beginner swing dance lessons

Explore Swing Dancing in 2015!

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching, Love like you’ll never be hurt, Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth.”
― William W. Purkey

beginner swing dance lessons in ArizonaAhhhh, Swing dancing! It’s exciting, versatile and so very useful! In fact, there are now more than 25 variations of Swing dancing. Varying styles include the East Coast Swing, Country Swing, Lindy Hop and the intriguing West Coast Swing. Before we get into why West Coast Swing in particular is so awesome, let’s answer a few questions surrounding the dance; What is the simple definition of West Coast Swing and discuss a bit of it’s background.

What in the world is West Coast Swing?

The definition of West Coast Swing (WCS) is: a partner dance with roots in Lindy Hop, characterized by it’s specific elastic look that comes from its basic extension-compression (“rubber band”) technique of partner connection. It’s mainly danced on a slotted area of the dance floor and allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together, putting West Coast Swing in a short list of dances that put a premium on improvisation.

Typically the “follower” walks into new patterns traveling forward on counts “1” and “2” of each basic pattern, rather than rocking back. Traditional figures include 6-count and 8-count patterns of one of the four basic varieties: (1) Starter Step, (2) Side Pass (Left or Right), (3) Push Break / Sugar Push, (4) Whip. Virtually all other moves in WCS are variations of these basic patterns. The Anchor Step is a default ending pattern for many West Coast Swing moves.

What’s historical 411 on West Coast Swing?

West Coast Swing seems to have been born during the late 1930s through early 1950s, the same time-frame of many of the other forms of Swing: Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Balboa, Shag, East Coast Swing, etc). West Coast Swing, as the name implies, was the regional form of Swing dancing in California and the west coast of the U.S.

There are many theories on people who influenced West Coast Swing’s development. Some say that Dean Collins, was influential when he arrived in CA in 1937 after learning and dancing Savoy style swing in New York City. Others say that Arthur Murray taught people the dance he had learned in California, even though he called it “Western Swing” (a name that is often misleading since West Coast Swing is not specifically done to country music). The dance was being called California Swing and took on the contemporary music of the time; in 1978, the dance was documented as West Coast Swing; and in 1988, West Coast Swing became the state dance of California.1

From the late 1980s through present dance, West Coast Swing has become recognized as one of the most versatile dance forms. Dance events specifically featuring this dance from 1980 to 2000 helped to expose dancers around the country to a dance that can be enjoyed to traditional swing, blues, R&B, some Cha-Cha, some Samba, and a lot of popular/contemporary music. Since 2000, the internet (YouTube) and variety shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” have propelled West Coast Swing into the forefront.

Today, West Coast Swing can be found throughout the United States and Internationally. There are instructors, dancers and events in the USA, Canada, France, England, Russia, and Australia.

So why learn West Coast Swing?

It’s interestingly fun!

West Coast Swing is highly engaging and moderately challenging and since it can be danced to a variety of tempos, it can be a slow, medium or fast dance. The attitude and style of the dance can vary in interpretation depending on the type of music your dancing it to; from flirty and fun to sexy and relaxing.

It’s extremely versatile. 

Unlike many other dances, West Coast Swing can be danced to many different genres of music from Pop, R&B, Contemporary, Country and most Top 40 music. This allows people to pick and choose an “infinite” amount of music with which to dance to and makes it attainable for a large spectrum of age ranges and abilities.

Its smooth and sometimes sexy quality also allows for a large range of freedom of expression and lyricism. Couples can therefore choose whether to have a “fun” or “intimate” style of dance. Best of all, West Coast Swing can adopt many movements and styles from other dances such as Hustle, Tango, and Salsa

It allows dancing to be a conversation instead of a lecture.

Most styles of partner dancing like the Country Western Two Step, Jitterbug or Bachata have a locked rule of who leads and who follows. West Coast Swing allows leaders to lead both assertively and by “invitation”, which in turn gives followers freedom to “play” and groove with music independently from the leader. This makes West Coast Swing really unique compared to most partner dancing styles.

Are you intrigued by the West Coast Swing? If so, it’s time to begin your journey into learning this one-of-a-kind dance! For those of you who reside in Arizona, come learn to West Coast Swing dance with us at Dance FX Studios in Mesa, AZ. With our New Student Offer, you will be on your way to understanding how this cool dance works. Beginner West Coast Swing dance lessons are for singles and couples, so you have no reason to delay dancing as an exciting new hobby! Contact us at 480-968-6177 to kick off your new year in style with West Coast Swing dance lessons!

couple salsa dancing AZ

Swing Into The Holidays With Dance Lessons!

couple salsa dancing in ArizonaIn just two short months, your calendar will surely be filled with one holiday party after another! How are you going to even keep up with all of the functions you have, from work parties to that cousin’s wedding to neighborhood gatherings?! It’s a daunting time of the year for many of us. So what do you need to get you through these most stressful times? Why, social ballroom dance lessons, of course! Think of how cool it would be to actually know how to Salsa, Swing or Country Two Step by New Year’s Eve. Wouldn’t that open up lots more fun activities to do with friends or your special someone, rather than hanging out at a bar drinking? Social ballroom dancing offers up more just fun during these next few months.

