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Styles

West Coast Swing can be danced to almost any music written in 4/4 time at speeds ranging from very slow to very fast; 15 to 45 Measures per Minute, ideally at 32 Measures per Minute (15x4=60 bpm, 32x4 = 128 bpm, 45x4=180 bpm). The character of the dance changes over that range. At the slowest speeds the dance tends to exhibit a highly elastic connection with the possibility of very sexy, "slinky" walks for the lady, and a slight backward leaning poise at the full extent of the connection. At faster speeds the partners become more upright and the connection shortens with more of a "push and pull" feel and look.

In the past, the "ideal" speed for WCS had been cited as 32 Measures per Minute (32x4 = 128 bpm), compared to advice to choose "records that are around 28 mpm" (28x4= 112 bpm) for "Western Swing". However, WCS dancers have adopted music genres such as hip hop and blues, both of which often range well below 100 bpm.

In writing about West Coast Swing, Skippy Blair advises that, "The only problem that exists in SWING is when someone decides there is only ONE WAY to dance it. There is never only ONE WAY to do anything ..." "'Try on' different styles that you admire in other people...until you find the comfortable one that FITS YOU."

Dancing to different types of music gives a different feel and look.

A 1998 summary of "trends" in West Coast Swing listed the following: Traditional/Classic with very little extension of the uncoupled arm, the man moving off and on the center of the track for most moves, and a heavy "couple weight"; Modern with more free arm extensions, and emphasis on how many spins, etc., the man can lead. Fast Music The man's "couple hand" is fixed in space on beat 3 in a pass or push.

In 1994 Blair noted that the posture for men was more upright than in previous years.

 

 

 
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Styles