It’s important to know that dances change over time for two very important reasons. The first reason is music. As music styles change, the dance changes to fit the more current style. The very fast, bouncy version of WCS was appropriate for the current music that played in the late 1980’s. “Back rocks”, “tap steps” and “triple starter steps”, as well as large and animated hand motions characterized the dance up until the mid 1990’s.
The second reason a dance changes is for comfort and intuitiveness. Many patterns that were danced commonly, even in this decade, have been replaced with more smooth and enjoyable patterns.
Updating your west coast swing
So how do you know if your West Coast Swing is current? You should feel that your West Coast Swing “fits” the music that is played today. West Coast Swing has turned into a bit of an edgy, sexy, contemporary dance. Watch the current West Coast Swing competitors on YouTube. You shouldn’t think, “That looks nothing like what I’ve been learning.” Make sure your instructor goes west coast swing dancing socially often and plays current music.
Incorporating “little kicks” of any kind is a sure sign its time to update.
There is no “wrong” way to dance West Coast Swing, but it is fun and challenging to become a relevant, enjoyable West Coast Swing dancer.