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The 10 Different Types of Swing Dances

# Beginner Guides

Numerous variations of swing dances exist, each boasting its distinct style, background, and traits. These dances originate from diverse sources and feature differences in speed, moves, and technique but are all part of the broader swing dance family. 

Here's a list of some of the most prominent types:

1. Lindy Hop

Lindy Hop, also known as Lindy, is the most popular style of swing dance. It was invented in 1927 by African American dancers in Harlem, New York City. It became famous when it hit the dance floors of the Savoy Ballroom in 1928 and remained popular through the 1930s and 1940s. Lindy Hop is known for its energetic and bouncy movements, typically danced with 6 and 8-count steps. 

2. Jive

Jive, a lively and energetic style of swing dance, originated in the United States from African Americans in the early 1930s. It's characterized by its upbeat tempo and highly energetic movements. Typically danced with triple steps and sharp leg actions, Jive features a buoyant and upright posture, making it an exhilarating and dynamic dance style.

3. Rock and Roll

Rock and Roll, a dynamic form of swing dance, has roots dating back to around 1920. Originating from the Lindy Hop, it has evolved into a choreographed sport. This fast-paced and athletic partner dance is known for its physically demanding moves. It's commonly performed by both couples, usually of mixed gender.

4. Charleston

Charleston, a lively type of swing dance, traces its roots to the African dance called the Juba, which was brought to the United States and popularized in Charleston, South Carolina, hence its name. The dance is characterized by distinctive arm and leg movements; as one arm swings forward, the opposite leg steps forward, creating a syncopated rhythm. Meanwhile, the toes are not pointed, and the feet typically form a right angle with the leg at the ankle. This combination of movements gives Charleston its unique flair.. 

5. Balboa

Balboa or Pure-Bal, originates from as early as 1915 and gained prominence in Southern California during the swing era of the 1920s and 1930s. Balboa is often perceived as  introverted dance, with much of the action occurring below the knees. Yet, its allure stems from the diverse turns and twirls, enabling the lead to accentuate their partner's legs, especially captivating when the follow is attired in a flattering skirt and high heels.

6. Collegiate Shag

Collegiate Shag, a vibrant style of swing dance, traces its origins to the African American communities of the Carolinas in the 1920s. This energetic dance is characterized by its distinctive 6-count and 8-count patterns, featuring rapid footwork and arms held high in the air. Often depicted in vintage nightclubs in films that showcase hot jazz and up-tempo swing, Collegiate Shag exudes a lively and hoppy energy that captivates dancers and audiences alike.

7. Jitterbug

Jitterbug, a spirited form of swing dance, originated in African American dance clubs of Harlem, New York, and its surrounding areas. Sharing similarities with the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug is renowned for its high energy and sharp, jerking movements.  The basic jitterbug steps resemble those of the East Coast Swing, contributing to its widespread popularity and dynamic appeal on the dance floor.

8. Boogie Woogie

Boogie Woogie, a lively and improvisational partner dance, evolved from Lindy Hop and Swing. Unlike choreographed dances, Boogie Woogie is spontaneous and dynamic, yet it maintains a structured framework with well-defined sequences of steps. Drawing inspiration from Lindy Hop and various other swing styles, Boogie Woogie embodies a fusion of creativity, technique, and rhythmic flair.


9. East Coast Swing

East Coast Swing, a dynamic form of swing dance, emerged in the 1940s through the widespread influence of Arthur Murray's dance studio across the United States. This vibrant and upbeat dance is characterized by its bouncy rhythm and playful style, making it a favorite among dancers of all levels. With its basic 6-count pattern and array of turns and spins, East Coast Swing offers a lively and accessible dance experience. 

10. West Coast Swing

West Coast Swing, a sleek and stylish member of the swing dance family, traces its roots back to the 1950s, evolving from the Lindy Hop and various other swing dance genres. Known for its improvisational nature, West Coast Swing emphasizes connection between partners, intricate footwork, and syncopated rhythms. This dance strikes a balance between playfulness and sophistication, often described as the smoother, sexier cousin of swing. West Coast Swing captivates audiences with its fluid movements and timeless allure on the dance floor.


Ready to hit the dance floor? After exploring the abundance of online resources, why not dive into Dance Vision's swing classes to master East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing effortlessly? Don't hesitate—visit Dance Vision today to start your dance journey and explore the world of swing with these 10 diverse dance styles!



Whether you're drawn to the classic rhythms of the Lindy Hop or the smooth elegance of West Coast Swing, there's a swing dance for everyone. Let the rhythm guide you as you embark on this exciting journey!

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