I've been reading this group for a while, and I was wondering if anyone
out there could share some relevant experience.
I've been dancing Lindy Hop here in London for some time, but I recently
went to a West Coast Swing workshop. Is there anyone out there who
has made the transition from Lindy to WCS who can share any tips?
Unfortunately, there aren't really any WCS teachers in London that I
know of (so if anyone knows of one, please let me know), so I'm
practising in a vacuum. I've been translating lots of Lindy moves and
synocations to work on a slot, and playing with things you don't often
do in Lindy (like an anticlockwise whip), but if I'm not careful I just
end up doing a slow Lindy-in-a-line. From what I can tell, WCS should
feel somewhat different, sort of crisper, and with a different lead.
As material for discussion, if there are people out there out who have
gone from WCS to Lindy (which I imagine would be harder), how did
you find it?
P.S. Apologies if you see this twice -- my newsreader died as I was
posting the first time, and I don't _think_ it got out, but I could be
: Hi there,
: I've been reading this group for a while, and I was wondering if anyone
: out there could share some relevant experience.
: I've been dancing Lindy Hop here in London for some time, but I recently
: went to a West Coast Swing workshop. Is there anyone out there who
: has made the transition from Lindy to WCS who can share any tips?
Yep My suggestion is: Before Starting your WCS lessions go watching WCS in
at as many different settings as you can.... Ask the couple's whose
style you enjoy who their teacher is. Then seek out and take your
lessons and coaching from that instructor.
WCS appears to have so much variation in body flow and expression. I've
seen soo soo sooooo much variation. I actually prefer what I see danced in
Country and Western clubs as opposed to what I see danced in the Ball-rooms
for west coast swing. (and for Lindy Hop I prefer what I see danced in
the ball-room dance instruction/coaching/competition settings)
If you can afford it... travel to California... bay area (or I suppose LA too)
In the Bay area you'll find WCS danced all over San Francisco, Berkeley,
the peninsula San Mateo, Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose,
Sunneyvale (best spot so far in my opinion is the Cheers Country Bar in
Sunneyvale... one or two awesome WCS couples dance there each night... they
were trained at the California Ballroom in San Jose) I've never gone down
to the California ballroom to watch them dance there but I've seen that
facility... one thing I noticed is it is Studio space... (it was not set up
for people to find a table to sit and observe... you'll have to dive in
and participate there. You are charged an admission at the entrance... then
you read the schedule and select which lession you wish to participate in
that evening. )
: Unfortunately, there aren't really any WCS teachers in London that I
A tough transition! Both the vocabulary and the styling are very
different. I can't think of a single well-known dancer whose dancing in
both I admire. However, seeing as you're in London, I can tell you that
Louise Thwaite is a delightful West Coast Swing dancer, as I found out
when I danced a couple of West Coast numbers with her at a party last
Christmas. I have no idea where she learned, but she really is
excellent. Ask her for a dance, or several... Other than that, London
seems sadly devoid of West Coast Swing.
M'mother taught me Eastern Swing/Lindy (and Waltz) in the living room
before -teen was part of my age. I did them pretty well, as a street
dancer, before I attended dance classes in the girls' gym after high-
school hours. There I learned Western Swing aka WCS.
Now, when I try to dance Lindy, I suffer consistent confusion
and mix the two dances when dancing with dancers. I manage to do it OK
with non-dancers in bars.
DD}. . . (which I imagine would be harder)
Jim Lane (ji...@halcyon.com) wrote:
>Erin Stevens (Santa Barbara, CA) is first rate in both.
Roger Miller (rmi...@landau.ucdavis.edu) wrote:
>I wouldn't doubt Erin is first rate in WCS, I know she is in Lindy Hop.
>Her location though is Pasadena. Sylvia Sykes (Santa Barbara) would
>qualify as first rate in both WCS, Lindy Hop, as well as a number of
Erin is certainly a wonderful Lindy Hopper. I've never seen her do West
Coast. As for Sylvia, she is one of my very favorite dancers, and does
a delightful West Coast, but she's not a Lindy Hopper. She can do it,
but not like Erin.
I suggest that the biggest differences between WCS and Savoy Lindy Hop are:
1. the slot in WCS versus a more rounded feel in Lindy
2. in WCS the center of balance is mostly backward and in Lindy mostly forward
3. in WCS people stand normally straighter
4. vocabulary (more kicky moves in Lindy, however Jack Carey can kick too!)
however most "Lindy Hop" moves can be done in WCS and the other way
5. Mostly, in WCS the leader moves in the direction the follower moves or just gets out of the way and in Lindy leader and follower
tend to move in each others direction a lot and switch positions.
6. The arm connection is tighter in WCS. (necessarily true?)
Are points 2 and 5 the major subtle differences that make it very difficult
to be both a good WCS and Lindy dancer.
Can any people suggest other reasons why it is so hard?
> [...] and playing with things you don't often
> do in Lindy (like an anticlockwise whip),
Eh, you don't do that often in WCS either, except as a walk-around
move, that is, the guy not turning, and just guiding the girl
around him. A true counterclockwise whip (which I, after Hutch's
terminology call 'reverse whip' but other people reserve that term
for something else) is possible, but very hard because to the
follower it looks like the start of a left pass, and it can be
very hard to change their minds about that ...
405 Hilgard Ave ............................... I bought tapes to replace my
Department of Mathematics, UCLA .............. records. Then I bought CDs to
Los Angeles CA 90024 ..................... replace my tapes. If [it changes]
phone: +1 310 825 2173 / 9036 ........ one more time, we're all going to buy
home: +1 310 209 0068 ................. sheet music and hum. [Paul Reisser]
Erin Stevens (Santa Barbara, CA) is first rate in both.
