use of momentum energy (both kinetic and potential) friction, time, distance, etc. etc.

    Now to SK's question classic fox trot songs are Jazz, Sweet, Hot, or Swing and therefor they all swing to a greater or lesser degree... but the rhythm behind them does not necessarily fit the needs of a song to dance Swing to.

    A lot of ballorrom dances I have gone to go by "strict tempo" which seems (and Jen or anyone else please correct me if I've got this wrong) to mean that the required rhythm is present (ex. the cha-cha rhythm bum-bum-cha-cha-cha) while other elements needed for a song to qualify from a musicologists point of view are lacking.

    SO while a song may have trhe rhythm to suggest a fox trot, and you may have people on the floor doing the fox trot, it may not be in the style of the classic fox trot songs.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Don't want to argue over semantics here, dnice, but this is not correct. The standard dances, except tango, are described in the ballroom world as the swing dances, which does cause some confusion, perhaps. But that's the way it is.

    This is interesting, because swing and sway in the ballroom world are two separate concepts. I like your description -- relaxed propulsion. Gotta use that. It would be nice if we could get one or two of our ballroom experts to weigh in on the swing versus sway concepts -- they are connected to each other, but they're not the same. Unfortunately, the technique is still just beyond my grasp, so I'm able to see the difference on a video, but not able to explain. Maybe a ballroom technique expert willl comment.

    I'll have to try to find a couple examples of these hybrid songs SD referred to, because I've heard quite a few which do have people swinging in the middle of the floor and foxtrotters all around the edge. Would be interesting to get a look at the sheet music. :?

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