East Coast Swing
Yerrington and Outland equated East Coast Swing to the New Yorker in 1961. Originally known as "Eastern Swing" by Arthur Murray Studios, the name East Coast Swing became more common between 1975 and 1980.
East Coast Swing is a Rhythm Dance that has both 6 and 8 beat patterns. The name East Coast Swing was coined initially to distinguish the dance from the street form and the new variant used in the competitive ballroom arena (as well as separating the dance from West Coast Swing, which was developed in California). While based on Lindy Hop, it does have clear distinctions. East Coast Swing is a standardized form of dance developed first for instructional purposes in the Arthur Murray studios, and then later codified to allow for a medium of comparison for competitive ballroom dancers. It can be said that there is no right or wrong way to dance it; however, certain styles of the dance are considered correct "form" within the technical elements documented and governed by the National Dance Council of America. The N.D.C.A. oversees all the standards of American Style Ballroom and Latin dances. Lindy Hop was never standardized and later became the inspiration for several other dance forms such as: (European) Boogie Woogie, Jive, East Coast Swing, West Coast Swing and Rock and Roll.
Depending on the region and instructor, the basic step of single-step East Coast Swing is either "rock step, step, step" or "step, step, rock step". In both cases, the rock step always starts on the downbeat.
For "rock step, step, step" the beats, or counts, are the following:
- Steps for the "lead" (traditionally, the man's part)
- Rock Beat 1 - STEP back with your LEFT foot
- Step Beat 2 - STEP forward with your RIGHT foot (to where you first started)
- Step Beat 3 - STEP to the left with your LEFT foot
- Beat 4 - Begin to shift your weight back to your right foot
- Step Beat 5 - STEP to the right with your RIGHT foot
- Beat 6 - Begin to shift your weight to the left and back
- Steps for the "follow" (traditionally, the woman's part which mirrors the lead's part)
- Rock Beat 1 - STEP back with your RIGHT foot
- Step Beat 2 - STEP forward with your LEFT foot (to where you first started)
- Step Beat 3 - STEP to the right with your RIGHT foot
- Beat 4 - Begin to shift your weight back to your left foot
- Step Beat 5 - STEP to the left with your LEFT foot
- Beat 6 - Begin to shift your weight to the right and back
For "step, step, rock step," the rock step occurs on beats 5 and 6, but the overall progression remains the same.
The normal steps can be substituted with a triple step or double step "step-tap" or "kick-step" instead of a single step. This is commonly used during songs when a slower tempo makes the single step difficult (an example progression would be "rock step, triple step, triple step").
- Music beats (in fours): 1 2 3 4. 1 2 3 4. 1 2 3 4.
- Music beat incremental: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
- East Coast Triple Step Timing: (1 and 2, 3 and 4, rock step) R S 3a4 5a6. R S 3a4 5a6
- East Coast Single Step: (1 2 rock step)R S 3 5 . R S 3 5
- The rock step starts on 1, 2 the first triple step starts 3a4 and the second on 5a6.
In single time style (used with faster music) the triple steps are replaced by single steps, so two beats of music are used for each single step while each step in the rock (R) step (S) is still completed in one beat, finishing the cycle in six musical beats. Some instructors will teach vocalizing the single time style as" "Quick. Quick. Slow. Slow. " or "Back Step. Slow. Slow."
There is the choice to start with triples or with a rock step, however if you check the above chart where a triple step starts on a 1, 2 you can see that the pattern progresses and wraps back around. The choice of starting with a triple or a rock step does have musical consequences as music has phrasing with hits that often happen on 12, or 24 or 36... This means that dancers who choose to start with a rock step you will probably find themselves on a rock step on every new phrase. Those who start with a triple will start with a triple on each new phrase. An advantage of starting with the triple step is that dancers can more easily change their foot work right at the start of the musical phrase.