Swing dance has many variations. The most basic and easiest to learn is city swing, or single-time swing. It is based on a six-count step pattern that is repeated throughout the dance. Swing is a partner dance, and the foundation to any partner dance is the frame. This is what allows the partners to lead and follow each other.
The leader and follower start by facing each other. The leader takes his right hand and places it on the follower's left shoulder. His right elbow should be held up so that it is parallel to the floor, creating a shelf for the follower's arm. The follower then places her left hand on the leader's shoulder. The leader then bends his left arm so the forearm is parallel to the floor and cups his hand as if holding onto a soda can. He then places the thumb on top of the hand, forming a hook. The follower places the fingers of her right hand in the hook at about hip level.. The leader's right side and follower's left side should be closer, forming a V-shape with their bodies.
The basic steps for single-time swing are: step, step, rock step. The leader will start on his left foot and the follower starts on her right. The steps are about shoulder-width apart. The leader steps left, under his left shoulder, then right, under his right shoulder. The follower does the opposite, stepping right first under the right shoulder, then left under the left shoulder.
For the rock step, step back on the ball of one foot, and then replace the weight onto your front foot. For the leader, step back on the ball of your left foot, and then replace the weight forward onto your right foot. You are then ready to begin the pattern again. The follower's rock step is back onto the ball of your right foot, replace the weight forward onto your left foot, and back to the beginning.
Rhythm is extremely important in swing dancing. The pattern is based on a six-count rhythm. The first two steps are two counts each: step (1, 2), step (3, 4). The rock step is one count for each step: rock (5) step (6). Repeat this step until you are comfortable with the pattern and the rhythm.
Mary Fenton received a Bachelor of Arts in dance with an emphasis on performance and choreography from the University of California, Los Angeles. She has been a professional dancer, dance teacher, Realtor and writer.