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date: 16 December 2019

Swing danceslocked

  • Claude Conyers


A general term commonly used to refer to a group of couple dances that developed concurrently with the swing style of jazz music in the 1930s and 1940s. Arguments have been made that some earlier dance forms, such as the Texas tommy and the Charleston, which predate swing music, should, on the basis of certain characteristic swinging movements, be included in the category of swing dances, but this argument has been rejected by officials of swing dance organizations. At a historic meeting of the Swing Dance Council of America in 1985, the following definition was approved:

Swing is an all-American couples rhythm dance consisting primarily of 6-beat and 8-beat patterns that cover either a circular or slotted area on the dance floor. Swing incorporates the use of underarm turns, side passes, push breaks, and whips—plus “4-beat” rhythm breaks, syncopations, and extensions of the same.

In 1994, an amendment to this definition was added by the World Swing Dance Council based on the percentage of movements required in specific competitions: “If you can identify the dance as something other than Swing, it cannot be considered part of the required percentage of Swing.” This amendment was added principally to clarify what was ...

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