What's the difference: Lindy Hop Vs. East Coast Swing?

bookish

Active Member
I usually think of posture as being from the hips through the head, and my legs go where they need to so I don't fall over 8)

I've done the jump-and-land exercise a bunch. It works pretty well. The only problem is that sometimes it creates a static or locked body position because people think they need to stay right where they end up. The body needs to be free to move energetically and in balance, in various directions, and with good contra-body movement.

Oh, and when in closed position with some stretch/counterbalance (e.g. middle of a swingout) followers are almost always more vertical to support the connection, because if they lean forward the lead's hand slips up oddly and the hold isn't good.
 
This thread is confusing because “lindy” and “east coast swing” are ambiguous terms that each can have multiple meanings.

An experienced lindy hopper can probably dance without difficulty with an experienced EC swinger simply by dropping the 8-count patterns from lindy (e.g., swingout, circle, and Charleston). The 6-count lindy patterns that remain are compatible with 6-count EC swing, and because the dancers are experienced, the differences in style between the dances are easily accommodated. For example, a triple step, a kick step, a tap step, and a step are all compatible because each consumes 2 beats of music, and an experienced dancer can perform each without disturbing the connection. As another example, lindy hoppers typically pulse in a different style than do EC swingers, but experienced dancers can handle the difference.

Whether a lindy hopper with 4 months experience can comfortably dance with a EC swinger with 4 months experience is a more difficult question, which is probably unanswerable without seeing the two of you dance. Some key differences for these two dancers:

1. The lindy hopper probably pulses more than the EC swinger, who might not pulse at all.
2. The lindy hopper probably expects to initiate the dance in closed position with a rock step. The EC swinger might expect the same, or might expect open position with a side step or a side triple.
3. At the time that the lindy hopper is doing triple steps, the EC swinger might be doing triple steps or might be doing tap steps or steps. One or both might feel a disturbance in the connection from this difference, which might be confusing.
4. The lindy hopper might be expecting to perform patterns in a more circular or changing-places action than the EC swinger, who might be expecting a more side-to-side action.

Can you and your potential partner handle those differences?

The answer doesn’t really matter. Just go give it a try. It will be good practice for you to learn to adjust to different styles of dancing.
An almost a year later...

I had the pleasure of dancing with a competitive East Coast Swing Ballroom dancer last night for the very first time! Everything was just as you said! She didn't really pulse at all and her triple steps were....different. It went along smoothly for the most part; only stumbling a little when I changed the rhythm and timing of my steps to actually follow variations in the music. It was a very interesting experience and enjoyable dance overall!
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
I've concluded the East Coast Swing is pretty much the jig walk that was "a basic floor step" of Lindy Hop introduced in about 1930.
I came to this conclusion by looking at LIFE, 1943, Frankie Mannings' book, and Arthur Murray books from the early 40s.
And, it was a six count movement.
The early descriptions do not mention triple steps, but rather touch-steps or kicks, followed by a rock step.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
So, what are
the interesting parts
of the jig walk?

Co author of the Frankie Manning book, Cynthia Millman wrote "The jig walk is a six-count movement featuring two touch-steps or kicks, followed by a rock step. It is done in place with partners in ballroom stance, and is essentially the same as the basic step in East Coast Swing."
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Gal taking East Coast Swin glesson last night. Sure looked like a Lindy Hopper, because of the bouncey energy she put into everything. (Later, I asked her. And, yes, she did Lindy Hop. ) So, here's another question.

I keep reading that swing smoothed out jazz from a bouncey 2/4 to a more horizontally smooth 4/4 beat.

So, the bounce is still there. How does that work?
 

bookish

Active Member
Swing Era music isn't really "smooth," it just has less of a 2-count ("oom-pah") rhythmic feel and puts more into the 4s and 8s. It's still bouncy though.

The ECS basic is generally just steps, plus some extraneous body tilting and arm waving. Jig walks have various stylistic variations. Often your legs will extend between your partner's. There may be more hip sway rather than just leaning. (Leaning and arm-wagging tend to interfere with connection.) I was taught a style that was supposedly Frankie's that included hopping, which I didn't quite get unfortunately.
 

bookish

Active Member
I'm actually having trouble finding an example of 2/4 sheet music online. I looked up some "early" stuff, including some songs I was going to use as examples, and found it written in 4/4. Anyway, the time signature isn't the only thing that determines bounciness.
 

Siggav

Active Member
The swing smoothing out jazz thing is true but it's not about bounce per se, it's about the different feel that comes in the music when you move from emphasising every other beat (oom - pah, oom - pah) into hitting each beat evenly in the rythm section (chunk - chunk - chunk - chunk) it feels weird to try to dance lindy to the earlier version, it's a rythm that makes much more sense to dance charleston to.

Here's a 1927 version of Royal Garden Blues that has that feels like a charleston tune although you can dance lindy to it if you really want


A version from 1936 where the rythm has changed into the chunk-chunk-chunk-chunk form and it's very much a swing tune


So the jazz going smoother hasn't got anything to do with the dance getting less bouncy other than I guess that charleston is pretty bouncy I guess
 

Aura

Active Member
Hey, Siggav. Just wanted to say thanks for that awesome post on "uswung" and "swung" rhythms. I read it just this morning, and its clarified why Glenn Miller's famous tune felt "different" when I listened to it in comparison with other songs that you could swing dance, too. I could hear the lilt and swing in your current jam, too. The guitar sounds so lively!

