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lindy vs swing
Posted by Jerry Herzog
11/13/1999  7:52:00 PM
I was previously told that Lindy is different than East Coast Swing. But I now have two books, one the Fred Astaire Dance book and the other Betty Whites "Dancing made easy" and both describe the steps to the east coast swing as the Lindy. So what had changed?
re: lindy vs swing
Posted by Jonathan Atkinson
11/13/1999  10:47:00 PM

It depends on who you talk to. EC Swing as danced by ballrom dancers is very different from the EC Swing as danced by Lindy dancers.

If a ballroom dancer were to look at an EC Swing as danced by a Lindy dancer, he/she would probably call it Lindy. On the other hand, if a Lindy dancer were to look at an EC Swing as danced by a ballrom dancer, he/she would probably call it a Jive or a Ballroom Swing. So the answer depends on what kind of EC Swing you had in mind.

Some people will say that EC Swing is based on 6-count figures while Lindy is 8-count figures, but it's not quite as simple as that. Yes, the basic fundamental steps which define each dance follow this structure, but above and beyond that, you can use both 6 and 8-count figures in either dance, plus any other combination of rhythms as long as it suits the style.

Generally, Lindy is thought of as the authentic style of Swing, the granddaddy of all swings. EC Swing is considered more of a spinoff. It's not a bad idea to learn both, so that you can have some first-hand experience, and so that you will be compatible with any group of people that you may go out dancing with.

Jonathan Atkinson

re: lindy vs swing
Posted by Snow8517
11/13/1999  11:16:00 PM
The last poster was right. I'll try to shed a little more light on how these "two" dances came about. Lindy as you must know came about in the very late 20's and was danced through the 30's 40's and right into the earyl 50's. ECS is what you would call the Jitterbug today (before mid 50's the Jitterbug wassn't a dance but a nickname for a swing dancer). ECS or the Jitterbug is a 6 count basic step, with triple-steps. That's the difference. In lindy, the 6 count step that looks like ECS is usualy done single. Now yes you can do single or triple in either. But these differences add to the look of each individual dance. ECS is bouncy and early rock-and-roll dancing. While Lindy can be and is done to solid swing, but can be done to rock just as ECS can be done to "pure swing". So to totaly answer your questions, no they are not the same dance. They both have different styles, one was created many years after the other. Today people use them interchangeably, which is good. Just as people use Sagg or Balboa and Lindy togeather. But the more you dance swing you get to see the difference in style (or usualy ECS dosen't use that many 8 count steps, and if you see 8 count and 6 count mixed it's usualy Lindy, as a rule). Think of it as: if there is a swing out (the Lindy basic) it's lindy, if not it's not Lindy (whatever it may be). I hope this helps, it is very very confusing! But just think about the time thing, ECS just wassn't around when Lindy was (the 6 count steps were but not as their own basic and dance). Wow, it's late and I'm really tired, so I'm sorry if this message is liek all over the place. Good Luck!


re: lindy vs swing
Posted by Tany the Tree
6/13/2000  9:22:00 PM
Bringing an old thread back to life...

First a disclaimer: lots of people define swing dances and styles in different ways. This is my definition made from personal experience and the comments of others.

Ok. In the beginning (of this story at least) there was lindy. Then east coast people took what they liked from lindy and made it ECS and west coast people did the same to make WCS. Lindy incorportates 6-count steps (which some people label as a different dance: ECS or WCS) as well as the 8-count steps that some think are all there is to lindy. Meaning, ECS and lindy are the same thing except ECS doesn't use as many moves. Of course, then people started thinking of ECS as its own dance form and building off of that which may explain why it is usually more bouncy.

There is a discussion at the message board at www.lindycafe.com if you want more views. It would be under a thread called "is this even a word" or something like that...its near the end of the thread

Trees are people too!
¡Viva los árboles!

re: lindy vs swing
Posted by Jess
6/14/2000  2:12:00 PM
Wow, a lot of stuff was covered on this thread! I'd just like to add that charleston, which strongly influenced the style of lindy hop, is also an eight count dance and is thrown into every dance as well. I'd also like to add (since music form was brought up) That you can seriously lindy to ANY thing! Hip hop, backstreet boys, britny spears.. Ricky Martin is fun, and Santana would be fun if they weren't so annoying- Lindy fits perfectly with almost everything, 6 count east coast is more awkward with anything but swing (It even feels funny with Ska, which some people would argue is almost swing) That's why I like Lindy better- you can do it anywhere anytime.. six count was a dance made specifically for swing music though, so it's not as flexible as Lindy! I'm just babbling on now, so I'll end this post
Re: re: lindy vs swing
Posted by kowloontong
3/25/2008  2:18:00 AM
Actually, in the beginning was a dance - swing, and the music was called swing music because of the dancing, not the other way around. Lindy Hop is first recorded as early as 1926, and the Savoy Ballroom is credited as it's birthplace. (The term Lindy Hop is credited to Shorty George Snowden. In 1927, he was asked by a news reporter the name of the dance a group was doing. Near him was a newspaper with the headline "Lindy Hops the Atlantic" in honor of Lindberg's flight to Paris. Shorty George answered "Lindy's Hop" and thus the name. [Some account's drop the possessive to Lindy Hop] ) The first recorded performances of Savoy - style Lindy are in A Day at the Races (1937) and Hellzapoppn' (1941), the second film is credited as the first choreographed routine by Frankie Manning. The Lindy basic (whip) is an 8 count move.

