Arthur Murray Dance Studios are Masters of the East Coast Swing
East Coast Swing is an all-time classic rhythm dance. This six-count, standard ballroom dance is simply the easiest to learn and practice of all of dances among the swing family. It is perfect for a swing beginner, and best suited for dancing with big band music. Characterized by its energetic twists and turns, East Coast Swing blends in well with soul music, rockabilly and blues. You will enjoy the energetic and refreshing feel of the dance which carries you away as you dance across unlimited space.
If swing is your thing, learn the East Coast dance. The good news about it is – it remains a fundamentally simple dance. The better news is – once you’ve mastered its simple steps, you are ready to embark on learning more complex swing dance styles. So East Coast Swing essentially sets you up to pursue expertise in Swing dance in general. The level of expertise you want to achieve in swing dance is really up to you, but the East Coast style is the best pre-requisite to any other swing dance, be it West Coast, Lindy Hop or Jitterbug.
What is the East Coast Swing?
East Coast Swing is a rhythm dance with six-beat patterns. It is based on the Lindy Hop, but has its own standardization. East Coast Swing dance has some of Lindy Hop’s styling but less overall movement and fewer timing variations. The dance is performed to music with a wide range of tempos, traditionally big band swing from the jazz era. The dance usually follows a circular form, unlike the slotted West Coast Swing which is predominantly linear.
The dance comprises three basic steps: triple step, triple step, rock step. The music which best serves the East Coast Swing is diverse, and includes oldies (e.g. Elvis and Chuck Berry), country, jump blues, top 40 and big band. East Coast Swing is also the most versatile dance, and you can perform it in both the ballroom and the bar room. At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, our instructors give you a wide range of music options to swing to. Swing music is written in 4/4 time with a tempo of 145-170 beats per minute, meaning the dance is relatively fast. The steps are therefore supposed to be small and light. The East Coast Swing dance is no different from rope skipping: awkward at first, but effortless later.
At Arthur Murray Dance Studios, we categorize East Coast Swing as a “rhythm dance”, not a “smooth dance”. Plenty of hip movements among men and women are normally present. Most people find problems when taking steps, and some take steps that are too large. For good moves, keep the steps small, especially the “rock step.” Close the feet on the “and” of the triple step too. When dancing the East Coast Swing, take the “triple steps” by striking the floor with the inside edge of the ball of the foot. In the rock step, keep the spine in front of the rocking foot.
The rock step consists of six beats during which the “lead” (traditionally, the man) and the “follow” (traditionally, the lady) both take different postures. In the rock beat 1, the “lead” steps back with his left foot while the “follow” steps back with her right foot. On the step beat 2, the lead steps forward (to where he began) with his right foot, while the follow steps forward (to where she began) with her left foot. On step beat 3, the lead steps to the left with the left foot, and the follow steps to the right with the right foot. On step beat 4, lead begins to shift his weight back to his right foot while the follow shifts her weight to her left foot. On step five, the lead steps to the right with his right foot, while the follow steps to the left with her left foot. The dancers complete the sixth beat with the lead shifting his weight to the left and back, as the follow begins to shift her weight to the right and back.
The History of the East Coast Swing
The origin of the East Coast Swing dance can be traced back to the 1940s. It came up as an offshoot of the Foxtrot, modified from a prior original form – the Lindy Hop. In an effort to tame the growing popularity of the street swing, the American Society of Teachers of Dancing (ASTD) – many of whose members were former Arthur Murray instructors – debuted the American Swing syllabus in 1942. In the 1950s, the East Coast Swing Dance gained popularity across the Arthur Murray Dance Studios which numbered more than 2000 across the world at our peak.
Come to Arthur Murray Studios and Swing the Night Away
Nobody can claim more knowledge of East Coast Swing than Arthur Murray Dance Studios instructors. In fact, the dance style was the brainchild of Arthur Murray Dance Studios along with other dance studios in the 1940s. Arthur Murray and his contemporaries passed this information down to our current instructors. Old as it is, not many studios teach the dance though, and very few can claim expertise. We promise to give you our best, and we delight in nurturing talent.
The dance normally requires a large space that can allow couples to circle freely around the floor (much like the “all-over-the-floor” characteristic of the Lindy Hop). The Arthur Murray Dance Studios are ideal for this style of swing dance. Find your way into our studios, and give us your best shot.
The East Coast Swing dance is the perfect dance for a beginner who wishes to pursue expertise in any other style of swing. The dance distinguishes itself from its contemporaries by its basic form and ease, and remains one of the best ballroom dances ever. You have a pool of knowledgeable instructors at Arthur Murray Dance Studios, who are more than willing to assist you as you sharpen your skills. Your first lesson at our studios is only $20, and we use this time to assess your level and help you come up with clear plan to reach your goals. Sign up with us, and grab your chance to learn an incredible classic dance.