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East Coast Swing

Originally known as the Eastern Swing, Arthur Murray Studios popularized the social partner dance belonging to the group of swing dances as the East Coast Swing between 1975 and 1980. This genre is danced to fast swing music like the boogie woogie and rock and roll. For the most part, the East Coast Swing is an offshoot of the Foxtrot and modified from the original form of Lindy Hop/Jitterbug. All the laborious parts such as the 8 count steps were removed and a Foxtrot base used for the dance. The East Coast Swing was an easier dance to master although the real gusto of swing was removed. Arthur Murray dance studios created the style in the 1940s. As the market for training in Swing Dance continued to expand, the East Coast Swing continued to become more popular.

The East Coast Swing was named in order to distinguish it from the street form and the variant used in competitive ballroom dancing. Although it is based on the Lindy Hop this dance form does have its distinctions. It was developed for instructional purposes in the Arthur Murray studios and then codified to allow for a basis for comparison for ball room dancers in the competitive arena. There is no right or wrong way to dance the East Coast Swing although specific styles are considered as technically correct elements documented by the NDCA or National Dance Council of America, which oversees the standards of American Style Ballroom and Latin dances.

While the East Coast Swing is recognized as a standard the dance form was inspired by the Lindy Hop. The six count steps of the dance form are often combined with the eight count steps of the Charleston and Lindy Hop. The East Coast Swing is written in 4/4 time with accented first and third beats. The basic patters are the Single Swing, Double Swing and Triple Swing with the different being in the first 4 counts of the music. The steps in the Single Swing are Slow-Slow-quick-quick, or Step-Step-Back-Rock. In the Double Swing the steps are quick-quick-quick-quick-quick-quick or Step-Touch-Step-Touch-Back-Rock while in the Triple Swing the steps are Tri-ple-Step-Tri-ple-Step-Back-Rock. The Double Swing is ideal when the music is fast while the Triple Swing is good for slower music.

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The East Coast Swing is a fast, exuberant dance so control is key when on the dance floor. A firm hand grip is essential. In the Two-Hand Position, the male partner extends his arms forward, palms up, while the woman places her hands palms down in his hands.