Types of Swing
There are at least three different types of shag dancing alive today. All can be done with ease to fast music.
The 1930's Shag (a.k.a. Collegiate Shag) - The basic consist of a 6 count pattern: slow (2 counts), slow (2 counts), quick, quick (1 count each.) Today the dance has been taken to a new level by the addition of aerials and intricate footwork patterns.
Carolina Shag - Consists of 6 and 8 count patterns. It has the appearance of someone doing West Coast Swing with rubber legs and tight footwork.
St. Louis Shag (a.k.a Speed Shag) - Is an 8 beat style of Shag which can be done at very high speeds. The dance is most comfortable at a tempo of 200-300 beats per minute. It is an offshoot of the original Charleston dancing. The basic patterns are close together with no basic step patterns such as you see in West Coast Swing.
A social dance of the US, originating in the late 1920s in New York City and at first associated with the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
Lindy consists of an 8 count basic movement in which partners "breakaway" while adding improvised steps individually. It also incorporates movements in which partners swing one another around and sometimes take on an acrobatic character.
There are 2 different forms of Balboa:
Balboa (its original pure form) - Caracterized by a fairly upright posture with both partners standing 'chest to chest' in close intimate contact, you never break away from your partner. There are no spins or turns, and you remain completely in contact through the chest at all times. This does not leave much scope for variations so pure Balboa is an intrinsically very simple dance.
Bal Swing - After a while some of the original Balboa dancers tired of doing just pure Balboa and started to introduce fancier variations which forced the 'chest to chest' connection to be broken. In this form anything goes; spins turns, dips, tricks, and even air steps! All these things are allowed provided the overall style, feeling, and framework remain true in spirit to the original dance.
The Charleston is a dance that began and flourished in the 1920s and continued to evolve through the 1930s.
It began as an 8-count solo dance; 1-2 (touch front), 3-4 (step middle) 5,6 (touch back), 7-8 (touch middle), then evolved into a partnered dance, and eventually the footwork transformed in the 30s to a slightly different pattern; 1-2 (rock, step), 3-4 (kick step) 5-8 (kick and kick step). This is a high energy dance and will be awe-inspiring to others as you cut a rug!
East Coast is a good dance to start with if you’re new to swing.
It is a partner dance composed of 6 counts: 1-2 (slow), 3-4 (slow) 5-6 rock-step (quick quick). Another variation is 1-2 (triple step), 3-4 (triple step) 5-6 rock-step (quick quick). This style of swing dance can be danced through an entire song by itself or in conjunction with Lindy Hop and Charleston.