How to boogie dance

Boogie Dance -

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How Can You Tell One Swing Dance from Another?


What Swing Dance is This?

Swing is a broad category that includes many different dances.   If you’re a novice, it’s hard enough telling completely different genres apart let alone the variations in one category.  And as if that wasn’t confusing enough, there are different styles within the same dance!

I’m going to keep it relatively simple in this post, however.  I’m going to focus on 3 different types of Swing:  Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing, and Boogie Woogie.  Boogie is a European dance that you are unlikely to see in this country, but I fell in love with it and spent 8 summers in Sweden and Norway studying it.  People ask me about it, so I thought I’d include it here.

All three dances have their roots in the same place and share much in common.  They’re all jazz dances, which means there is room for freeplay within the context of the lead and follow.  You play with the music, do jazz variations on the breaks, and converse creatively with your partner in the language of dance in all three.  There is also cross over in a lot of the jazz variations.

Boogie Woogie bears a lot of similarity to West Coast Swing.   It’s danced in a slot, but while 8 count moves are allowed, it’s primarily a six count dance.  If you slow it down, it can look a lot like West Coast Swing and you could borrow a lot of the moves and adapt them.  So what’s the difference?

There are differences in the rules of the dances, but a lot it comes down to style.  The look and feel of each dance is unique.  Lindy was the first swing dance, so it’s not surprising that you see a lot of Lindy in every dance that came later.  But Lindy is not slotted.  The steps can go off in any direction and the dance has a wild crazy attitude and can get downright silly.  You have to be willing to let go of your dignity to really get into this dance.  In this clip you can see some different styles of the dance as the teachers from a dance camp jam with each other.  This is social dance, not choreographed performances.  There is one aerial, which would not happen on a social floor, and they do break into a spontaneous shim sham (a line dance that Lindy Hoppers do) but you get the idea.

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West Coast has a much more sophisticated style.  It’s danced to contemporary music and has a slick, sexy look.  It is danced in a slot and your dignity is never compromised in this dance.  Lindy is danced to a variety of speeds but West Coast is almost always relatively slow.  In this clip you can see different styles, all social like in the lindy clip, but very distinctly all West Coast Swing.  Can you see the difference?  You may not be able to figure out why they look different, but see if you can get a feel for how the two dances differ.

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Boogie Woogie is danced to fifties rock and roll and piano boogie.  It has lots of room for play and creativity but it also has very distinctive footwork that gives it an unmistakable look.  While it’s steps are closer to West Coast Swing , it’s attitude is closer to Lindy.  In this jam, you can once again see different styles of Boogie.  Can you see how they are similar to each other and different from the other two dances?  Boogie is considered a competitive dance in Europe and is danced competitively much more than socially, so that’s why the Boogie examples are full of air steps.  This is not a demonstration of social dancing, but people do dance it socially.  They just don’t put it on youtube when they do!  By the way, I once entered a Jack and Jill (random partner contest) and drew Jorgan (second couple in the boogie clip) as a partner.  He politely asked me how long I’d been dancing Boogie.  I told him 6 years but only for one month a year.  “In that case,” he qualified, “you’re very good!”

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There are lots of other swing dances, and it’s not really necessary to be able to analyze what sets them apart from  each other.  The important thing, if you are interested in learning to swing dance, is that you have a feel for the essence of each dance so that you can make an educated choice about which one to choose.  The three dances I showcased in this article are all about equal in difficulty, so you may not want to choose any of them if you are just starting out.  Part of your criteria should be your ability to pick up complex dances easily.   If you are challenged by the idea of learning to dance at all, I recommend starting with an easy one, like East Coast Swing.  And of course also the availability and how far you are willing to travel to learn it.

You get good by dancing socially, so I also recommend choosing a dance that is convenient to do socially as well as to learn.  For most people, not a good idea to pick a dance you have to travel to Europe to do!  Have fun, you all!

By LaurieAnn Lepoff

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Types of modern dances. Boogie Woogie dance.

LIFE IS BRIGHTER - WHEN YOU DANCE BOOGIE WOOGIE! Boogie woogie is a positive and drive, crazy music and dance energy!

Boogie Woogie is a European interpretation of Swing and, accordingly, differs from the Lindy Hop in its performance style, since it is more compact, restrained, and also geometrically correct. A feature of this dance was the ability of the dancer to show movements on relaxed, but at the same time elastic legs. This "drive in the legs" fascinated absolutely everyone.

