West Coast Swing may not be your dance. That is understandable. What is unnecessary is stating “West Coast Swing is NOT dancing.”
I shared my zeal and interest with someone recently. She said, “Oh, that is not real dancing,” after viewing a video clip of two top Champion dancers.
Non-dancers often generalize one swing dance they see as the one swing dance. Swing dancing has a family of dances. They range from Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Hustle, Jive, and yes… west coast swing! Over the years it has massively evolved. The style grew from the more classic and traditional from legacy dancers (i.e. Mario Robau, Skippy Blair) to today’s modern flair (i.e. hip hop, jazz, and zouk influence). West Coast Swing stands as one of the few partner dances that rely heavily on improvisation. There is a visible progression.
West Coast Swing went from hosting two to three major events years ago to a global outreach with conventions happening almost every weekend. Westies live not only in the US, but Australia, Hungary, France, Brazil, Singapore, Korea, and many more international areas. These events are not “just for fun” gatherings. West Coast Swing Weekends have competitions, workshops, on top of hours of social dancing. A lot of these conventions also follow guidelines outlined by the World Swing Dance Council. Like Ballroom and Latin, West Coast Swing has a system for dancers who have the desire to compete and move up the ranks.
Facts and history support the claim that “West Coast Swing” is a real dance. However, if WCS did not exist, my life would be different. I never competed in Latin/Ballroom due to the finances and lack of courage. West Coast Swing pushed me beyond my boundaries. I felt like I plataued as a Ballroom/Latin dancer. The interest faded so much, I lacked motivation quickly. West Coast Swing continuously challenges me to improve and grow as a dancer. I can see that growth. I want to nourish the growth both as a social and competitive dancer.
Not only have I grown as a dancer, but I gained so many skills transferable into the “real world.” Skills like discipline and hard work by practicing regularly, communication with partners. WCS also taught me the bravery of putting yourself out there on a stage for others to see your passion.
West Coast Swing dancers or “westies” around the world will tell you… West Coast Swing Dance is a real dance. Educate yourself before you make an ignorant remark based off your limited views of genres. West Coast Swing is huge part of my life… and it is indeed 100% real.