To me, a "swung" rhythm sounds just likes its name, something I could really swing back and forth to. I know this isn't a word, but it sounds "tilt-y", if that even makes a lick of sense. Conversely, Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog", while it certainly has a nice beat, sound more rhythmically consistent and even. Like you said, "flat". Now, I'm all eager to test my ears. Thanks again.
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
sigh...

Just in case anyone looks at the now archived url with the music WCS was danced to in the early years..
People danced West Coast Swing to swing music in the fifties, and also fifties "rock n roll," based on recorded performances and song lists.
 
Don't know if it's true, but in documentary "Alive and kicking" someone said that ECS is different from lindy because it has 6count steps.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
What constitutes a dance by a particular name seems to change a lot depending on locale. For example, I've heard so many different descriptions for "jitterbug".

My understanding has always been that ECS is just the 6-count moves from Lindy. Or at least that's the way I learned it, as part of Lindy. Another explanation I've heard is that it's a simplified form of Lindy that dance studios came up with, in which case the situation would be that those 6-count moves then migrated back into Lindy. This resurrected dance is a living thing, which makes it that much more difficult to nail down with exact definitions. I think somebody in this thread asked how to transition between Lindy and ECS, whereas to me their just part of the same dance so what's to transition?

But the main difference is that ECS only has 6-count moves, so forget trying to phrase it. Also no Charleston moves (which are also 8-count) and no kicks that I can recall. And while I learned to start a Lindy move with the rock step, I usually see ECS being taught the other way around with the move ending with a rock step.

For me, the fun part of "Alive and Kicking" was seeing so many people in it from our local Lindy community in Orange County, Calif. The guy dancing with his young child pappoosed on his back so the kid starts playing with his hat, that's Shesha Marvin, my Lindy teacher.
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
But the main difference is that ECS only has 6-count moves, so forget trying to phrase it.
There are several moves in BR that have a 6 count. so to phrase, string 2"sets" together.
Tango basic is a classic ex; 2 walks ( slows ) and 2 quicks , repeat = 3bars.
This is something I always explain/teach to my beginners.
 

DWise1

Well-Known Member
There are several moves in BR that have a 6 count. so to phrase, string 2"sets" together.
Tango basic is a classic ex; 2 walks ( slows ) and 2 quicks , repeat = 3bars.
This is something I always explain/teach to my beginners.
Perhaps the term "phrasing" needs to be defined. By "phrasing", I mean where the "One" is. I had frustrated my ballroom instructor more than once when he tried to get me to start on any other count than the One.

Music seems to be played based on 4-beat measures, whereas dancing is in 8-beat phrases. I seem to recall my music theory classes playing around that, but after nearly a half-century it starts to get fuzzy.

My main WCS teacher always starts us out with her "basic 32." The count starts at 4 so that we can start to lead her out with two triples (5&6, 7&8).
 

tangotime

Well-Known Member
Perhaps the term "phrasing" needs to be defined. By "phrasing", I mean where the "One" is. I had frustrated my ballroom instructor more than once when he tried to get me to start on any other count than the One.

Music seems to be played based on 4-beat measures, whereas dancing is in 8-beat phrases. I seem to recall my music theory classes playing around that, but after nearly a half-century it starts to get fuzzy.

My main WCS teacher always starts us out with her "basic 32." The count starts at 4 so that we can start to lead her out with two triples (5&6, 7&8).
Beats and bars should be counted as ; 1 234.. 2 234.. 3 234 and 4 234.
The second set ( which the salsa mob do ) is to identify the second bar as 456 and repeats same again .


The problem with this method is, if choreoing a piece of music we need to be able to identify exactly where in the passage we need to correct if needed, and the continuous repetitive count of beats , gives little or no indication of exactly where the occurrence of a mistake occurred .

Most music ( as I'm sure you know ) has a chorus which may be 8 or 16 bars with repetitions and even without a verbal piece, that structure remains. I use salsa, as it is a good ex where chorus gives way to instrumental passages before returning back to chorus .
 

Steve Pastor

Moderator
Staff member
Here's what Skippy Blair wrote in 1995.

"East Coast Swing... A Rhythm Dance that has "6 beat" patterns, "8 beat" patterns and "4 beat" Rhythm Breaks, originally danced to Big Band Music."

"It is interesting to note that in the early 1940's two styles of Swing came out of NEW YORK: The LINDY and the NEW· YORKER. The LINDY was an 118 beat" at Basic level and when you got good you did 6
beat" patterns. The NEW YORKER was 116 beat" 'basic patterns and when you got good you did 8 beat patterns."

end Skippy


"New Yorker" is pretty much East Coast Swing.


Some of you may have noticed the which Lindy Hop thread where I looked at things that don't line up with the prevailing Lindy Hop story.
I checked some of the books I've collected, and the Wrights (1942) who were based in New York, taught a 6 count Lindy Hop. Betty Lee, (1936 &1945) who (off the top of my head) was also in New York, also listed a 6 count basic for Lindy Hop with an eight count as a "variation."
No doubt, though, that Lindy Hop is thought of as 8 count, and East Coast as 6 count.
 

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