Music that swings has a rich and vibrant history. From ragtime to big band, blues to country swing, jazz music and its offshoots have always been part of a larger culture of which dance is a part. The options are endless. Which means diving into it can be overwhelming! So we have compiled some of our favourite resources to get you going. 

Types of dances
  • Lindy Hop
  • Charleston
  • Solo Jazz
  • Blues
  • Balboa (Pure Bal/ Balswing)
  • Shag (Collegiate/ St. Louise)
  • Rockabilly
  • Jive
  • Slow drag
Instructional videos / YouTube Playlists
Artists/ Musical Suggestions
  • Count Basie
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Louis Armstrong
  • Benny Goodman
  • Chick Webb
  • Billie Holliday
  • Playlist
  • Most “Big Band Jazz” that swings
Books

Shoes / Clothing Resources

If it’s your first time swing dancing, you don’t need to get new shoes. Instead, focus on the comfort you will have while dancing and the ability to execute spins and footwork. You will want to avoid narrow uncomfortable high heels, sneakers with too much grip, sandals, or slippers. Instead, pick a shoe that is comfortable to wear for long periods, lightweight, and slippery. You can also tape the bottom sole of your shoe with duct tape or wear shoe socks to make them slippery. Some examples of these are:

  • Keds style shoes
  • Comfortable work shoes
  • Ballroom or any dance shoes
  • Sketchers / Vans style shoes

Similarly to shoes, when choosing the right clothing, you want to focus on comfort as well as mobility. Focus on wearing clothes you are comfortable in (pants that don’t fall off or shirts that come up while you are moving) to maximize your range of mobility such as lifting your arms or raising your legs. There’s no dress code and most people dress casually for lessons while more dressed up for socials, particularly for live bands or themes. Lindy Hop was popular from the 20s-40s. Some dancers like the vintage vibe from those times, such as wide pleated skirts or dresses (because of the effect it has while spinning or swivelling) and vests or suspenders.

Tips for bands wanting to play for dancers
  • It don’t mean a thing if ain’t got that swing
  • Play a wide range of tempos
  • Keep away from too fast and too slow
  • Avoid playing too many songs of the same tempo in a row
  • Recommended length is 3:30 mins