What's in a Name?

Ok, I just returned from four days of dance workshops, and crowded dance floors at Kutsher's (Star Dust). We encountered many fine teachers, and generally, had a great time meeting wonderful dance-loving people, and dancing our feet off (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz). My concern, is that in deciding which dance class to attend, we discovered, that one doesn't know which dance is being offered, 'cause the "name" of the dance is different in various parts of the world...iow, there should be a standard name for each dance. Ok, I realize that in Britain/International dancing, jive is a triple-step dance. But we went to a class that was called, "swing"...ok, it was east coast swing. Then, we went to a class that was Lindy, and it was basically a west coast, with a smooth-style but with a rock step (All the steps we learned there, could be copied in our west coast swing). I thought, Lindy, was short for Lindy Hop, but Dance Manhattan, says that they're different. ?????? I wish the world would come together and call a dance by one name. What do you think? Wouldn't that make it easier to make DanceSport an Olympic event in 2012?
I'm dancing international style, but as far as I know, jive and swing are two different dances.
The tempos and the techniques are different, though the basic step might look similar.
The movement of Jive is different than Swing, but at the beginner level the student is usually taught the 'triple step' as an entry into Jive.

Non-codified dances (outside of, say, the International Syllabus Cha Cha / Samba / Rhumba / Paso / Jive) have no set name or step names simply because dance is an always evolving thing.

Learning a 'step' is a road to frustration simply because not knowing the reason to make the step (technique) dooms you to just 'walking around' in a pattern, with no hop to learn what the lead/follow is, for instance.


Well-Known Member
Would have to disagree-- there have been accepted " names " for numerous steps in numerous dances . Having worked for F/ A and A/M for many yrs, lots of agreement, and , again , some disagreement .
The american standard was codified, in about 76 ?-- The then USBC put out a manual ( for guidance ) on 13 amer. style dances,, and, although rejected by the chain schools ( who have the same or similar names in many cases ) was a format from which many judges, and independants chose to identify variations , from Br. thru Gold .

Classic e.g. would be crossover break, just about everyone uses that term ( of course, the english had to rename it !!! )
Lindy and Lindy Hop are the same dance, but Lindy is sometimes used to refer to the Southern California style of the 40's... a case could be made for calling it proto-wcs, but it is definitely more strongly tied to the New York style of Lindy Hop than the way WCS is danced today.

In essence Lindy is what the wite dancers in LA called the dance to differentiate it from the stuff the black dancers were doing.

Welcome to the world of folk/vernacular/street dance. Swing music was so popular there were dozens of regional styles based loosely on the Lindy Hop or Charelston from all over America. You might not have been able to learn the differences because of time, but they are all different...

Take Shag for example there are four styles of shag still be danced today... none of them the same or related. Then you have Push, Whip, West Coast and Smooth Style Hand Dancing... the differences between these dances on the surface are negligible and only a talented teacher with a bent for history would be able to break down the differences in a short mutiple dance event workshop.


Active Member
The Olympics mess up most sports :(

Take freestyle skiing - tons of creativity in the 80s and early 90s. Goes Olympic and nothing new in a decade. So the creative skiers went to freeriding without all the rules. Too many rules always blocks creativity.

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