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

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by achilles007, Sep 27, 2011.

  1. juwest333

    juwest333 Active Member

    I was having trouble with this as well, and after reading this thread, I am now even more confused. :) I have been doing lindy hop for about 4 months now, but when I look at videos of East Coast Swing, they look almost exactly the same (at least to me). Can you easily transition between the two? Could I go to an East Coast Swing event and still hold my own?
  2. Hank

    Hank Member

    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.
  3. juwest333

    juwest333 Active Member

    Thanks for the info and the advice, Hank! I will definitely give it a go!
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Wanted to put this somewhere. Guess this is as good as any, and here is why it's here.

    I'm still working through the dancing in Rock Around the Clock, and in researching it, I see the "Boogie Woogie" was a specific move "characterized by sinuous hip rotation suggestive of Hawaian Hula." This according to Life magazine in 1943 with a now famous (among Lindy Hoppers at least I'd say) article that declared The Lindy Hop as a true national folk dance born in the U.S.A.
  5. LindyKeya

    LindyKeya Member

    Perhaps that was fair assessment in 1943, but not in 1956 (and not any Boogie Woogie I've ever seen!). Boogie Woogie kind of fits somewhere between Jive (not the ballroom one, the European one) and Rock N Roll. In practice it's essentially a variation on the way triple steps are done (and, currently in Europe, with lots of aerials). Because of the way the footwork is different the hips do move differently than in other swings (and partly because as the tempo increases, you can't just minimize how the hips move, as in other types).
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Found this link with one quick google. I think it may help. Or it may just cause more confusion. It contains a brief description of a BUNCH of swing dances, with a little historical info as well. :D

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_(dance)

    ETA: For some reason, the link doesn't take you there. You have to copy and paste the url.
  7. samina

    samina Well-Known Member

    I have always wondered about the line between these two -- this clarification was most helpful.
  8. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Darn it! That Balboa website (balboanation dot com) is gone, as is funkyfreak, the incredibly helpful guy who used to run it. *sigh*
  9. regis

    regis Active Member

    These are the best deffinitions of what I am familiar with so far.

    From what I am reading on here it seems to me that thre are just different variations of the dances depending on what region or area you travel to.

    If you come to visit my studio though East Coast (Triple swing, Triple Time Swing) is taught as a 6 count dance. Partners start the basic in a closed postion forming a "V" pattern, begin with a rock-step (1-2), triple step to the side/out- the lead's left (3-and-4), then triple back in (5-and-6). With the rock step and the triples the dance is supposed to be really bouncy, so it helps if the beat is "bouncy" sounding. This clip is a good example, at the end when everyone gets on the floor

    Lindy Hop I have not actually learned but what I have seen at the studio, they teach it to a single time swing beat and begins with the rock step then goes into a lift one leg and kick out lift the other leg and kick out ...
  10. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    That's Lisa Gaye and Earl Barton. If you look very carefully you will see that Lisa steps forward on her right foot when they are partnering. When she appears to be stepping onto her left it's actually part of a swivel.
    The toe heel cross used to known as Wheeling. according to Skippy Blair it was fairly common until the early 90s in West Coast Swing. Note also the Whip they do, which is rarely if ever seen in ECS.

    Based on their partnering in their routines in this movie, "Rock Around the Clock," what they do is consistent with the written descriptions of Western Swing by Laure Haile. And Western Swing was at that time the equvialent of West Coast Swing. Gaye and Barton were not part of the 1st generation of Hollywood Lindy dancers.

    The other people, they're all over the place like in most of these films. In general they referred to their dancing as "Lindy."
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Nothing quite as valuable as a dance historian in da house. :)


    I also remember quite a few conversations, back in the day, about swing dances having to be danced to music that is "swung." Never did understand what that is supposed to mean.
  12. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    One day I will start posting stuff in the thread I started on Observations on West Coast Swing music
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Today? :p Just kidding! Whenever you get a chance I would appreciate that. :)
  14. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    So, now that you found those two old threads, is it any clearer?
  15. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Yes. Thanks for asking. But the only thing 'think will make it *clear* is actually trying some lindy hop. (As in describing a swingout is not the same thing as dancing one.) These were actually not the threads I was looking for, btw. I was looking for a couple discussions I remember about how to define music that is "swung." Didn't find those, but I will.

    I thought that those old threads addressed some questions that ECBB brought up this past week, so I bumped them up. Maybe a few of the swing folks can jump in and discuss. :cool:
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Good hunting. My homework this evening is looking at how many ways there are to play "shuffle," which you would think would be simple, but, there are so many variations.
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    You got that right, brother. HOURS of reading and I still didn't find what I wanted, but at least I found a few oldie but goodie threads. :)
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve, they are called ( In A.M. ) Crossover swivels, and are taught moving left to right ,and travelling in a circle, in both E. and WCS .

    The " Whip " re-surfaced in Latin Hustle in the late 70s .
  19. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    I can hear the swung rythm or not, have done since before I started dancing. Im a classically trained violinist but also branched out into bluegrass and scottish/irish folk music and some swing fiddle.

    I find it hard to dance lindy to music that doesn't swing, it just feels wrong. The swing drops out as you get closer to 50's style rock'n'roll music.

    Edit: I also have a slightly hard time dancing continuously in 6 count patters, be it doing collegiate shag or just 6 count lindy moves/ECS. I can really hear the 8 count patterns in the music and it's hard work not letting that confuse me. I found this particularly hard while doing a beginner crash course in collegiate shag. Fun dance though.
  20. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    No offense or challenge. Really want to know. What does "the swung rhythm" mean? I know there are some of threads about it, but I can't find them.

    ETA: I haven't done rhythmic dictation in a billion years but I'm sure that, if you can describe it, I'll be able to hear it. :)

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