In the late 1930s the American Society of Dance Teachers began developing the Jitterbug/East Coast swing syllabus which is credited as being taught nationwide in 1942. From that was born the ballroom style of East Coast, of which the syllabus was 'published' in 1952. That syllabus was created to tame the dance as it was done in the nightclubs. The East Coast basic is a 6 count move. (Also called Jitterbug)

Dean Collins moved Lindy into the slot, and this style is alternately called Smooth Style Lindy, or Hollywood Style (a teaching style credited to Eric Robison and Sylvia Skylar sometime around 1997). Dean became a choreographer for Hollywood, and the slot was essential for turning a dance of concentric circles (Savoy) into one that worked better for film editors - the slot kept people in essentially the same place, essential when you have background dancers surrounding a close up of the stars in a scene. Also - he was innovative, and took the dance from it's street origins, creating a method for teaching. (Arthur Murray took private lessons from him.) See him in the 1941's "Buck Privates", 1942's Springtime in the Rockies or his choreography in 1945's "Junior Prom".

Then came West Coast Swing. According to Lindy dancers, WCS is the grandchild, or at least the youngest son, of Lindy. (Where does that put East Coast?) WCS is the hybrid, a good mix of the street air, but with the detailed teaching syllabus of the ballroom community. Thank you, Skippy Blair! That makes sense, as she was an instructor in the Arthur Murray system through the 1950s. She took the slot, and the freedom and exuberance of Dean's Lindy, and also freed dancers from rigidity - WCS has a long history of accepting new styles, new moves and modern music. (It is also the official state dance of California.)

Simply put:
-ECS primarily is a 6 count dance, and can have single, double, or triple steps. It can be both a street or ballroom dance. Can be done to less than 60 beats per minute to 200BPM, though most ballroom trained EC will not reach the higher tempos (typical competition tempo approximately 140 BPM, social floor dancing can exceed that).
-Lindy is both a 6 and 8 count dance. The basic, however is 8 counts. 2 main forms are Savoy (circular) or Smooth (slotted). Tempos range from slow (less than 140BPM) average (200 - 230 BPM) fast (230- 250 BPM) and ridiculous (over 250 bpm, typically moves then to Balboa or Collegiate Shag, if you haven't already.)
-West Coast Swing alternates between 6 and 8 count as well, with the whip being 8 counts. Tempos range from under 100 bpm to 120 for most social dances. In competition it will rarely go above 150 bpm unless in a showcase division.)

Re: re: lindy vs swing
Posted by terence2
4/3/2008  11:45:00 PM
One very important name missing from your " piece ", that of Laure Haille.

She was the one responsible for annotating and devising the step list for A/M.
She was, in the late 40s/ 50s, the Regional Dance Director for the A/m chain in calif.( and I believe National DD )
I had the pleasure of coming to know her in the late fifties, and have judged with her on occasion.
I believe she still holds the world record for the continuous number of pivots.
One of the nicest people ever to grace the industry .
Re: re: lindy vs swing
Posted by kowloontong
3/25/2008  9:54:00 AM
My apologies, terence2. In my research, Laure Haile was credited in various dates and with various people, and some sources did not mention her work with Arthur Murray. Even the biographies of Mr. Murray gloss over the development of the East Coast syllabus, if it is mentioned at all.

As I am not affiliated with Arthur Murray, and teach the "nightclub" version of East Coast and Lindy, I preferred to remain in the generalities for that section rather than include any false information, or at least information that I was not able to verify. However, as you personally know her, I will add her to my own person history files as the person who did indeed create that syllabus and thank you for adding her name in the response so anyone else looking will have the benefit of a more complete history of the dance.

Re: re: lindy vs swing
Posted by Administrator
3/25/2008  11:07:00 AM
Hi kowloontong,

Would you by chance be willing to write the history and description articles for Lindy, WC Swing and possibly EC Swing on Ballroomdancers.com? I need someone knowedgeable in these areas, as my background is almost exclusively ballroom.

Re: re: lindy vs swing
Posted by kowloontong
4/3/2008  3:22:00 PM
I would be willing and happy to do so. Do you have a preferred email address I should use to submit these to?


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