The Era of Swing Dancing
Jazz music plays the best of both worlds. The brass brought a sweet tune until it picked up the beat with a little jump and jive on the stage. In most relationships between music and Dance, the tempo of a song leads while the steps follow. Swing Dancing not only set the pace for the generation, it also jazzed up the music. Live Jazz bands played their usual motif with a bounce in the beat from time to time. Dancers in the audience would sway to the sound with an energetic style. Keeping in stride, the bands came alive until the entire floor was Swinging.
In the 1920’s through the 1930’s, Swing Dancing evolved. What started as a jump and jitter turned into a whole new craze. The Jitterbug and Lindy Hop were two of the first Swing Dances on the scene. Several dances followed that became an Era of its own. Now let’s take a look at certain aspects of the genre; and perhaps it will shine some light on this glamorous dance.
Jazz was a style that incorporated brass, keys and ultimately branched into big band. They were two distinct styles that found the middle ground of Swing music. After the Dance became a phenomenon, it gained its own brand of music. The reception of Swing Music had mixed reviews. The tamer notes were considered “sweet” jazz making Swing Jazz disruptive to the theme.
Classic styles and fitted attires were set aside while on the dance floor. Needing room to move, open hems on skirts and dresses were popularized more so than before. Women dressed to impress as they flipped and hopped the night away. Men typically wore suits which inspired the Zoot Suit. Roomier styles let dancers twist and turn freely. Shoes were smooth for swift spins and slides as the music played.
From 4 steps to eight, Swing Dance had an energized pace. The Jitterbug, Lindy Hop and the Jive were mainstream Swing steps. Self-expression and Swinging moves were complex and completely dynamic. It was common to see Dancers use each other as leverage for flip overs and jazzy floor techniques. Foot work was fast and hip to the beat of the swingiest music of all time.
Swing Dance inspired much of the fifties and is still practiced today. There are classes and instructors who focus on swing for both individuals and couples. Clubs and events are set up to accommodate the modern day Jitterbugs with bands and music playing in true Swing style. What was trendy then has become vintage now, leading to an upsurge of styles to honor the era. It is a fashionable icon that continues to be all the rage.
It is not often we see one Dance style influence the culture around it. As the decades moved on Swing remains a favorite in Dance, Musical sounds and stylish statements. Swing Dancing began a new Era and took its place on the timeline of history.