Big Sounds, High Energy: Swing Dance

The free-flowing style of swing dancing provides excitement, entertainment

and a whole lot of movement that sparked a 20th century dance and musical renaissance. 

The Birth of Swing

Popular dancing in the live music club scene of the early 1920s was very evolutionary. Dancers would feel the music and begin to create their own styles of dance. In the early 20s, the earliest form of swing known as the Lindy Hop was born. It combines movement and steps from several different dances such as the Charleston, and the Breakaway. But very much like mixing chemicals in a laboratory, the clubs with live bands and plenty of dancing created an opportunity for these new dances to evolve. When the Savoy Ballroom opened in 1926 in New York City, it was considered “the world’s most beautiful ballroom” and brought the best dancers in the city to show their stuff. The Savoy hosted dance competitions and drew a great deal of attention. Today, the Savoy is remembered as a landmark across the world for its contributions to the music of the 20th century. 

Learning to Swing Dance

Those interested in learning to swing dance definitely have their work cut out for them. There are a number of online resources, including multiple instructional videos on YouTube. This video from the channel The Swing Dancer shows you how to start swing dancing in less than 30 minutes! While getting started on anything is easy, the perfection of anything is difficult. There are a number of classes available in community centers and college campuses across the country and the world that teach swing dancing. Private lessons are available as well for you and a partner that may want to learn how to cut a rug – swing dancing style! 

Professional Swing Dancing

Today, swing dance is usually part of the ballroom dance category, though there are different branches of swing that are not considered a ballroom style. To do it at a high level of expertise requires a great deal of precision, talent and above all else, practice! Professional dancers in stage productions, film and television are frequently called upon for their swing dance abilities. Cruise ships and resort destinations will employ professional dancers to both dance and teach the swing style to their patrons. 

The Comeback of Swing

Swing-style dance and its accompanying form of music (also called swing) have made a comeback or two into the spotlight over the decades. The late 1990s brought a resurgence of swing. The movies of the late 90s frequently featured swing dance clubs or swing music in their soundtracks. Teen movies featuring prom or dance scenes almost always seemed to have some swing or swing-like band playing. Like so many other artistic styles, swing has come and gone from the edge of what’s trending more than a few times. Because it is so much fun both to dance and watch, it’s safe to say that swing will always be at least somewhat relevant in pop culture. 

Expert Precision

The expertise involved in high-quality swing dance is truly amazing to behold. The Global Swing Broadcast channel on YouTube showcases a video of the Sofia Swing Dance Festival from 2017 that clearly demonstrates this expert-level precision. But it looks so effortless and it is clear that those dancing are having an absolute blast. The movement in perfect harmony with the accompanying music is a dance all its own. The dancers and musicians are absolutely attuned to one another, making the experience of watching and listening just as much fun as actually participating as a dancer! There’s no doubt that for those interested in learning to dance for the sheer enjoyment of the activity should definitely look into the swing dance style!