Likes and Dislikes -- What Makes West Coast Swing?

Discussion in 'Videos' started by pygmalion, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This thread is a place for sharing fave and opposite of fave WCS videos and commentary. Over the past few days, I've seen some of each, and it's obvious to me that WCS is evolving. And yes. I have the nerve to have mixed feelings about that. :)

    Anyway. I think I'll start by sharing a video I discovered tonight. A new fave.

    I LOVE this routine because of the sheer musicality of these two. Even though (I'm pretty sure) this is an improvised routine, somehow they managed to hit a line that accentuated every break in the music. Beautiful, from both a dance and a musical perspective.




    Anybody else have things they like/dislike that they want to share? Doesn't have to be video. :cool:
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Have to say that WCS done to a disco mix is not my fave. Also Sarah Vann Drake is a PISTOL! Warning: This is a long video. It is interesting to see some of the same folks who dance "traditional" WCS dancing to club music.

  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Love this. I've known about John Lindo for some time -- went to a workshop of his ten? years ago. What I like about this is a few things. One, he has a laid back style that I like -- personal preference really. But also, he gives the lady lots of space to do her own styling. ETA: Oh yeah and his body rolls, hip hop moves, etc, fit the music perfectly.

  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Another awesome John Lindo performance. Check out again how he gives the lady an opening to do styling. He doesn't force or over-control anything He just gives her an opening and lets her do what she wants with it. Nice. With this one, both of them have a LOT of musicality. Maybe they already know the song?

  5. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    John Lindo is the person that showed me WCS is everymans dance

    dont need to be ballet perfect or thin etc etc

    that dude can MOVE!!

    much love to John and what he brings to the floor!!
    pygmalion likes this.
  6. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Here's one I don't like. the dancing is beautiful. gorgeous. I just don't care for all the theatrics. It's doesn't look like WCS to me, anymore.

  7. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    I'd bet $1,000 this was, indeed, improvised and not a routine. That is how they dance. Bear in mind that by the time these people get to the invitational level, they have not only been dancing for years, they have all danced with each other many times. They also have probably danced to all the songs many times...and this particular song is VERY popular. That said, when you dance a lot of WCS you start to recognize patterns in the music and are able to interpret even a new song pretty well. Especially when you're at that level.

    And yes, I loved this dance.
    pygmalion likes this.
  8. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Bear in mind this is a showcase number, which is an elite category most dancers never even attempt. It has different rules as to the amount of swing content required, allows lifts, etc. I believe many people feel as you do, but I enjoy it for what it is and not something I think I'm ever going to do.
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Sure. It's beautiful dancing. I just have a hard time wrapping my mind around the idea of it being WCS.
  10. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    This made me curious. What counts as "swing content?"

    The lower levels comp videos I watched have all had recognizable WCS basics. The high level/not showcase numbers have all looked like WCS, whatever that means -- slotted, certain recognizable patterns, footwork (especially in the ladies.)

    How do they define "swing content?" (If you know. If you don't know off the top of your head, no sweat. This is not a test. :D) I just wonder.
  11. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah and, to borrow from the thread title, what makes West Coast Swing? The music, for the most part, is not swung. The "swing content" appears to be lessening, especially if you watch that long, long something-or-the-other jam video that's done to club music. I see popping, locking, break dancing, pirouettes, all sorts of stuff that has nothing to do with traditional swing.

    So how far do you go before its NOT WCS anymore and is another dance entirely?
  12. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    Funny you should ask. There is a debate raging right now about just that topic and it caused a huge thing at US Open last year. There is a group of people saying there isn't enough "swing content" at the higher levels and are threatening people with disqualification. So the competitors say, "OK. What counts as swing content?" and the answer is kind of "we know it when we see it." But, yeah...slotted (although it's very fashionable to drift the slot or let it rotate first one way and then back), some footwork. There should be some triple steps, particularly on the anchors, although it doesn't have to be every time. Definitely anchoring.

    I'd love it if someone else could weigh in on that topic.
  13. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    I hope others will weigh in, too. Maybe we can twist tangotime's arm. He mentioned in another thread yesterday some things about his new WCS class that lead me to believe he has knowledge and a strong opinion about this.
  14. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    But on the other hand, that's the wonderful thing about WCS. You can make it your own and dance to almost any kind of music if you really want to. There's a lot of freedom, so why not take advantage of that freedom?
  15. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    WCS has always been a dance that morphs, changes and evolves. The popular mainstream music and the dance changes with it. That's how it grew out of lindy originally.

    So Id say that WCS done to hiphop is still WCS but also that WCS while a dance from the swing family of dances doesn't really swing much these days.
  16. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    double post. server is acting strangely
  17. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member


    Yeah. I hear ya. But ... Don't get me wrong. The dance purists get on my very last nerve. Dances evolve. But, once you get to the point that the dance is unrecognizable next to its root dance, uhh, isn't it now something completely different?
  18. Siggav

    Siggav Moderator Staff Member

    Yep which is why it's called west coast swing rather than lindy :p

    Couldn't help myself saying that but no of course you have a point, I think I've got it in my head that WCS is the version of swing dance that moves with the popular music of the day while the others are frozen at one point or another. We might be at a stage though where it would make sense to "freeze" another strand but I'm not sure how you'd do that. Might be more that 20 years from now you'll get young people digging up the old school WCS and dancing that because they really like it.
  19. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Smart aleck! :p

    That's what I was getting at with the long, long jam video above. In it, some "old schoolers" like Robert Royston, Sarah Van Drake, and a few others are dancing to club music -- Usher, IIRC, and a few other artists, and they don't look anything like themselves in the other videos that we've posted. Very little overlap.

    But boogie woogie, for example, branched off from "swing" or "lindy" or whatever you want to call it in the late 40s, IIRC, and has stayed frozen in time ever since. Yet there are people all over the world (especially Europe) who learn, love and grow while dancing boogie woogie to this day. Why should WCS of the 80's/90's (for example) disappear just because some younguns entered the scene -- younguns who have ballet or modern or hiphop,etc influences?

    Nothing wrong with ballet, modern, hip hop, etc. But, to me, it's not swing.
  20. twnkltoz

    twnkltoz Well-Known Member

    The older style hasn't disappeared from the social floor, just from competition.

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