When your Lindy Hop "feels" like West Coast (or vi

This is sort of tangently related to the "What defines Lindy Hop" thread, but different enough I hope to justify it's own thread. If not, I apologize.

Anyway, occassionally when I'm dancing to a Lindy I'll get a comment from my follow about how it feels "like we're west coasting" or something similiar. I definately do a very smooth Lindy, and I'm okay with that, but from my perspective my Lindy is very different from my West Coast. For instance, my posture is different, I feel like I lead from a different center, there's no slot (unless the floor is crowded, then I'll slot it a bit more just for convenience), I syncopate quite a bit differently...

These are all things I THINK I do differently, but maybe I'm not? Or is it possible for the dance to "feel like west coast" just from the lead-follow connection? (i.e. are all the things I do differently in Lindy from West Coast basically transparent to my follow?) Or is it possible that some Lindies are just so used to associating "smooth" with West Coast that anything else I do to differentiate the two dances just doesn't matter? Anyone else have any experiences like this?


Well-Known Member
West Coast is smooth, Lindy is bouncy. That's what I think based on my very limited knowledge of both. :)

See Vince A's response in the "Defining Elements of Lindy Hop thread"!!
The rhythm is very different as is the musicality. While you can dance lindy hop smoothly there must be a bounce present, and while you may dance in different styles the base posture must be an athletic one... hips pulled back weight on the balls of the foot, knees flexed, waist bent.

Remember to swing your triples... since WCS is so often danced to non blues music these days a lot of the songs no longer swing. The rhythm a significant number of people use is the same as the cha-cha, evenly spaced triples. Lindy Hop triples should swing, the second step in the triple step lies closer to either the first beat or the third (depending on the song, but as a default place it closer to the third).

Your bounce should be the same as you would use when you Charleston to the song. Remember Lindy Hops roots are intrinsically tied to Charleston.

West Coast Swing uses lots of breaks in the momentum, the anchor step is a good example. In lindy hop the momentum is constantly moving no "proper" anchor exists, the partners move away from each other creating an elastic tension which is used to shift the follower into the next move. In WCS the follower anchors in place with a sleight pull but there is a definite break in the momentum. From the first step in a Lindy hop you should be manipulating the same momentum unless there is a major change in the music which dictates that you increase, decrease, or halt the momentum.

Tied to this is musicality. Lindy Hop musicality is restricted by the need to continue your movement and for the follower not to break the lead-follow relationship. It is like a haiku. Filling your three lines with all the wisdom and observation you have on a topic to communicate to others is extremely difficult, but when a master poet writes they create an entire world within those "narrow confines". West Coast Swing is like fiction, it creates beautiful images with words, but is so free-form that a lot of "authors" lose the plot entirely, or forget about character development. Take a look at the champions... their impressiveness comes from their ability to hit the music simply in the middle of complex patterns.

Swing your triples, bounce, keep your momentum going, and keep your improvisation rhythm based... your partners will notice the difference if this is what is missing...

of course the other end of that is that you might simply be doing the right thing and your follows don't know their are different styles of lindy hop and may equate any non-obvious bouncing style with wcs.

Vince A

Active Member
Man, I have a lot to learn, and a lot of habits to add color to . . . a challenge to myself it is then! So be it!
of course the other end of that is that you might simply be doing the right thing and your follows don't know their are different styles of lindy hop and may equate any non-obvious bouncing style with wcs.
I'm HOPING that this is what my issue is. I tend to get the comment more from people I know aren't hardcore Lindy Hoppers than from people that are, but it still makes me nervous. It's really important to me to keep the two dances seperate.

D Nice, I really appreciate your comments, and I'm totally going to be self-examining myself over the next couple of weeks to see if doing the things you listed. If I am, then I can confidently not worry about it. :)

In one of your other threads I noticed you mentioned Sylvia Sykes as one of the bigger people in "smooth Lindy" and I took a workshop from her a couple of weeks ago. She spent the first hour or so critiquing basics and didn't have anything to say about mine, so I figure I'm either hopeless or doing it mostly right. :)

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