As dancers begin to travel, dance more frequently and become more familiar with the various dancing scenes, they pick up common dance terms. This section is meant to introduce and familiarize you with some of the more common dance terms.

Also referred to as bal, an eight count dance from the 40s. Created at the height of lindy hop's popularity as a way to compensate for overcrowding of dance floors.

20's Charleston
Developed alongside dance jazz band music. An 8 count dance characterized by twisting ankle motion. An essential part of flapper culture.

Refers to the 30s incarnation. An 8 count dance that streamlined the 20's version by replacing the twisting ankle motions with kicks.

Collegiate Shag
Originating in the early 1930s, shag took college scenes by storm. As the original 'punks' of the 20s, this dance was a direct result of the first generation of youth rebellions in the early 20th century.

Visual and physical manner of reading your partner to better match their movements.

East Coast Swing
A version of jitterbug characterized by less complex footwork.

Part of the defining culture in the 20s, the flapper was a woman who strived to move away from the 'traditional' woman mold. This included wearing shorter dresses, lower cut shirts, hanging out at bars, smoking and engaging in less 'traditional' activities.

A certain amount of muscular tension which links most upper body movements, connecting arms and torso. This allows the leader to better direct the follow and also allows the follow to better match the leaders movements, especially in closer dances such as collegiate shag.

Six count component of lindyhop. Although a nice complement to lindy hop, jitterbug can stand alone. Often a beginning swing dancer's introduction to the world of swing dance.

Lindy Hop
The original 'swing' dance. See history section.

Lindy Hop Exchange
A weekend event organized by a specific swing scene to bring in out of town dancers. Usually strictly social dance oriented. Such exchanges are referred to using the abbreviation 'lx'. For example Detroit Lindy Hop Exchange is referred as 'detlx' (pronounced .:. det - leks).

Originally a manner of playing music that gained popularity during the mid to late 30s and 40s. Has recently become a blanket term, referring to various vintage American dances and their accompanying music.

Swing Out / Whip
Refers to the lindy hop basic 8 count step.

Swing Scene
Refers to community of people who dance, usually within a city. Such as the Lansing scene, the Ann Arbor scene etc. The various mid-Michigan and southeast Michigan scenes are commonly referred as the Detroit scene.

West Coast Swing
A dance evolving from lindy hop, but traditionally danced to non-swing music.

Refers to two or more progressive classes usually taught in a day or weekend, rather than a weekly series.

If there are any other terms you are confused by, feel free to email us and we will be happy to alleviate your confusion.

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