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California State Dance:

Click to hear MP3 clips of classic big band music.
See All State Cultural Symbols.

West Coast Swing Dancing

California has officially designated West Coast Swing as the state dance (California also recognizes the American Square Dance as official state folk dance). Originating in California in the early 1930's with the evolution of "swing-jazz," or "big-band" music, west coast swing dancing is an intricate dance that requires very energetic (even acrobatic) dancing. In the 1950s and early 1960s one name for West Coast Swing was "Sophisticated Swing."

“it is in the category of a dignified 'show-off' dance"
Ed Long, 1960

"in complexity, is an absolutely smooth precision “emotional” dance with subtle use of pressure and resistance in its execution.”
John Monte, 1960

There are various styles of swing dancing such as: Lindy Hop, New Yorker, Dallas Push, Houston Whip, Imperial Swing, Carolina Shag, East Coast Swing and West Coast Swing. Today west coast swing is danced in competition nationally and internationally.

Condensed from Wikipedia - Swing Dance:

The term swing dance refers to a group of dances that developed with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920's, 30's and 40's (although the earliest of these dance forms predate swing jazz music). The most well-known of these dances is the Lindy Hop, a popular partner-dance that originated in Harlem, NY.

While the majority of swing dances began in African-American communities, a number of forms (Balboa, for example, and west coast swing) developed within Anglo-American or other ethnic group communities.

Jitterbug is often associated with one form of swing dancing, but it is in fact a general term for all swing dances and is more appropriately used to describe a swing dancer than a specific swing dance.

Jitterbug dancers in 1939 - click to see all cultural symbols
Jitterbug dancers at a juke joint in 1939 - one of the dances that
shaped west coast swing dancing - photo from Library of Congress
Prints and Photographs Division
(believed to be public domain)
Source:
State Dance: California State Library
Links:
All State Cultural Symbols

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