How to dance the west coast swing

West Coast Swing Dance Moves

West coast swing dance is one of the most popular social dance styles today.

West coast swing (WCS) originated from the Lindy Hop, and is danced in a “slotted” fashion (think of back and forth Tracks). This dance has many back and forth moves, underarm turns, spins and loops. Best of all, this dance has lots of room for improvisation, where partners can really express themselves to the fullest.

First, Main Idea of West Coast Swing

In this video you’ll learn about the “Track” used in WCS, and how the leader uses it to lead his/her partner. In essence, the leader gets out of the way and the follower dances into the track.

Let’s learn the basic steps of West Coast Swing…

West Coast Swing Basic Steps – Starter Step & Left Side Pass

Breakdown of this West Coast Swing Basic


Starts with Left foot
Triple step to left – Side, close, side (left, right, left)
Triple step to right – Side, close, side (right, left, right)
Side step with left foot (Turn body 1/4 to left)
Close right foot to left foot
Switch weight in place with left foot
Switch weight in place with right foot
Step fwd with left foot (Turn to face your partner)
Anchor Step (3 steps in place)


Starts with right foot
Triple step to right – Side, close, side (right, left, right)
Triple step to left – Side, close, side (left, right, left)
Walk fwd with right foot
Walk fwd with left foot (Start turning body to left)
Side with right foot (Turn body 1/4 to left)
Cross left foot in front of right foot (Continue turning)
Back with right foot (facing your partner)
Anchor Step (3 steps in place)

How To Lead:

After the 2 triple steps, the leaders need to open up their bodies strongly to the left and thus “gently pull” their partner forward (This is getting out of the lady’s track). The followers should just walk forward. At the end of the move, the leaders have to get back into the slot and face their partners.

How To Count WCS

The music is structured in a 4/4 time signature and you need to get good at hearing the full beats in the songs. The most basic way to count is 1,2, 3 and 4, 5 and 6. Please note, some moves in this dance are 6-count moves, and others are 8-count moves, so make sure you learn the exact count for each move.

Other West Coast Swing Moves you should learn:

– Sugar Push
– Right Side Pass
– The Whip
– The Whip & Underarm Turn
– Tuck Turns

Check out all our WCS dance lessons

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Learn the West Coast Swing Basic Steps

by West Coast Swing Online

Looking to learn the west coast swing basic steps? All West Coast Swing beginners need to know these basic patterns.   WCS basic patterns have been called some of the most difficult basics of any dance. Its true that west coast swing is not and easy dance to learn as a beginner. That being said there is not more fun and dynamic dance than west coast swing. Take the time to master your basics in west coast swing and let the fun begin!

West Coast Swing Basics

West Coast Swing has both 6 and 8 count basic patterns. Below we will break down the basics that you’ll need to know!

TAKE ACTION> Download all the Beginner Patterns for FREE

WCS Basic Patterns – 6 counts

Sugar Push

(aka push break) A six-count basic where the follower, facing the leader, is then led from the end of the slot towards the leader before being returned to the same spot. Although this seems like a simple move the pattern requires both a ‘towards’ and ‘away’ connection making it quite difficult for beginners. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Sugar Tuck

A six-count basic similar to a sugar push where the follower is lead from her spot in the slot back to the same spot she started. The difference in the sugar tuck it in the fact that the leader ‘tucks’ the follower causing her to face away from him on count 4. Then the follower heads under the leaders arm to face him again at the end of the 5&6. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Right Side Pass

(aka under arm turn) A six-count basic where the follower is led to the other end of the slot, passing on the leader’s right (right side pass) or additionally under the leader’s arm (underarm pass). Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Left-side pass

A six-count basic where the follower is led to the other end of the slot, passing on the leader’s left. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Tuck turn – Passing Tuck – Traveling Tuck

Six-count basic similar to the left side pass. This pattern has a ‘tucking’ action on the 2 where the follower turns toward the leader then back away down the slot on the 4. The follower then turns under the leaders arm on the 5&6. Although this is a very common partner in intermediate west cost swing it is sometimes left out of beginner classes because of its difficulty for new dancers. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

Rolling side pass

A six-count basic where the follower passes the leader while executing one and a half turns ending on the other side of the slot. Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5&6.

West Coast Swing Beginner Patterns – 8 counts


The first eight-count basic pattern. In a whip, the follower is led past the leader and then redirected back towards the end of slot over 8 beats of music.  The basic footwork for a whip extends the six-count pattern by inserting a pair of walking steps between the triple steps. The footwork becomes “walk walk, tri-ple-step, walk walk, tri-ple-step.” Count: 1 2, 3&4, 5 6, 7&8.


Watch all the basic patterns of West Coast Swing

In this video we cover all the west coast swing basics you need to know. Want to learn more? Take a peek at this list beginner video resources.

Jump to the WCS basic you’re looking for:

  • SUGAR PUSH 0:53
  • SUGAR TUCK 8:16
  • INSIDE ROLL 12:12
  • WHIP 15:54

West Coast Swing Music

Looking for some great WCS music? Learn where to find west coast swing music!

