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When jazz music soared in popularity in the early twentieth-century, dancers responded to its exuberant sounds with the high-energy swing family of dancing. Typically danced in 6-count or 8-count patterns, swing dances pick up the syncopated rhythms and relaxed style of swing music.
Older dances like the Charleston contributed to the development of Lindy Hop, the grandfather of swing dances, which was all the rage in the 1920s and 1930s, and since that time a whole range of swing dances have developed. On the West Cost, Balboa developed in the late 1920s and 1930s. And East Coast Swing appeared on the dance scene in the 1940s when dance studios created a simplified and more fixed version of Lindy Hop for teaching. In the 1970s, the Hustle adapted swing dancing to the timing and aesthetic of the changing music. The smooth, slotted version of the dance started as Western Swing in the 1940s and 1950s before really gaining a following under its current name, West Coast Swing. More recently, electroswing music has given dancers the chance to again adapt this versatile dance to new sounds. Swing dancing and music continue to grow and evolve today, and especially when there’s live music, the interplay between the improvisation of dancers and musicians pushes both to the limits.