Is Swing Evolution a Revolution?

Is Swing Evolution a Revolution?
There is a new rumor ruminating among aficionados of Swing that our native American dance, Swing is going through an evolution. Whew! Before I deal with this preposterous proposition, allow me to define the basic structure of any Ballroom dance.
(1) A Ballroom dance has to be structured so that a man and lady can dance in unison;
(2) to the same rhythmic pattern that is repeated with specific accents;
(3) to music appropriate for the dance mode.
Every individual can gives the dance any interpretation they wish using any of the infinite foot pattern combinations they can conjure up in their wildest imagination, but within these three parameters. Once you change #1 above, it's not a Ballroom Dance; once you change # 2 above you are not dancing the same Ballroom dance; when you change #3 above, the mood of the dance changes significantly.
There are several examples of how this theory of evolution in dancing is a deceptive ploy which debilitates and eventually destroys the true character of any Ballroom Dance, be it Tango, Salsa, and even Swing/Lindy.
In 1957 as the choreographer, I had to come up with a Calypso production number for Mamie Van Doran in Howard Koch's, "Untamed Youth". The dance I came up with may or may not have been great, but it was soon lost in the dozens of various forms of Calypso dances that EVOLVED from many of the dance studios at that time, with the resulted confusion that this gay, invigorating, playful music never had a dance structure to enjoy.
When I created the Bossa Nova Dance in 1962, I knew I had to do something concrete to protect the integrity of my creation, so that other Hollywood dancers would not use my dance to EVOLVE into their own personal structured Bossa Novas. So before introducing my creation to the local dance crowd, I described and illustrated several of the basic rhythmic patterns in a booklet and mailed out 3,000 copies of my, 'BOSSA NOVA' booklet to every phone listed dance studio in the USA & CANADA. In the past 40 years I have seen many styles of my Bossa Nova danced in Europe and the USA; fortunately it hasn't evolved, it still maintains the three basic Ballroom factors of its integral structure. What does this have to do with 'the Evolution of Swing"?
If by 'Evolution one means change into another dance form, than I do not see the need for Swing to evolve: If it aint broke , don't fix it! If by 'Evolve' one means to improve within the integrity of Swing/Lindy structure, then why use the misleading term Evolve. Just because a dance comes up with a new combination or a new aerial within the three defining parameters of Swing/Lindy, so what? That is the beauty of any dance form, i.e. the infinite number of dance combinations that are possible. Whoever coined the term, 'The evolution of Swing' either needs a lesson in semantics or is trying to justify their corruption of the Swing/Lindy's integrity. I don't mean that in a bad way!

By the way, I was born in 1923 also. And Yes, aerials were never done on Ballroom floors, they were rerstricted to contests and exhibitions in the 1950's in most ballrooms I frequented.
Black Sheep

Just an aside mind blowing trivial question: How many Quarter Beats are there in any Bossa Nova Pattern?
If you answer correctly, I will mail you a fourteen page 5X7 illustrated pamphlet including vintage dance photos
pre 1960 to the first ten correct answers. Please Email your answer: d.lanza at
(edited to prevent spam - just change 'at' to '@')

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