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Swing Dance Styles

Kashmira Lad
Swing dance has evolved in a variety of forms since the 1920s. This story enlists some of these forms.
Swing dance is one of the most popular dances, which developed in the 1920s. Stylish, sensual, and peppy, this dance has it all! It developed along the lines of jazz music, and today, there are a number of forms and styles that it has given birth to.
One of the most popular variety of the swing dance is the Lindy Hop. The paragraphs below will elaborate on this dance form, along with the kind of attire and footwear that can make you look really suave on the dance floor.

Types of Swing Dance

Lindy Hop

  • This is one of the most popular styles. It is smooth and is performed on the hip hop styles of music.
  • It developed in the 1920s and uses a low and loose-legged posture in the dance steps.
  • The steps and the styles cannot be defined in a stereotypical way; the dance is defined by the music.


  • The name 'jitterbug' was derived, because it was based on the band leader, Cab Calloway's comment on the dance, which stated that 'the dancers looked like a 'bunch of jitterbugs on the floor'.
  • This dance evolves from Lindy Hop.
  • In a nutshell, it is bouncy, light, and carefree.

Collegiate Shag

  • The double shag rhythm is one of the most popular forms of the Collegiate Shag.
  • This dance form was danced in a variety of single, double, and triple shag.
  • A lot of steps here include the hopping styles.
  • It is very energetic and comprises a lot of fast movements.


  • The Balboa is danced to a lot of fast beats.
  • This dance requires an excellent connection with your partner, because it involves some romantic moves as well.
  • It originated in the 1930s, and is very popular with many dancers, its forte being fancy footwork.

West Coast Swing

  • It is a versatile dance and can be danced to a variety of music styles.
  • It evolved in the 1950s and takes inspiration from Lindy Hop as well.
  • It involves dancing in a slot formation rather than a circular form.
  • A smoother style of this dance has been depicted in Hollywood movies. The resultant form is named 'Hollywood Swing'.
Some of the other styles that were developed around this time were the St. Louis Shag, which was followed by the Boogie Woogie, East Coast Swing, Eastern Swing, Carolina Shag, Jive, etc. These were developed in different areas of the country.

Clothing Attire

In the early days, one saw the Zoot suits being worn amidst loads of controversy and also during the time of war. The Zoot suit is a flashy suit, which had a long coat and was often worn with a hat as well. These were meant for special occasions. Today, there are still many who prefer to adorn the traditional Zoot Suit.
Modern swing dancers can also go in for twirly skirts that look really cool, especially when the man twirls the woman on the dance floor. Women can also go in for wide leg pants that also 'move' along with the moves of the body. Combine this with pretty and feminine blouses, as the overall look has to be really sensual.
You can even go in for a stretchable dress that is a little low on the fussy side. Look for fitting dresses that flare a tad above the waist for a comfortable fit. Men can go in for loose pants or ones that have wide legs. This would allow them to have maximum freedom of movement. The shirts can also be worn with skinny ties as well.


The shoes are the most important element for the swing dance. This dance involves a lot of twists and turns, therefore a comfortable pair of shoes is a must! Look for soft and flexible shoes that help you perfect your moves on the floor. Many prefer rubber heels, as they help one spin on the balls of the feet with ease.
At times, even the floor has an important part to play; some tend to be really smooth, whereas some floors may tend to be slightly sticky to slide on.
The popularity of the swing dance can be seen with the variety of dance competitions mushrooming all over the country. The basics are interwoven and interspersed with new dance forms, which is why we can see a host of new versions in the dance scenario today.