Swing is a broad term that applies to a category of both Jazz music and Jazz dance. There are many styles of swing dance, including Lindy Hop (the first partnered swing dance, from the 1930s and ‘40s), Jitterbug, Jive, Balboa, and more.
This short video demonstrates Lindy Hop and briefly outlines its history.
Things to know...
Check out the lessons page to determine which class is best for you. Each class page has a link to registration.
If you have never taken a lesson, the Intro to Swing classes are likely best. If you have completed both of those, and you feel confident of the material that was taught, you may be ready for Lindy Hop Essentials program. Some people take one or more series in the Intro to Swing and Lindy Hop Essentials programs more than once. If you’re comfortable with all the material of ITS and LHE, and you go social dancing regularly, the Intermediate classes could be for you. If you have been dancing at an intermediate level for a year or so, The Lab may suit you best. If you are still uncertain, contact us with details of your dance and lessons experience.
Wear comfortable, casual clothes and comfortable shoes with a non-marking sole. Leather-soled or smooth rubber-soled shoes are excellent, as are sneakers without much of a tread.
Check out the links below for dancing in the Vancouver area. A good place to start is Rhythm City Strut on Thursday nights, especially on a band night. View the calendar. The evening starts with the Intro to Swing classes. These are 6-week series and require registration in advance (no drop-ins).
People who enjoy Lindy Hop and related dances are part of a global community. You can meet us in pretty much any major urban centre in Europe and North America, and in many cities in Asia, Oceania, and South America.
Check out the links on these pages for information on the dance, its history, theories on instruction and variations, and much more…
Swing Dance around the world…
Herräng Dance Camp (Sweden)
Savoy Swing Club (Seattle)
Swing Jam Productions (Seattle)
Sugar Swing (Edmonton)
Bees’ Knees Dance (Toronto)
Toronto Lindy Hop
Cat’s Corner (Montréal)
We advocate rotating in our beginner classes, because it is a helpful learning tool, and because it helps to establish and nurture a community of positive students sharing in a group learning environment.
We have run classes in the past that offer the option to stay with one partner, but we found that students did not learn as well, and those students who chose not to rotate were less likely to come out dancing and join our social dance scene. Our priority is a community of Swing dancers who mix, mingle, and participate in a joyful dance scene.
If you are willing to take a chance, we bet you will enjoy the classes in rotation, and will find that each of you (you and your partner) are better dancers than when you rotated away from each other!
Lindy hop is a partner dance, which means there is a lead and a follow. Anyone can lead, and anyone can follow, and sometimes people do both, and even switch roles in the course of a dance (with the understanding and participation of their current dance partner, of course!).
You do not need to bring a partner to a dance or a class. Most people arrive at a dance without a partner, though they may arrive with friends. If there is a lesson prior to the dance, the teachers will have the students “rotate” periodically, so all follows mix with all leads. Throughout the night, people dance with lots of different people. The greater variety of styles and levels of dancer you mix with, the better your dancing will become.
Jazz music that swings.
That can be a difficult thing to define, so here are some examples:
Big Bands: Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Buddy Johnson, Lucky Millinder, Chick Webb (where young Ella Fitzgerald got her start), Benny Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, Cab Calloway, Erskine Hawkins (and many more). A good place to start if you want to go searching is “Savoy House Bands.”
Smaller groups are also great: Check out Cats and the Fiddle, Lionel Hampton, Sidney Bechet, Louis Armstrong, Bunny Berigan, Fats Waller, Slim Gaillard, Woody Herman, and the legendary Billie Holiday.
Modern bands who do a great job of playing jazz with the energy of the swing era include Falty & The Defects, Naomi & Her Handsome Devils, The Careless Lovers, Gordon Webster, Glen Crytzer’s Syncopators, Jonathan Stout, The Solomon Douglas Swingtet, George Gee, Stompy Jones, Tuba Skinny, Meschiya Lake & The Little Big Horns, The Loose Marbles, and, locally, The Jen Hodge All Stars, Slipped Disc, The Rossi Gang, The Rugcutter Jazz Band, Blackstick, and The Brothers Arntzen Band.