Learning basic swing starts path to many other dances

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Armando Aseneta and Gia Jaggars perform a swing dance. SANDRO VIRAG

Swing dance in its basic form is one of those dances that will be around forever, because it's one that so many people know at least a version of it.

How many times when you have heard "swing" did you think of jitterbug or rock 'n' roll or Lindy Hop? Although they all belong to the same music group, they are all different dances.

Swing is a group of dances that developed with the style of jazz music in the 1920s to 1950s, where the music was primarily the Big Band orchestras.

Of all the dances listed, swing was the easiest to learn and became the most popular. There is a triple-step swing that is used when the music is slower, and a single-step swing when the music is much faster. Both consist of a side-to-side action with a rock step away from the partner.

The only difference is the added triple step with the faster music.

In many areas outside the United States, swing is not as popular - it is really an American Big Band dance style.

Eventually, swing developed and extended to include the West Coast Swing, East Coast Swing, hand dancing, jive, rock 'n' roll, Lindy Hop and modern jive.

Lindy Hop continued into the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s and is featured in many big Hollywood movies.

East Coast Swing is a simpler, six-count variation of the Lindy Hop that evolved with swing-band music and the work of Arthur Murray from the 1940s.

West Coast Swing is danced more in a line rather than side to side and was developed in the 1940s, as a variation on Lindy Hop. It is danced to a wide variety of music including blues, rock 'n' roll, country, smooth and cool jazz. It is popular throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Jive is a dance of International Style Ballroom dancing. It is mostly used in competition and not in the social dance world.

The rhythm of swing fits so many songs, which is why it is so popular. It works for everything from pop style songs to big band.

Today, swing is still the most recognized dance and danced the most socially. It is a fun, easy and fast-moving dance that most people pick up quickly.

I recommend everyone learn basic swing - then you can take off from there.

Sandro Virag is a partner and instructor at Hilton Head Ballroom Dance Studio of Hilton Head, located in Bluffton at Seaquins Ballroom. hiltonheadballroom.com

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