Just read this on some site ??? while surfing: Speaks of eight basic steps-
-- In one of Arthur Murray's dance books in the mid 1940's, Murray describes a dance called "Rock and Roll dancing." It names the "Under Arm Pass, The Whip and The Sugar-Push." The Ladies are told to take " Two Walk Steps Forward " on counts 1-2 towards the man (and not away) and describes the "Coaster Step" and "Anchor step" very clearly. Later he would call this style of Western Swing "Sophisticated Swing." Today there are eight Basic steps that the whole dance revolves upon. They Are:
1) Closed Starter Basic and Prepatory Basic, 2) Throw-Out, 3) Under-Arm Pass, 4) Under Arm Pass with a Hand Change, 5) Side Pass, 6) Sugar Push(es), 7) Open Two Hand Tuck Turn, 8) The Basic Whip (the Whip is also the very first pattern into Intermediate as well).
This should not be interpreted as disapproval of push breaks as a pattern. I think they are underrated; I've been working, on and off, on designing a workshop that is nothing but pushbreaks ("sugar pushes until you're bored with them, then more sugar pushes until you are never bored by them again"). Because of the patterns simplicity, because it requires essentially no thought, it serves really well as a skeleton for experimenting with ideas that can be applied throughout the dance.
That's a great idea - one of the pro instructors here teaches variations of the sugar push (mainly for the women) to add a little variation to the "basic" step. He incorporates a lot of shag steps and steps where you "pop" your knees on the first two counts of the push. It's lots of fun and nice to do something a little different.
When you say basic do you mean a common step which serves as partof the root of numerous variations...
Do you mean the move by which all intrinsic elements of the dance are found; connection, frame, posture, timing and partner dynamic all of which must be present in this one step to work properly versus other steps which can be done without all the elements being present in the style of the dance.
I'd say that there is no single basic step by the first definition, or that there are at least six, but I'd say only steps in WCS even approach the second definition, and that would be the whip and the sugar push.
This is my first post, I thought I'd jump in & share my experience since the initial post was about East Coast/ West Coast.
When I first started Swing dancing almost 2 years ago, I started with East Coast and loved it from the first day. There was a nice older gentleman that was helped me from the start and made me realise that there is a such thing as "a dance is just a dance," and made me love dancing even more. I danced with everyone and got better because my heart was in the dance, and this nice gentleman would recommend who to take lessons from and ask for advice. He also encouraged me to dance with newbies but advised me to be careful & safety first. He also pointed out who were the painful leads and what songs were safe to dance with those people.
You get the idea, I really looked up to this gentleman and valued this opinion because of all the good advice he gave me in the beginning.
To make a long story short, I had never seen swing dancing or any other forms of dancing before, but since what we were doing was called East Coast, I naturally assumed that there should be another dance called West Coast. About 2 months after I started doing east coast, he told me that he thought I was ready to do Lindy Hop. I had no idea what Lindy Hop was, and the idea of hopping around on the dance floor didn't really appeal to me. Actually, I had seen Lindy Hop dancing before, I just didn't know that is what it was called. So I said.. "OK If you say I'm ready for Lindy Hop.. but since I'm learning East Coast now, shouldn't I learn West Coast first ?"
He gave me this really weird uncomfortable look and just said. "um. well. sure. but I don't really like West Coast, cuz it makes me look goofy."
I never asked him about West Coast again, and he set the story straight and educated me that West Coast is not a western version of the East Coast dance that we do, and Lindy Hop is not a hoppity dance.
So.. I started learning Lindy Hop. Eventually, this took me into a whole new world of Lindy leads. Sadly, a month later, his health started to fail and he was not able to dance much anymore. I asked him he thought I should learn dancing from, and he pointed out a young man across the room. I had seen this young man dancing before and I really liked his style and grace on the dancefloor, and although I was intimidated, I went up to him and asked him to teach me how to dance.
He asked me if there was any dance in particular that I wanted to learn, and I said, not really, because I haven't seen all the dances yet.
So he taught me how to follow. Then I found out that he dances ALL the dances. One day I asked him if he thought I could do West Coast, and he said, "You already know how. It's the same steps as in Lindy, you just have to follow the lead, and if you screw up, you won't be the first. Faking West Coast is fun too, as long as you're dancing with your partner. Just keep smiling and you & whoever you're dancing with will have a good time."
