What IS "Retro Swing"? - VIViD - Vancouver Island Vintage Dance

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What IS "Retro Swing"?

Swing Dances
What is "Retro Swing?"
The music music used for Retro Swing will be lively, tuneful dance music, mostly in the "Big Band" style (1935-1945+) and some from the earlier Dixieland, Ragtime and other Dance Band styles that preceeded it.
    True swing dancing started in the late 1930's when the music began to "swing" but Lindy Hop itself started earlier, about 1925, at the Savoy Ballroom in New York city. It was built on dances that   dancers already knew, particularly the newly invented foxtrot (slow, medium and fast) and from solo jazz moves. To this they added some Charleston steps. 
Lindy Hop is just as much an attitude as it is a dance and there is no "basic step" in Lindy Hop. But if there is a "basic step" it would be the classic "Slow, Slow, Quick-quick, Slow," in an 8 count pattern that freely switches to other patterns & moves as the dancers feel the music inspires them. It can be danced at an amazing variety of speeds from quite slow to medium fast. If the music is very fast dancers often do the Balboa, Charleston, Boogie-Woogie etc If the music is slow the "Lindy" dancing will be more like vintage foxtrot like or slow blues or even a tango move. 
        As the years passed by new dances evolved from Lindy Hop and Swing Dancers were always quick to include some of the moves from newer dances into their Lindy Hop dancing. So true swing dancers have a tradition of welcoming new dance styles. The variety of dance styles included into Lindy Hop includes the following:
1. Solo Jazz (approx. 1912)
2. Foxtrot (approx. 1912) The original "foxtrot" was a social dance at various speeds (fast, medium and slow). It was part of the "animal craze" with such dances as the "Flea" - Bear - Chicken - etc - etc. It is almost certainly a myth that it was named after the famous self-promoter Harry Fox (though he did perform it - once he had learned it from the original inventor).
3. Blues (approx. 1914) As soon as Blues music was invented dancers took to its suggestive grooves. It was a hit. Still is. Some blues music is very slow and some is surprisingly fast.
4. Lindy Hop (1925) Now danced as "Retro Swing" in the tradition of welcoming and including all the dance styles listed here.
5. Charleston (1920's)
6. Shag (Street Swing)  Some Universities in Texas and Louisiana were said to be dancing Shag in inter-campus competitions as early as 1915. It was revived and adapted in Carolina in the 1920's and later on the West Coast. At one time it was called the "Flea Hop." The original music was fast Ragtime music but Shag has always easily adapted to other music. 
7. Jitterbug, (6 count) (1928) Closely related to Lindy, and eventually gave rise to what we now call "fast jive."
8. Boogie Woogie (1928) 
9. East Coast Swing (6 or 8 count) (once also known as East Coast Lindy)
10. Balboa (1940's) (but perhaps as early as 1915, but not widely known until the early1940's).  Today it is danced as either "Pure Balboa" or as "Bal-Swing" and generally to very fast music. 
11. West Coast Swing (1930's) Has Lindy roots and was originally 8 count to slow or medium speed blues music; it is now mostly 6 count. Once called "Blues" or "Western Swing" it gradually became known as W.C.S. many years later. Many W.C.S. dances today do not use swing music at all but use "contemporary" music. The dance has evolved into something quite different and in its own way it is quite beautiful.
12. Rock and Roll (1950's +) Jive style similar to jitterbug, but much simplified. A great deal of Rock and Roll music is amzingly suitable for smooth Lindy. Sometimes it "swings" but is often "straight."
 - Disco Dancing (1970's). The music is seldom swing, but an amazing amount of moves are based on solo jazz steps still used in many swing dances. "Disco" was origanlly a partner dance but gradually became almost entirely solo. At one time it also used line dances updated from the 1920's jazz versions (Line Dancing has now become very popular, and to a wide variety of music).
 - Swing Waltz  (Sometimes known as "Cross-Step Waltz") it has become popular and is a revival of a French waltz style (1920) adapted from earlier Viennese & other waltzes. It uses swing dance moves but the music is not "swing."
Almost all of the music for swing dances is also suitable for for either, fast Jive or slow jive.
Other Dance Forms. 
There are many other dance forms - but since they are not swing dances they are mostly ignored here. 
VIViD also runs dances that include contra dances, Country Dances, Ceilidhs, Quadrilles (Square Dances) and s????  etc which are all vintage dances - but do not use swing music.
Of note, however, are Ballroom Dances (of which there are a huge variety back to 1840's), Argentine Tango, Waltzes of many different styles, many Latin Dances (many of which are not actual ballroom dances but are "slot/spot" dances) and, of course, modern fitness "Exercise Dances."

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