(ECS, WCS, Lindy Hop, Argentine Tango)
I wouldn't doubt Erin is first rate in WCS, I know she is in Lindy Hop.
Her location though is Pasadena. Sylvia Sykes (Santa Barbara) would
qualify as first rate in both WCS, Lindy Hop, as well as a number of
Anyway, as far as the lead/follow stuff goes, both ECS and WCS are lead/
follow dances, and pretty much the same rules apply for both. Outside of
syncopations and styling, the ladies should not really need to learn the
moves because they are led. Most of the ECS forms leave quite a bit of
slack in this area. The leader could just start something and then give up
leading and the lady won't necessarily be left in the dark not knowing what
to do as in WCS. This isn't really the correct way to dance ECS, but it
happens a lot.
I think the most obvious reason is because WCS is extremely smooth
while Savoy/Lindy Hop stuff isn't. And although I agree that there
are a lot of top dancers that are more proficient with either one
or the other, I've never that stumbled across any that would demonstrate
both styles and not do well with the one that isn't their forte.
For dancers just learning either Lindy Hop or WCS after already having
exposure to the other form, I think one of the most difficult hurdles
to get over is the switch from rock-step to walk-back/walk-in or
vice-versa. This is problem that will disappear quickly though.
As far as the lead/follow stuff goes, I think that ideally both
Lindy Hop and WCS would be the same, the lady is following at each
moment in time, not including choreagraphed syncopations.
moment in time. Lindy Hop/Savoy and the smoother styles of ECS (I'm
including Carolina shag in this category)
> Unfortunately, there aren't really any WCS teachers in London that I
> know of (so if anyone knows of one, please let me know), so I'm
I was in London recently, and saw some excellent WCS. I don't know the
teachers' last names, but their first names are Glen and Heather. They are
at the Polish Club, Queens Gate, South Kensington; on Wednesday nights.
They do an intro group lesson (not necessarily WCS, e.g. the night I was
there they did rumba) followed by general dancing. Anyway, if you go there
you can meet them, check out their WCS, and arrange private lessons if you
In article <ASWIN.95J...@algron.cs.cornell.edu>, as...@algron.cs.cornell.edu (Aswin van den Berg) writes:
|> I suggest that the biggest differences between WCS and Savoy Lindy Hop are:
|> 1. the slot in WCS versus a more rounded feel in Lindy
|> 2. in WCS the center of balance is mostly backward and in Lindy mostly forward
|> 3. in WCS people stand normally straighter
|> 4. vocabulary (more kicky moves in Lindy, however Jack Carey can kick too!)
|> however most "Lindy Hop" moves can be done in WCS and the other way
|> 5. Mostly, in WCS the leader moves in the direction the follower moves or just gets out of the way and in Lindy leader and follower
|> tend to move in each others direction a lot and switch positions.
|> 6. The arm connection is tighter in WCS. (necessarily true?)
May I add another that crossed my biased mind?
7. Lindy has more soul, WC has more sex.
Lindy Hop, no.
Smooth Lindy, yes.
She is a superb Smooth Lindy dancer, IMO.
// Michael B. Smith
Oops - you're right; Erin is in Pasadena. My mistake.
Erin also does quite a bit of Latin, but I don't know enough of the
style to understand how good she is at it.
Sylvia prefers Social Lindy (aka Dean Collins Lindy) to the original
Lindy Hop. While she's a remarkable dancer, I don't think she does
nearly as much Lindy Hop as Erin.
Oddly, I don't remember ever seeing Sylvia doing WCS. Must be my faulty
memory - it seems like something she would know.
WCS is a very smooth, slinky/sensuous dance, with a lot of chances for the
follow to show off. Lindy Hop, like the Charleston it derives from, has
a continuous bounce, is much more aerobic, and more chances for the lead
to show off than WCS. WCS uses a very light lead. Contrary to how it looks
from a distance, so does Lindy Hop, as Steven has been drilling into us here
The entire feel of the dance is different. WCS feels subtle and flirtatious.
While there is quite a bit of subtlety to doing Lindy Hop well, it has a much
more exuberant/over-the-top feel.
JL}Oddly, I don't remember ever seeing Sylvia doing WCS. Must be my faulty
}memory - it seems like something she would know.
That's what I do with her. To say it's a great pleasure is a consider-
able understatement! Jonathan, too!
> 2. in WCS the center of balance is mostly backward and in Lindy mostly forward
It took a few exposures to Lindy before I even realized this, and it is
still something I need to remind myself of a year or so later. Most
Americans have been taught, no matter what dance they learn, that the
connection between leader and follower comes from the "tension" or "tone"
in the arm, which is usually taught as a slight pulling away from each
other. The European Lindy crowd (I count Steven M among them since he's
based in Germany) does not have this habit to un-learn. It's *possible*
for an American-trained and a Euro-trained Lindy to dance together, but it
never quite feels right because they aren't complementing each other's
At the Ithaca dances we switch between these styles from song to song,
and it's a real challenge to change my look, feel, and attitude to the
extent that I wish. Each dance requires a different kind of body
I'm finding it hard to describe this "feel" in words....
> Oddly, I don't remember ever seeing Sylvia doing WCS. Must be my faulty
> memory - it seems like something she would know.
I've seen her doing WCS in Boston, with Romiro Gonzalez. Way cool! I
think they were talking about pairing up for competitions. I don't know
whatever came of that.