Resources for Beginner WCS Dancers

  • Top 10 Struggles of WCS Dancers
  • 5 Tips to help you remember your patterns
  • How to find the beat in WCS music.

If you really want to get good at west coast swing and want to avoid the frustration that can come along with the process… then we have something for you.

Its at complete step by step process, with 27 videos to help you become a good west coast swing dancer.

The course includes:

  • 8 Basic Patterns (of course)
  • The 7 most important patterns to learn next!
  • 10 Practice song suggestions
  • 3 Tips to improve your spins
  • 2 Easy things to improve your styling
  • 3 Keys to better timing, so you can stay on beat!
  • 4 Hand holds you need to know
  • Group Class, Private Lesson & Social Dance advice and more…

Don’t wait>>  This is the ideal way to take your dancing to the next level

Beginner West Coast Swing Technique

Learning your basic patterns is only one part of WCS. One of the biggest hurdles for the new dancer is learning to stay on time. You can find some good info on finding the beat in WCS in this article. If you really want to unlock your musicality in West Coast, check out The Ultimate Guide to Musicality. Having trouble with your connection? Our video library has a great free video that can help!

For the followers spinning can often be a challenge. Although the beginners guide listed above is a perfect place to start, this article, 3 turns to master for west coast swing will be a great resource. Maybe you  just want to dive into our Ultimate Guide to Spins and Turns. It has EVERYTHING you’ll need to become a great spinner.

How to Dance West Coast Swing?

This video is not a complete teaching guide to wcs but it will demonstrate the most basic patterns in sort of a ‘crash course’ method. The above course is really the best way to get good at all aspects of your West Coast Swing. The Beginners Guide to WCS  covers patterns, connection, spins, timing, styling, wcs etiquette and much more..

This video is a short ‘Crash Course’ but if you want a video of ALL the Beginner Patterns… We will send one to you for FREE JUST – CLICK HERE


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A guide to our best Free Resources:
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What is Modern Swing (West Coast Swing) ?

Modern Swing (Modern Swing) is the second name of the dance, which is widely known in the world as West Coast Swing (in Russian it sounds like West Coast Swing). This is a couple dance to modern music ♫, popular all over the world, especially in Europe and the States.

In recent decades, the dance has gone far beyond the United States and has become popular in Europe, Asia, Russia, Ukraine, Australia and many other countries. The community thought about changing the name, the usual West Coast Swing became difficult to develop as a new direction. The discussion also took place in the USA, where it was proposed to rename the dance to Modern Swing by Benji Schwimmer, a top dancer, star of the videoconferencing community, participant and director of a TV show on American television.
In Russia, the dance appeared in 2008 as VKS, but now they are starting to use a new short name - Modern Swing.

What is social partner dancing?

Social couple dances are dances that do not require years of training, they are dances for socializing and having fun. Anyone without dance experience can learn the basics of dance in a couple of months of classes and go to their first party! All it takes is a desire to dance and a love for music!

Social dances for couples are about making new friends, traveling together, having fun at parties and communicating in the language of dance!

There are many different dances in the world. We invite you to get acquainted with Modern Swing!

What makes Modern Swing attractive?

  • worldwide fame — Modern Swing is danced all over the world (especially in Europe and America) — a great opportunity to make new friends in different corners of the globe! Major dance events (West Coast Swing Events) are held almost every week in different cities around the world. More than 20 events are held annually in Russia, 10 in Moscow. Modern Swing Events list and Modern Swing Events map.
  • Variety - Modern Swing can be gentle and sensual, playful and sexy, fast and technical, relaxed and fun - whatever you make it!
  • modern popular music - you can dance to your favorite tracks!

In Moscow, several Modern Swing parties are held every week, including open-air parties (during the warm season), competitions are increasingly being held.

If you dance Modern Swing, you will be able to express yourself in dance, enjoy parties, impress others, tighten your figure - it depends on your goals! In addition, an invitation to a dance is a great opportunity to get to know each other ;-)

A bit of history

West Coast Swing - this is how West Coast Swing is translated into Russian - originated on the West Coast of the United States in


s. Dean Collins, an American dancer and choreographer who appeared in Los Angeles in 1937, contributed to the development of this style.

The roots of the dance go back to the "Swing era" (late 1920s-1940s). At that time, many jazz and blues musicians used "swing" in sound - in music, the first note of each pair is tightened, creating the effect of pulsation, swing (translated into Russian, "swing" - swing, oscillation).

When applied to dance, the term "swing" covers a range of dance styles that developed at that time, as well as modern dances descended from them. Here are some: Lindy Hop, Charleston, Shag, Balboa, and then Jive, Rock 'n' Roll and, of course, the West Coast Swing (West Coast Swing).

The modern name of the dance "West Coast Swing" first appeared on the pages of a book by dance teacher Arthur Murray, published in 1947 year. But teachers used the term Western Swing for another ten years in their notes and schedules. And in 1962, the inscription "West Coast Swing", as the name of the dance in its current form, was already on the advertising posters of the American dance teacher Skippy Blair. In 1988, West Coast Swing was declared the "Official Dance of the State of California".

