The easiest way to picture East Coast Swing is to think of a 1950s sock hop dance party with ponytails, bobby socks and poodle skirts.
This quick-paced dance, an outgrowth of the Lindy Hop that can be danced to almost any classic rock and roll beat, uses a basic triple-step, triple-step, rock step pattern with free-wheeling left turns, right turns, throw-outs and underarm turns.
Dancers usually start out facing each other in closed position, but the man’s left hand holds the woman’s right hand lower than in most other ballroom dances, comfortably at belt-level, as if the woman’s hand was a Frisbee.
There’s no real line-of-dance movement required, although couples dancing East Coast Swing can move around the dance floor and are less rooted in place than they are with West Coast Swing, where guys circulate around their ladies as they twirl within a relatively well-defined “slot.”
Any old-time rock-and-roll or rockabilly music, from Elvis to the Stray Cats, is a good fit with East Coast Swing dancing.
West Coast Swing, by contrast, is better suited to the slightly slower tempo of classic blues. Less “the King,” more B.B. King.
You can dance the East Coast Swing to almost any classic Rock ‘n Roll or Rockabilly song, including.
All Star by Smash Mouth
Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce
Big Time Operator by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Build Me Up Buttercup by The Foundations
Candyman by Christina Aguilera
C’est la Vie by Bob Seger
Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac
Fire Woman by The Cult
Hey Ya! by Outkast
Holiday by Green Day
How Sweet It Is by Michael Buble
Jitterbug Boogie by Fantastic Shakers
Jumpin’ Jack by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
Miserlou by Dick Dale
Moondance by Van Morrison
Pick Up The Phone by Swingerhead
Shake, Rattle and Roll by Huey Lewis & The News
She’s So Cold by Rolling Stones
Superunknown by Soundgarden
The Contender by Royal Crown Revue
The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani
This Will Be by Natalie Cole
Two By Two by Tony Bennett
You Make Me Real by The Doors
Listen to a music sample
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