Swing Discussion Boards > "Zen West Coast"?

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by PasoDancer, Jul 13, 2006.

  1. PasoDancer

    PasoDancer New Member

    Is there some new "movement" that's started the past at least year, maybe more, that's "evolving" (transcending?) WCS into something more... I don't know... metaphysical?

    I can remember learning one "humpty dumpty" basic kind of thing in group last year, but now, the music, the styling, the basic steps- it seems to all have changed from this once "lumpy" kind of thing into this fluid, hustley, disciplined "way of life". I'm not smashing it at all- I find it rather amazing, but also confusing.

    A friend of mine from the studio has all but converted to ZenWestCoastianism.. She used to speak of "Wow, this is so much fun!" but now, when she speaks of WCS, her eyes kind of glaze over, she gets that silly "I'm SO in LOVE" sloppy grin on her face, and she goes all "hippie" (a very disciplined, forthright lady, mind you)... "You, like, gotta SEE it, man! It's like, liquid, and motion, and it's all about modification and individual expression, and, like, stuff..."

    The music has went from "Kansas City" or "The Wanderer" to this beatnick, smooth, sleek style that's almost "high class porn" stuff. That being said, I'm not sure it's safe to admit that I really love the music and styling or not now, but I do (and no, I'm not a porn buff- I like better forms of cheap comedy, Lol!).

    So- what's up? Am I, too, soon to succumb to this new Indigo world of ZenWestCoastianism? Has WCS always been progressing into this, or is this something recent and new?

    Curious indeed. I want to follow the white wingtip- er- wabbit- er.. OOPS...
     
  2. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    Hard to say for sure - because I'm not looking where you were/are. You may have just seen a transition from studio/ballroom WCS to street swing.

    Disclaimer: I wasn't there, this is what I've been piecing together.

    Important date: 1983 - the birth of the US Open Swing Dance Championship as we know it today. At the point in the story of WCS, the dance still has fair resemblance to lindy hop (check out Mary Ann Nunez's winning routines). The pockets of dances related to WCS (Whip, Push, Shag) are starting to rediscover the WCS core. Events are about to start breeding like wildfire.

    Twenty years later, you have a scene with multiple events each month, drawing in dancers from all over the country. Touring WCS professional becomes a viable career.

    Twenty years is also just about enough time for babies to become adults. So starting about 7 years ago, kids who have never known a world without lots and lots of WCS events started coming of age.

    The first sign might have been Jordan Frisbee and Tatiana Mollman winning the Champions Jack and Jill at Swing Fling in 1999. If not then, certainly by 2001, when both top divisions were won by dancers under the age of 20 (Frisbee, Mollman, Benji Schwimmer, Heidi Groskreutz. Yes, the same two you may be watching on So You Think You Can Dance). Part of the same generation: Parker Deerborn, Jessica Cox; Lacey Schwimmer is only a few years behind.

    This generation has been competing against each other their entire lives, and they are really good. So the dance has been bending in the direction of emulating them.

    I think that's the biggest thing recent change.

    Along with that, because westies are competing more often than before, the competition floor is changing the way the dance is done socially. There are a number of different changes here - one may be the pull toward more contemporary music, as competitors look for songs that haven't been routined to death. Another may be an opening of the dance, where it used to be more closed, and the gradual reduction in the amount of compression you see.
     

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