Modern Swing (West Coast Swing) appeared in Russia in 2008.

A bit of technology

In pair dances, one of the partners is the leader (leader), usually a man, and the other is the follower (follower), usually a woman. Initiative and activity are the role of a leader, and a follower listens and decorates, complements, creates an atmosphere. The dance reveals a philosophy of relationships that can be extended to a lifetime.

Modern Swing is a pair dance in which both partners can improvise and have almost unlimited freedom of expression.

Modern Swing dance along the line (slot). Someone thinks that this is due to the fact that he was born in the narrow aisles of cinemas and corridors ;-) For the most part, the partner moves, and the partner, while remaining relatively in place, directs her movement (leads).

The interaction of partners is very soft, elastic. Thanks to this, the dance is so smooth and "viscous".

Almost any music is suitable for dancing: funk, RnB, almost all modern pop music and, of course, blues. More information about what music Modern Swing dance to is written in the ♫ article

Would you like to try?

Come to the dance school LisoBorie!

It doesn't matter how old you are or if you have dance experience

At any age, with any level of training, you can learn to dance in a pair easily and naturally. The main thing is your desire! The teachers of the dance school LisoBorie will help you!

After a couple of months of classes

you will get the necessary basic knowledge and be able to dance at parties with pleasure!

Is it possible to come to classes without a partner?

Oh sure! During the classes, there is a change in pairs, and you can dance with different people.

What awaits you in Lisoborye?

Of course, dancing! :-) And also - a cozy atmosphere and a pleasant company, interesting classes, dance parties (discotheques), trips to international events and outings, night parties, guitar players and a lot of other interesting things!

Groups and Schedule

West Coast Swing - Asfandiyarov Avrora Dance

West coast swing

Dance of the 1920s - 1940s.

The term "swing" is usually used for a group of dances that developed during the "swing era" (late 1920s-1940s) or for modern dances that are derived from them. Historically, swing has been an African-American folk dance tradition, although it has more recently been adopted by whites.

Almost all forms of swing are characterized by the syncopated (shortened) rhythm characteristic of African American and West African music and dance and with jazz dances of the Jazz Age (late 19th century to 1940s).

Most varieties of swing developed along with the musical genre "swing", although many of these styles and their derivatives are now danced to modern music. Now swing is widespread in many developed Western and Asian countries, although in each city and country certain dances, their culture and music "suitable" for them are popular in different ways.

West Coast Swing

(West Coast Swing) (eng. West Coast Swing) is a pair dance, heir to the Lindy Hop dance.

It looks very elastic, thanks to a special technique of leading based on the soft interaction of partners and dances mainly in a frame - a limited space of the parquet.

The dance technique allows improvisation in the steps of both partners during pair dancing. As a rule, the partner begins each new basic connection with forward steps on counts 1 and 2. Anchor step is the most typical ending of most basic figures in VKS.

WestCoastSwing as the name of the dance in its current form first appeared on Skippy Blair advertisements in 1962, but even then it did not gain popularity in dance circles and was not used until the late 60s.

The name Western Swing continued to be used by network and independent dance schools to describe "slotted" swing until 1978. Around this time, another name for this dance appeared - "California Swing" (California Swing). Although, unlike its Western counterpart, the California swing had a slightly different styling with an emphasis on "more up" and was considered more modern.

By 1978, the GSTDA had about "200 or more links and variations" in West Coast Swing.

In 1988, West Coast Swing was inaugurated as the Official Dance of the State of California.


It has been suggested that West Coast Swing originated from the Lindy Hop dance. According to some reports, Dean Collins, who appeared in Los Angeles around 1937 year.

Arthur Murray in 1947, speaking about this new direction, expressed the following thought: “There are hundreds of regional dances of the Jitterbug type. Every state seems to feel obliged to find some variation of its own."

One of his dance instructors, Laure Haile, has documented the style of swing popular in the Los Angeles area. She called it Western Swing (Western Swing).

But Murray used this name for another dance back in the late 30s. And since Hale first published her notes (which included "western swing") for the needs of Arthur Murray's dance studio in Santa Monica, an alternative name was needed. So the dance got its new name "Sophisticated Swing" (which literally translates as "Sophisticated / sophisticated swing"). With this name, the dance existed throughout the fifties.

Western (aka sophisticated) swing, country boogie (countryboogie) and a little less well-known jump blues (jumpblues) were extremely popular on the West Coast of the USA during the 40s and 50s. At 1954 they were united under the name "rock and roll", but the popularity of this did not decrease.

West Coast Swing was the main dance in the rehearsal scene in the 1958 film HotRodGang. It was performed there to a song from Gene Vincent's album "DancetotheBop". This music alternates between very slow breaks and fiery fast-tempo passages, so characteristic of rock and roll music (rockabilly).

The choreographer of this scene, Dick DiAugustine, included movements that were very recognizable later.

For example, chicken walk (chickenwalk, literally translated as “chicken walk”), swing out (swingout) exit from a closed position, and so on.

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