Swing itself is a collection of hundreds of dances that were created to go with the swing music, a type of jazz typically performed by big bands. It began in the 1920s and started to decline in the ‘40s, but it enjoyed a revival throughout the ‘50s and ‘60s thanks to artists like Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Nat King Cole. East Coast Swing originated in the ‘40s at dance studios (like Arthur Murray) as an easier alternative to the Lindy Hop.
When to Dance the Swing
The East Coast Swing uses a simple six-step pattern, and it can be danced solo or with a partner. Since so many songs work with Swing dancing, it is a popular option for weddings and other special occasions. Great Swing artists range from Big Bad Voodoo Daddy to Benny Goodman.
- The term, “Eastern Swing,” was coined by Arthur Murray Studios.
- East Coast Swing was often called the Jitterbug. It was also known as American Swing or East Coast Lindy.
- In the ‘50s, Arthur Murray tried to rename the dance, “Rock ‘n Roll,” to take advantage of the new music trend featuring Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry – but the new name never caught on.