Believe it or not, the holidays can be a depressing time for people. It could trigger memories of loved ones lost, or even a sense of loneliness. Don’t let the holiday blues take over your life this year. Gain control of what you do to keep yourself in a happy place mentally. While watching movies with a bowl of popcorn does always sound relaxing, social dancing can take you away from those inner thoughts that can weigh you down. While on the dance floor in your private dance lessons, you can get caught up enjoying your new hobby, not on times past that may get you down. Dance away those negative thoughts and give back to yourself in a way that is healthy both mentally and physically.

Speaking of staying physical during the holidays, Latin, Swing and Ballroom dance lessons will keep you moving all season long! That equals more calories burned and less worrying about gaining those unwanted holiday pounds. Now you can sneak that extra cookie without feeling guilty (who has time for guilt!?). Dancing will keep your muscles toned and your body warm and toasty during the cool winter months. How great is that! Plus, an active body in combination with a distracted mind, makes dancing perfect for an emotionally balanced YOU during the holidays.

Being emotionally prepared for the holidays is key. With relatives visiting for extended stays in your guest room and holiday gift shopping to do, things can get overwhelming. A retreat to a dance lesson could be exactly what you need to maintain your sanity! Finding creative ways to unwind during this busy season will make all the difference to your own peace of mind and for those around you. No one likes a grumpy mom at Thanksgiving dinner. Sneaking away for a fun Swing dance lesson will also help you to stay connected with your sweetie when the house is being overrun by grandma and grandpa.

For those of you who live in Phoenix, Arizona, we have you covered this holiday season at Dance FX Studios in Mesa, Arizona. Give our Newcomers Offer for Private Dance Lessons a try to see how we can keep you in shape mentally, physically and emotionally this winter season. You can find us in the Phoenix East Valley on the southeast corner of Dobson and Guadalupe Rd. Don’t wait for the holiday blues to kick in. Give us a call today and we’ll make this season a blast for you!

Contact us to begin your dancing journey…


Private dance lessons are available by appointment Monday-Friday from 12-8 pm and on Saturday from 10 am to 3 pm.

More Social Ballroom Dance Benefits…

Have you read our recent blog post, “Enjoy Life and Ballroom Dance“? Well the benefits that we shared with you about how becoming a great social dancer will enhance your life were just the beginning! Yes, dancing does add romance, relieve stress and, learning to dance Salsa, Country Swing or Argentine Tango definitely builds confidence! Believe it or not, there are even more benefits to explore when it comes to how your life can change by taking up this fun and exciting new hobby, overall known as ballroom dancing.

For those laymen out there, ballroom dancing is a term that describes partner dancing in general. It is an umbrella term to used to lump the main categories of partner dancing under a main heading. Dances under this broad category can range from Cha Cha to Foxtrot and Country Two Step to Tango. As long as you have a partner, or can learn to dance with one, you will enjoy the benefits of ballroom dancing. To expand upon what we have covered in our previous blog, here are three more benefits of learning to dance-as a single person or as part of a couple.

1. Dancing assists with balance and coordination. Ever feel gawky and uncoordinated? Everyone wants to feel and look naturally graceful or elegant, but this is not necessarily something that comes easily to all. With dance lessons, you can learn to move with ease. You can also work on how to use your core to guide you in any balance issues that you may have encountered. Ballroom dancing helps you to walk taller and use those muscles that will help you to become a more poised individual.

2. Social dancing is exciting! Forget about chilling on the couch and watching those pounds creep right up on you. Get your daily workout on the dance floor, skip the gym, and get fit without even knowing it in your Salsa or Swing dance lesson! Learn new ways to express yourself and see how much fun it is to dance.

3. Meet new friends through dance. Partner dancing is great because there are at least two of you doing it together! Find new friends through a healthy and rewarding hobby and make new contacts with people you may have never run across otherwise. What is wonderful about knowing how to social dance is that you can shine at those holiday parties and nights out on the town. Impress others by knowing a skill that everyone would love to have.

Try dance lessons with us at Dance FX Studios and be that guy or gal that walks taller and has confidence wherever you go! We have an amazing Introductory Offer to get you started with the basics of learning to dance. From there, the fun is just beginning. Dance FX Studios is located in the East Valley of Phoenix in Mesa, AZ, near Tempe and Chandler, AZ.  Have as much fun as we do and learn to Salsa or Swing dance! You’ll be so glad you did!