What is West Coast Swing (WCS)?
WCS is a flexible, slow swing dance that is danced to a wide variety of music: modern and old-school pop, blues, Latin, funk, hip hop, R&B, and beyond. It evolved from Lindy Hop, originally an African American dance with a rich cultural history. However, it is a more sultry and fluid style of swing dancing than Lindy Hop and has been stylized to fit more modern music. At its heart, WCS is a lead/follow social dance, which means that the moves you see on the floor are NOT choreographed!
Fun fact: WCS is the official state dance of California!
Who can dance WCS?
Anyone: all bodies, ages, abilities, genders, and levels of dance experience can have fun dancing! On Wednesday nights the crowd is typically a mix of college students all the way up to retirees. While traditional gender roles dictate that leaders are males and followers are females, we welcome dancers of all gender identities and expressions to dance the role that feels most comfortable for them.
Do I need a partner?
Nope; the "social" part of social dancing means that you can dance with anybody! There are no rules about who is allowed to do the asking except to do so politely. Dancers are welcome to dance with the same partner multiple times throughout the evening; sometimes partners will dance several songs in a row together, but this is less common. During classes, dancers rotate frequently between partners to try out the material with different people.
What do I wear? What about personal hygiene?
Shoes that stay securely on your feet and that can slide on a wooden floor are a must for comfortable social dancing. Clothes should be easy to move in but there is no specific dress code. Human beings all sweat, so please be sure to wear deodorant/antiperspirant. Bring a towel or change of clothes if you know you sweat a lot. Partners are within arms length of each other and sometimes closer, so avoid strong-smelling food or brush your teeth before dancing.
How do I keep myself and my partner safe on a crowded dance floor?
Floorcraft is an art form that both leaders and followers can practice to prevent themselves and their partner from running into other dancers on the floor. Be aware of who is around you and how close they are. Think ahead: do I have enough space to lead that pattern or do that styling? If something is suddenly uncomfortable or unsafe, it's OK to abort mission and start again. If you step on or injure someone, stop to apologize and check on them. If the injury is more serious, it's polite to check on them again when the song is over.