Linda Barrontine and René Zgraggen, Montgomery, AL
Picture by Sam Phelps

 
           

Social & Nightclub Styles

   

West Coast Swing
 

     
           
 
 

West Coast Swing

Note that there are two basic ways of dancing the West Coast Swing, the ballroom way (many ballroom dance studios still teach it that way), and the way swing dancers do it. All the clips below show the latter technique.

Instructions
Ronnie DeBenedetta & Brandi Tobias - West Coast Swing Workshop - Capitol 2007. This is an excellent clip, showing several appealing and interesting intermediate patterns.
 


Competition

Swing Diego 2009 - West Coast Swing Clips

These dance clips are from a recent annual three-day-long swing dance weekend in San Diego.  Similar weekends occur in Anaheim, Atlanta, Dallas, Seattle, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, and twenty other cities in the U.S., by some of the present top West Coast Swing Dance competition couples in the U.S.  A year later at the 2010 event, many of these present best-in-the-world WCS dancers will have improved even more, and will be joined by some new couples.  Some of these phenomenal top dancers began seriously taking WCS and other styles of dance lessons at 8 to 10 years old.  The ones who have the most ability develop into this caliber of dancers by age 16 to 25 or 30.  They can be rapidly turning six times and stop in a tenth of a second.  The flow of their hands, arms, feet, legs, head, upper body and lower body greatly adds to the illusion they create individually and as partners.  They learn to arch only one side of their body, subtle head movements, extensions, how to hit certain lines, how to let their fingers, hands, feet and other parts of their body flow in such a natural way that there is a transformation into a creative beauty - for them to feel and for us to experience as we watch, or as we dance with them.  Some of the top competition dancers practice every day not only on new steps and choreography but learning, and practising over and over, to isolate their lower body and muscles from their upper body and their mid section from their chest - similar to the movements and flow of the best belly dancers and dancers from Hawaii and Tahiti.  They spend part of every day working on simple basics that all dancers learn.  But the best dancers of every type - ballroom, swing, ballet, tap, return to these basics and spend some time each day repeating these moves until their bodies and brains are trained consciously and subconsciously to use these basics and balance of body weight over balls of their feet, no matter what new steps and routines they or their choreographers create for them.  One workshop instructor demostrated in her workshop on techniques how she practiced isolating and moving different parts of her body when she was at her home brushing her teeth in front of a mirror.  Though these dancers live in a different world, requiring years of practicing and dedication, the great thing about dancing is that even beginners, and non competition intermediate and advanced dancers can enjoy dancing to good songs whether they only know three steps in each type of dance or thirty steps.  Few of the very large number of dancers in the U.S. and the world, compete.  Whether dancers take lessons or invent their own style of moving around the dance floor to the music as they feel it, there is a purity and pleasure that occurs when a good song begins and we move to the dance floor.  As much as I enjoy seeing the top dancers of every decade, I have also been mesmerized before over the years watching some couples and individuals dance their particular style, sometime at a lightning speed of 180 beats per minute and some using only the three street style steps they know, sometimes to a beautiful slow song, waltz or Samba - but so together and so enjoying flowing and moving together with their partner or with another dancer - fancy or not, beginner or experienced.  Dancers, beginners or experienced, can watch, learn and add some steps each week, month or year, from dance videos or from a couple you see on the floor.  You may be awkward at the first ten attempts of a new advanced step, but soon...... 
Murray Echols, Birmingham, AL

 


Competition

Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake - 2009 Seattle Dance Classic 
West Coast Swing with Kyle Redd & Sarah Vann Drake at Seattle's Easter Swing. 

And they only got 2nd Place.
Murray Echols, Birmingham, AL

 


Competition
 

Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann - 1st Place - Chicago Classic 2009
Also, they used this routine at the 2009 Grand National Dance Championships, Memorial Day weekend 2009 
Murray Echols, Birmingham, AL
 


Competition
John Lindo & Blake Hobby - Impromptu West Coast Swing - Pro Dancers 
This is one of my favorite dance performances to ever watch.  This is a part of this Dallas Dance swing dance weekend's events where all of the professional dance instructors and workshop leaders assemble and are paired by names being drawn from a hat.  Then with no previous practice they perform a routine. John Lindo an instructor from New York, Blake Hobby a school teacher and dance instructor from Connecticut. He can be a very strong leader.  In this instance he sensed she was able to dance the whole three minutes with almost no lead from him.  So, he had the skill and experience not to interfere with her as she created, and flowed to this great slow blues song.  This is the crowning exhibition of her career.  I have never seen her dance this well, flow this well,  even with choreographed routines with her regular pro partner.
Murray Echols, Birmingham, AL
 


Competition

Matt Auclair & Meagan McKechan - 2nd Place - Showcase Division
U.S. Open Swing Dance Championships.  Anaheim CA.  From St. Louis doing the St. Louis Imperial Swing.  Probably 1996.  About 19 and 16 years old.  Verycomplex long routine. They entered from out ot the blue and blew the 20 to 35 year old repeat winners, from previous years, away.  Outstanding dancing.
Murray Echols, Birmingham, AL
 


Competition

Robert Royston & Laureen Baldovi - 1st Place - West Coast Swing

1997 US Open Swing Dance Championships - Superstar Division - To Fever
 



Competition

Robert Royston & Katie Boyle - Imprompu West Coast Swing
Invitational Pro Jack & Jill.  Not their regular partner.  No previous practice. Probably Boston Tea Party. To Sweet Sixteen song by Junior Wells.
Murray Echols, Birmingham, AL
 



Competition
Benji Schwimmer & Heidi Groskreutz - 1st Place - Showcase Division

2005 US Open Swing Dance Championships - West Coast Swing 
 


Competition
Benji Schwimmer & Heidi Groskreutz at the 2001 US Open Swing Dance Championship, Showcase Division. Another performance by the champions. Watch some of their trademark tricks.
 


Performance
Freestyle by
Robert Cordoba And Deborah Szekely.
Sarah Fryman of Dothan, AL writes: "This is a funny, sexy, and breathtaking WCS."


Performance
Sarah Drake, Kyle Redd, Brandi Tobias & Ronnie DeBenedetta Dancing Together in Paris - July 2006



 


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDNr3Yc06VY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1z0cbSWfXU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9KIqOwwx1A

sentimental   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-iDOov3XW0

 


 


 


 

  

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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since 10/19/06

Published by René Zgraggen
Montgomery, AL
Dancing@renez.com