Swing Dance Styles taught at EUSDS
Lindy Hop, sometimes called "Jitterbug" by those who do not dance,
the main dance style of EUSDS and of almost all other swing dance clubs
and societies across the world. Lindy Hop is one of the most
dances of the 20th century; it was not the first true partnered swing
(shag pre-dates it) but it is the ancestor to a huge number of later
dances such as jive,
and even break-dancing. Dating back to the late 1920s, Lindy Hop is a
Royce of dance styles, able to look really smooth and cool to slow
and also able to fly like the wind when the tempo picks up. You can
watch archive clips of authentic Lindy Hop by clicking here
(where the star is the inventor of the dance, George Snowden), here (after a
short into), and
here (with a 50s feel).
to find out more about Lindy Hop, including details of basic steps.
Lindy Hop is the only one of the dance styles on these pages that is
taught every year, throughout the academic year; the others come and go
in shorter chunks of time,
Shag is a very fast close-hold dance that evolved in the crowded dance floors of college "hops" in the USA. It can be danced to the fastest jazz music, and fits swing music as well as the Rag-Time for which it evolved (it pre-dates Lindy Hop). EUSDS is the only place in Scotland to teach classes in Collegiate Shag. The name has no rude connotations in the USA, by the way. You can watch a video of period shag dancing by clicking here, here and here, and you can watch cartoon characters dancing shag in a wonderful pre-war 'pop video' by clicking here. You can see a modern demonstration of shag (with some Balboa too) by Markus and Baerbl, probably the best shag dancers around today, here.
Visit the class notes page on the Swingdoctors' website
for notes and videos about how to dance Collegiate Shag.
Bal-Swing is a derivative of Balboa that opens out and takes up more space. Most 'balboa' classes taught round the world are actually classes in Bal-swing. Bal-swing includes all balboa and then a lot of other material besides. It is difficult to fid vintage movies of Balboa. You can see a 1970s clip of some famous Balboa old-timers dancing here, and of modern international-level dancers here. This vintage clip is of a style of Balboa/ Bal-swing that owed much to shag; it illustrates well the point that Balboa does not have to be a smooth and gliding dance!
Bal-trot is a modern invention which turns Balboa into a progressive
dance that goes around the room the way that Foxtrot, Quickstep etc do.
By dancing Bal-trot you can therefore mix with members of Footloose in
ballrooms, but you still have the full repertoire of Balboa and
Bal-swing moves to drop in to look really flashy!
We teach all three forms at EUSDS.
Visit the class notes page on the Swingdoctors' website for notes and videos about how to dance Balboa.
St Louis Shag ("speed shag")
St Louis Shag is a partner dance derived from the Charleston. It can
be danced at very high speed, although some of its figures can look
graceful at moderately-paced music. It is danced mostly in place, the
body barely moving but the legs dancing different patterns on the
floor. It is not often seen any more - EUSDS is probably the only place
to teach it in the UK. I have not found any vintage movie clips, but
you can see a modern one by clicking here,
The Charleston is not strictly a swing dance but is such a close
that it seems a pity to ignore it. The Charleston is the dance
of the Roaring
It is mainly an unpartnered dance form, and danced well can be both
and funny. You can find a great show of autenitc 20s Charleston here,
with instruction. You can see a compilation of original 1920s footage here, here,
and another here:
they show dancing and other aspects of 20s life. The strange movie to
be found here
seems to include images from a pre-war party with Charleston and Bunny
Hop going on, but has a very modern sound track.
Visit the class notes page on the Swingdoctors' website for notes and videos about how to dance the Charleston.
When the music gets really slow, Lindy Hop is no longer
and a different style, intimate and dreamy
better. This year, we will do a special themed class inthis style -
Slow Drag - on the nearest lesson to Valentine's
day. The dancers pictured above are from EUSDS,
by the way.
One feature of the swing era was a succession of crazes for jazz
dances. We teach some of the more famous ones, because they are fun and
also because they are a very good way to practice steps that appear in
partnered dances too. You can see original footage (1930s) of Whitey's
Lindy Hopers doing the Big Apple here. You can
see Frankie Manning (see the photo under 'Lindy Hop') leading a
shim-sham, at the age of 90, here.
Visit the class notes page on the Swingdoctors' website for notes and videos about how to dance some of these strolls and line dances..
The following dances are sometimes confused with swing dances, but
they are NOT because the music for which they evolved was not swung.
They are not taught at EUSDS, but we can put you in touch with people
who teach them if you ask us to;