East Coast Swing/Lindy Hop Danced to Different Music?

#1
I have read several posts that mentioned ECS/LH could be danced to a wide variety of tempo of music. This is completely unfamiliar to me as I was under the general impression that ECS and Lindy Hop could ONLY be danced to that big Band-swing sound.
Can anyone correct me and elaborate just a bit on the matter? I tried the search but I just keep getting song recommendations and the "WCS vs. ECS" topic over and over again.

Thanks
 

juwest333

Active Member
#2
Not exactly sure what kind of answer you are looking for, but I can give you an example. At a local dance venue, from time to time we will have Swing/Soul/Blues dance parties that last into the wee hours of the morning and we would dance Lindy or ECS to various kinds of music. You can do many different dances to many different kinds of music. It all depends on the rhythm of the song you're dancing to.
 

opendoor

Well-Known Member
#3
...general impression that ECS and Lindy Hop could ONLY be danced to that big Band-swing sound.
Hi achilles, (leaving ECS out, I´m from europe) I find that you can dance Lindy Hop to any kind of suitable music, fast as well as slow, new or old, swing or pop. But of course savoy-style Lindy (as a historic style) is best danced to classical big band swing pieces. But on the other hand big band swing also got a wide stylistic rage from slow shuffles up to ultra fast boogies.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#4
First of all, note the flags on the Savoy Style Lindy Hop article.


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The one reference in the article is, As Frankie Manning put it, "Everyone at the Savoy had their [own] style." And there was no specific "Savoy style" of Lindy Hopping.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#5
Here's what Frankie Manning wrote in his autobiography.

they were called dance bands. Band leaders knew the tempos that would keep people on the floor, and played a range from slow to fast that appealed to us. Savoy patrons liked variety, not the same steady tempo from one song to another that some dancers today prefer.

Savoy Lindy hoppers liked dancing to fast tunes (like Chick Webb's "Clap Hands! Here Come Charley," flag wavers as he called them, which meant crowd pleasers), but not all the time, so orchestras didn't play fastnumbers all night.
And we knew what to do with a slow number ... mooch and grind with your best girl, body swaying, your feet hardly moving. Other dances besides the Lindy were done at the Savoy.



So, one take home from this is the "Big Band Swing" wasn't always fast, and Big Band Swing orchestras played more than one kind of music.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#6
"East Coast Swing" is a bit harder to pin down, because, after spending many hours of looking at many books, it's hard to figure even when that name started being used. Mostly it was referred to as Eastern Swing, but only, it seems by people who taught (or, for sure, people who wrote about it) "Western Swing" aka West Coast Swing.
As late as 1964 Arthur Murray had the woman walking forward after a throw-out, on the last two "quick" counts (which are really the "slows" or WCS), and it was identified as "Swing or Jitterbug. (although the walk forward two times didn't show up until 1959)"

I've been able to find songs that for sure WCS was done to in the 50s and 60s. Not so, exactly for "East Coast Swing," although if you look at the dancing in the moves from the 50s that DIDN'T have the professional dancers, most of whom were vintage 1940s dancers, you can see what looks like "East Coast Swing." I haven't yet determined bpm for those songs, but they weren't all "fast."

My experience with East Coast Swing, based mostly on country western venues, is that it can be danced to many styles of music.
Maybe I'll look at John Javna's "How to Jitterbug" (1984) to see his list of music. His "Jitterbug" is what I learned as ECS.
 

j_alexandra

Well-Known Member
#7
I went to a swing event last night (I'm in Texas). The DJ played music ranging from In The Mood to Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson to the acoustic version of Layla to songs too new for me to recognize, but that everyone under 35 sang along to (apparently, one was a cover of a Britney Spears tune, which boggles my mind on several levels). "Swing" is a very, very loose description around here, apparently, quite different from home, where it's Lindy, or ECS, or WCS, and that's the story.

It was enormous fun.
 

cornutt

Well-Known Member
#8
Well, there's a lot of styles that will work, ranging from big band to rock to blues and a lot of other things. However, I will admit this: Last night I was thinking that I'm getting tired of attempting to dance swing to songs that have neither musical swing nor backbeat.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
#9
Hey, maybe i SHOULD start that "What is Swing and how do you count it" thread.
See some of the pages of "Milonga Syncopation" where we talked about it a bit. I've got some stuff I'd like to put there, but have other things to do very very soon.
 

danceronice

Well-Known Member
#10
I went to a swing event last night (I'm in Texas). The DJ played music ranging from In The Mood to Here's to You, Mrs. Robinson to the acoustic version of Layla to songs too new for me to recognize, but that everyone under 35 sang along to (apparently, one was a cover of a Britney Spears tune, which boggles my mind on several levels).
"Womanizer"?
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#11
[quote="Steve Pastor, post: 976907, member: 5294
My experience with East Coast Swing, based mostly on country western venues, is that it can be danced to many styles of music.
[/quote]

Steve, the whole point of ECS as devised by A.M. was to include music that had a range ,from slow to fast tempo. It produced 3 sets of different timing (which you already know ) Single, Double and Triple .

All students were taught to dance all 3 separately,and were examined using those, but, the Double time, gradually lost favor, and was only used as " a marker ", but, using a full beat without a weight change ( as in Latin hustle ).

The style and types of music varied, it was always all about the tempo .
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
#14
Was it ok then to designate ECS as a tamed and syllabu-sized version of Lindy?
To a Point, but, It does include some of the foundational figures in Lindy ( one is actually called a Lindy Turn ) .

Perspective is always important, when speaking to dances that are hybrids.

As I have previously stated, the majority of clients in chain schools , back when,were 50 plus yrs in age, so, something a little more "sedate", such as a triple or single time rhythm, allowed all ,to enjoy the then current
styles of music .Simply constructed, easy to teach, and dance ,for beginners.
 

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