What is West Coast Swing?
West Coast Swing (WCS) is a partner dance that has its roots in Lindy Hop (the more traditional swing dance). However, the West Coast Swing style of dance has constantly evolved over the years to adapt to the popular music of the era. One of the things that make West Coast Swing unique is that it isn’t defined by a single music style it is danced to. People dance this style to most kinds of popular music. It started with Jazz and Blues, moved to Country bars in various areas in the US, then over they years to Pop music, Hip-Hop, and other Contemporary genres. For this reason, West Coast Swing is often referred to as “Modern Swing”.
Here’s a video that demonstrates what West Coast Swing looks like and the types of music genres that can be danced to.
What clothing should I wear?
In contrast to many other dance styles, West Coast Swing does not have a defined dress code. This means you can feel free to wear almost anything you like to make yourself comfortable and express yourself.
For social dancing, it’s most important to wear something convenient. Men usually wear stretchy pants, such as jeans or anything similar, and a t-shirt. You’ll probably get sweaty during social dancing, so better bring extra t-shirts for changing. Some wear fancier-looking buttoned shirts, which is, of course, totally acceptable.
Women usually wear pants and shirts when dancing West Coast Swing, and not skirts or dresses. These are, of course, acceptable as well, but less comfortable to dance in. Wearing a top that has extra fabric and can float during spins can be a cool idea.
If you have long hair, it may be helpful to clip or pin it away from your face in order to keep it out of your eyes and out of your partner’s face while spinning or turning.
In conclusion, when you attend a party, a workshop, or a class, choose clothes that make you feel like yourself. Wear something casual, just like you would wear when you go shopping or hanging out with friends.
What shoes should I wear?
Almost any kind of shoes is acceptable to dance in, including sneakers and sandals.
Different shoes serve different purposes, and you’d like to choose dance shoes that best fit your needs. First, you should look for shoes that are comfortable for you and best fit the shape of your foot. Second, your shoes should provide you with a good grip on the dance floor while still allowing you to slide, turn, and spin.
For ladies, dance shoes and sandals are usually the most popular choices. Nonetheless, many female dancers choose to dance in sneakers, closed-toed shoes, or other casual shoes. Women’s shoes for West Coast Swing often have a small heel – much smaller than used for Latin dances like Salsa.
Men may select ballroom shoes, sneakers, hybrids (a mixture of ballroom and sneakers), or any kind of street shoes, like Toms.
Usually, it’s best to have suede soles to have a good grip and still be able to slide and turn. Alternatively, you can use felt. You can attach these materials to any kind of soles, and you can even add them yourself. Otherwise, you can buy dance socks that you can wear on your shoes instead of attaching an additional sole.