When I mentioned.. well. someone long time ago said that he looks goofy doing West Coast... is that true?
He asked who it was, and I said it was that older gentleman. and AH>. it all makes sense now. He just explained that the older gentleman is known for dancing very, very well at East Coast and has very good Lindy basics, but nothing more than that. Women usually learn to how follow faster than men will learn how to lead. It is very likely that, at his age, he was not comfortable learning a new dance and looking goofy alongside a young girl like me that was just dancing up a storm that admired him.
lindy hop (freestyle, be bop, smooth, hollywood, classic savoy)
blues (slow drag, struttin', shake-n-bake, fishtail, gutbucket, mooche, grind)
west coast swing (funky, classic)
east coast swing
congress of vienna
swing walk (both savoy and argentinian)
Sardoth: Please understand that as far as forms of swing go, WCS gets kicked around a lot. The short list of things I've have heard include: the tacky factor of the dance, it's ugly and gawky, not real swing, a waste of floor space, we wear too many sparkles, and the followers are all bulimic. It is very insulting that these stereotypes persist and while at times joked about by those with long standing in the community, they are often misinterperted and believed by those new to the community. I feel it is a responsiblity for all swing dancers to try to dispel this mistaken assumption rather than allowing them to perpetuate and ultimately hurt all forms of the dance. The community should be supportive of all forms whether someone has a preference for Lindy, WCS, Shag, Blaboa, etc. as they are all related and growth in one area enhances the others.
While it was clear that your instructor and not you called it ugly, your sentiments that it looked weird seemed to concure. If we misunderstood and ranted, please forgive us, but understand that we can be very sensitive about our dance as other forms of swing seem to take far less abuse than WCS. Like any dance, we are just as much in love with the form we have decided to study and perfect, it is near and dear to our hearts and we are very protective of it.
As far as dances and styles:
For swing I currently focus on WCS but do ECS as well and am starting to learn Lindy. In the next few months I'll be learning blues and balboa as well.
For non-swing, I salsa, cha cha and know the basics to waltz, foxtrot, rhumba, and merengue. Quickstep is my next adventure in learning in this area.
When I first started doing salsa, a few people in class knew that I was always there at the studio for other dances and they would ask me what other types of dancing that I did-- and I'd tell them Swing Dancing. Naturally, the next question would be.. what's it like ? What styles are being taught, what's the difference between ECS, Lindy and WCS ?
I didn't want to give them the wrong impression and discourage them from trying it out.. so I would usually use an analogy and compare them to movies just so they can get an idea of the flavor of each of the styles.
ECS is like a family fun action movie
Lindy is like a black & white classic
WCS is like a full color action packed--expect the unexpected, romantic/ sexy/ classy and can be triple-x even... Even tho I dance fake WCS, I could sit at a WCS dance event all day and watch the real thing without getting bored.
I didn't know much back then, I think I know more now.. I haven't used this analogy in a while. Now I just say.. I love them all!!!!!
There is actually quite a bit of blues in the States - although, it varies by location.
St. Louis is quite famous for it's blues, for example - although, I'll admit, I've never actually danced there. SHAME! :cry:
Pittsburgh has a pretty awesome blues scene as well.... though this opinion may be slightly biased (as I am from Pittsburgh)
If you are interested in blues dancing, we do have a few blues exchanges over here. Come to the States and get your blues kick! 8)
Oh, BTW, my style of dance (I'll stay on topic here!): I obviously love blues dancing and I am a huge fanatic of lindy hop. Bal, shag, east coast --- these are all fun as well. I've dabbled in other styles of dancing, though I always come running back to lindy hop :wink:
If we misunderstood and ranted, please forgive us, but understand that we can be very sensitive about our dance as other forms of swing seem to take far less abuse than WCS. Like any dance, we are just as much in love with the form we have decided to study and perfect, it is near and dear to our hearts and we are very protective of it.
Very well put leftfeetnyc. We put our hearts and souls into our dancing, so it is easy to take it personally. I love WCS because it is so challenging to perfect, but so rewarding as you get closer to that perfection.
I also dance ECS, hustle, NC2S, cha-cha, salsa, and want to learn samba. But my true love is WCS!!!