We host lessons and a dance Sunday nights at the Denver Turnverein downtown,  near the state capitol off of Colfax. We are a 501c3 public charity affiliated through The Denver Turnverein


West Coast Swing is a form of swing dancing that involves the follower traveling back in forth past the leader in what we call an imaginary "slot", as opposed to around the room,  like waltz. The music is a moderate tempo and includes the genre of  blues, classic R&B or contemporary R&B primarily. It's cousin dances are Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, and Jitterbug. In comparison, West Coast Swing has a smoother, sexier look and is lower impact compared to the others. Sometimes it's referred to as a "walking" dance. In other words, if you can walk, you can do this dance.  Its basic movement involves patterns that are 6 or 8 whole counts.   West Coast Swing allows for more creativity in movement than most other forms of dance, for both the leaders AND followers. The creativity includes using body movements or various patterns to play with words or the musical sounds within a song. Sometimes that may include adding in nuances from other forms of dance such as hip hop, salsa, tango, lindy hop, etc.  This all makes west coast swing a very versatile dance for  not only a variety of dance backgrounds but also various music interests, and thus various social events (ie weddings, parties, school dances, etc)

History of 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: East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Balboa, Shag, DC Hand Dancing, TX Push etc). West Coast Swing, as the name implies, was the regional form of Swing dancing in California and the west coast of the United States.


There are many theories on people who influenced the development of West Coast Swing. 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 indicate 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 term "Western Swing" remained in many ballroom/studio environments through the 1960s. By the 1970s, 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.


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 "30 Seconds to Fame" and "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.

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To foster appreciation and education for West Coast Swing as it was, as it is, and as it will be across the Rocky Mountain region, and among all generations, promoting the growth of all swing dance with professionals and the public at large.


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