Lindy Lesson #2: Lindy vs. West Coast Swing

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Black Sheep, Apr 8, 2003.

  1. Black Sheep

    Black Sheep New Member

    Lindy Lesson #2,
    There are 2 major forms of Lindy/Swing: West Coast & Classical Savoy Lindy.
    There is a very simple way of determining the different forms. If the Lady is traveling on the 1-2 (where the rock step should be), you are learning the West Coast Swing (WCS).
    If the Lady is always Rocking Back on the 1-2 with the man always Rocking in the direction of his lead, then you are learning the Classical Savoy Lindy. (CSL)
    Before you trivialize this difference, allow me to explain the techniques that accrue from this simple Rock Step difference. But first, a little history will help substantiate my premise:
    The Arthur Murray Dance Studios have for the past fifty plus years been teaching the West Coast Swing Form, i;e. with Lady traveling on the 1-2. (Rock Step).
    Frankie Manning, an original member of 'Whitey's Lindy Hoppers' and all New Yorkers danced the Savoy Lindy up until 1950 or so. It is significant that Europeans and even the dancers in San Francisco are dancing this advanced form of Classical Lindy. It is a strange phenomenon that only in Southern California, does the West Coast Swing (WCS) form predominate. What were the results in the National Champion Contest this year? Any Southern California winners? WCS dancers can develop into impressive performers, but a lack of Classical Lindy techniques will limit their development toward their full potential abilities. 'Good is Good, But Better Wins'.
    Classical Savoy Lindy Techniques: (CSL)
    1) When dancers Rock away from each other, they create a stretching tension like pulling a rubber band, which gives impetus for the Ladies Traveling Steps which follow.
    2) Traveling on the first Triple (3 steps) is economical (instead of the 5 steps used in WCS) and leaves her free to do her embellishing footwork on the remaining second triple, plus her Rock Step variations.
    3) Leading is simplified when both partners know exactly when the Lady will travel; only on the first Triple.
    4) Syncopated Rhythm is a CSL must. (WCS dancers accent the down beat)
    5) Precise Directional Control is maintained because of the 'Constant Resistance' between partners.
    6) The Whip Variations start on the First Triple and end with 2 steps (Rock Step) using only 4 quarter
    beats, not the WCS 8 quarter beats.
    So if your instructors are having the Lady traveling on the 1-2 (Rock Step), they are NOT teaching you the Lindy Hop, but West Coast Swing and too often calling it the Lindy; a very clever deception.
    One last word about 'The evolution of Swing'. The Classical Savoy Lindy Hop was developed over two decades (1920's-1940's) by the greatest hoofers, Lindy dancers that ever lived. When you can show me some one who can 'Evolve the Lindy' to a higher level of technical perfection, that will be the day I believe in Darwin's Theory of Evolution. So all you dancers with fishes for ancestors, keep on evolving. I don't mean that in a bad way!
    Check out my web site for historical notes and vintage photos of the 1950's of my Hollywood days, and download dozens of vintage dance photos of some of the greatest dancers of the 20th Century for your collection: www.lindybylanza.com .

    See you at Suzy Q's on Friday nights
    Black Sheep

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