What is swing dance?

Swing is a family of dances that grew up with swing music during the 1920s to 40s. Its roots go back generations, incorporating both European and African influences.

But if a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. Here’s a video of some of the best swing dancers in the world throwing down at the International Lindy Hop Championships:

Lindy Hop

One of the most popular swing dance styles, and the one we do most at MCS. Lindy originated in the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem,  and is named for Charles Lindbergh’s “hop” across the Atlantic in 1927. (Despite the name, there is no hopping in Lindy Hop!)


The ancestor of all swing dances, Charleston is a fast dance with a lot of kicks. It has both partnered and solo versions; partner Charleston is usually incorporated into Lindy Hop.


What do you do when the dance floor gets too crowded to keep swinging out? Why, Balboa, of course! Invented for the extremely crowded dance halls of southern California, Balboa is danced in close embrace to (usually) fast music. (Legend has it that in the old SoCal ballrooms, they would throw you out if you left close embrace!)


While Blues is not strictly a form of swing, it is often seen at late nights after swing dance. It is danced to slower music, often (though not always) in close embrace.