The main period of development of boogie-woogie dance falls on the end of the forties - the beginning of the fifties . During World War II, American soldiers brought swing dancing to Europe. The Europeans reworked them, taking as a basis for the dance form, which we now call Boogie Woogie .

With the advent of the twist , boogie-woogie was temporarily forgotten by everyone, except for professional dancers - competitive forms-synonyms of boogie-woogie appeared in Europe - jiverock and acrobatic roll.

Boogie-woogie is now called the European version of swing dancing.

Boogie-woogie is a pair dance of free composition, performed at a moderately fast pace (4/4 time signature), characterized by a lack of order in dance movements; music style - jazz; originated in the 1920s based on the boogie-woogie piano.

Speaking of boogie-woogie, it is impossible not to remember the incomparable Elvis , whose chic « rubber feet "made more than one European woman tremble in her sleep, not to mention American women.

Currently Boogie-woogie is danced all over the world with slight stylistic differences: in clubs and in competitions, mainly to original music from the 40s - 50s - Boogie-woogie, rhythm'n' blues, rock and roll, twist.

World championships and cups in boogie-woogie and other international tournaments are regularly held.

Recently, this dance has changed somewhat, it is danced very rhythmically, but at the same time quite gracefully. The movements are performed on the entire foot, and the partners in the dance are somewhat distant from each other and are in a closed position.

Like a social dance boogie - woogie is an excellent means of communication between people. There are no strict memorized sequences of movements. The main thing is improvisation and interaction in pairs.

Boogie Woogie is a bright, incendiary dance for couples, with cheerful music and an appropriate mood. During its already long history of existence, Boogie Woogie dance has conquered a large number of people from different countries and different generations.

Despite the fact that the dance is many years old and, it would seem, its rush hour should have passed, but in every city you can easily find lovers and true connoisseurs of dance and jazz music who are looking for any opportunity to dance this wonderful fast and energetic dance.

By studying this unusual style, you will first of all learn how to improvise in dance, as well as be able to perform various interesting tricks and lifts.

Dance clubs and schools

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boogie woogie


Information about the development of boogie-woogie in the Russian Federation and the world

In Russia, the first regular group studying this dance appeared in Moscow in 1993.

The first competitions in Russia took place in 1994, in 1997 Russian couples took part in a friendly match in Finland for the first time, in 1999 - in the World Cup in Helsinki. From 19In 1999, more than 120 national competitions of various ranks took place in Russia.

Russia in 2007, 2010, 2011 held in Moscow first World Cups (WC) in boogie-woogie, and then in 2012, 2013, 2014 - Masters series tournaments (WM). The World Boogie Masters took place in Moscow on 24.10.15. At these competitions, a couple from Russia for the first time reached the finals of such a level of competition and took 5th place there.

Brief description of boogie-woogie

Boogie-woogie is a sport form of dance in which athletes compete in dance moves to music. During the dance, choreographic and acrobatic elements are used.

Boogie-woogie is danced in a pair consisting of a partner and a partner. They dance to the musical styles of boogie-woogie, rockabilly, blues, swing, rock and roll. It is characterized by the fact that the couple does not know in advance the music to which they will dance, so the dance is based on improvisation, the success of which is evaluated by the judges along with the dance technique, dance figures and the presentation of the dancers. The task of the dancers is to insert the pre-worked out choreography as successfully as possible into the music that they got.

Boogie-woogie competition includes 2 programs: slow and fast dance. The slow one is performed in evening dresses, the fast one is performed in costumes that match the style. Slow dance tempo 120bpm, fast dance 200bpm.



Domestic competitions are held in the following categories: Juniors (under 18), adults: C, B and M class, seniors (category over 45). At the international level: juniors, M class and seniors.

Time and place where boogie-woogie originated

Boogie-woogie dance originated in Europe in the 1940s as a European interpretation of American swing. The first boogie-woogie competition was held in 1978 in Munich, Germany. Then the popularity of this dance as a competitive dance began to grow. Boogie-woogie has spread to other European countries: France, Belgium, Sweden, Italy, Hungary, Finland, Norway, Poland, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Greece, Turkey, etc. Almost from the first boogie-woogie competitions, World and European Championships, Cups World, and then World Masters - rating competitions.

Number of people practicing boogie-woogie in the Russian Federation

Currently in Russia boogie-woogie is danced, taught, held competitions, master classes, festivals and other events in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Tula, Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Yekaterinburg, Cheboksary, Kazan, Chelyabinsk, Sochi, Novosibirsk and other cities more than 7,000 people.

Interest in this type of dance is growing - the number of dancers and competitors is growing, the number of coaches, clubs and dance studios developing this style of dance is increasing.

Number of boogie-woogie competitions in Russia

Since the first boogie-woogie competitions in 1994, more than 170 inter-regional competitions have taken place in the Russian Federation.

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Differences from other sports

Boogie-woogie is considered to be an "artistic form of dance" - it requires the dancer to have such qualities that are characteristic of most sports. To perform boogie-woogie you need:

  • Physical strength

    The competition program necessarily includes acrobatic figures and lifts, the performance of which requires good physical preparation from the athletes.

  • Musicality

    All Boogie-Woogie competitors must demonstrate an understanding of musical structure, rhythm, beat, small and large musicality.

  • Flexibility and coordination

    These qualities are essential for drawing figures and lines. Multiple rotations, splits and half splits are always present in the dancers' programs.

  • Discipline and team spirit

    Boogie-woogie is a team sport. A team can be one couple. A team can consist of 12 members (6 couples) in formation competitions. The requirements for the discipline of 12 people performing synchronously complex figures, and at the same time constantly coordinating their position on the floor relative to other team members, are much higher compared to other sports.

  • Endurance

    Boogie-woogie competitions are held in several rounds - from preliminary to semi-final and final. In each round, dancers must perform a dance with a duration of 1 min 30 and a speed of 200 to 208 bpm. A 1996 study found that the degree of muscle tension and breathing rate of dancers who performed one dance was similar to that of cyclists, swimmers, and sprinters (over the same time period).

  • Grace and style

    Like ice dancing and rhythmic gymnastics, in boogie-woogie an important component of success is the smooth movement and attractive appearance of the couple. However, unlike most other sports, boogie-woogie dance has features that make it not only a sport, but also an art.

Boogie-woogie training is very important:

  • develops strength and flexibility;
  • contributes to the development of grace, elegance, freedom of movement;
  • improves physique, makes a person slim and fit;
  • improves physical performance;
  • creates a feeling of physical and mental relaxation;
  • allows you to improve more successfully in other sports;
  • improves coordination of movements;
  • enriches knowledge about sports and sports recreation;
  • develops a sense of rhythm;
  • instills the quality of composure

Differences between boogie-woogie and sports disciplines of acrobatic rock and roll

Feature Boogie Woogie M class - mixed
Prepared competitive dance program
Pre-cut individual choreographic elements
Prepared individual dance pieces
Prefabricated individual acrobatic elements
The final has its own phonogram
Judges know in advance the acrobatic elements of the athletes' program
The pace of the dance program with acrobatic elements in the final 50-52 cycles/min 48-49 cycles/min
Tempo of the dance program in the final 27-30 cycles/min 50-52 cycles/min
Basic (basic) dance move is based on the syncopated step
(movements to the downbeat of the music)
movements to the strong beat of music
Mandatory presence in the dance of special dance elements
Compulsory presence of special acrobatic elements in the dance
Using original figures that no other dancer performs
Interpretation of music in dance/ spontaneous improvisation
Mandatory compliance of the dance style with the music

Prospects for the development of boogie-woogie in the Russian Federation

Thanks to the long history of the development of boogie-woogie, he brought up a cadre of highly professional trainers. By itself, boogie-woogie is available to almost everyone. Boogie-woogie requires a minimum of funds, and its popularity is growing from year to year. Therefore, we can say with confidence that with a rational approach to the development of this dance, we will have not only a large number of enthusiasts involved in this sport, but also couples competing in their skills with the world's strongest dancers.


Since 2016, Russian boogie-woogie has switched to the new WRRC competition rules, the translation of which has been published. Currently, work is underway on the revision of the Russian Rules corresponding to the new realities.

Download Rules

FTSARR International Boogie Woogie Judges

  • Zoryana Kalashnik
  • Solovieva Anna
  • Salakhutdinova Evgenia
  • Averyanova Natalia

List of phonograms for the age category "boys and girls"

In accordance with the rules, the tempo of musical accompaniment is 42-44 beats per minute.

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