How to Dance the Swim

By Sarah Badger
Do the Swim by mimicking swimming strokes and miming jumping into water.

A dance popularized in the 1960s, the Swim mimics the motions of swimming. The Swim is closely related to the Twist, a dance craze ignited by the rise of rock n' roll music in the 1950s and 60s. While there are many ways to do the Swim, the basic dance combines the lower body movement of dances like the Twist and the Pony with arm and hand motions that resemble swim strokes. Feel free to add your own style and variations to this popular dance.

Lower Body

Do the Twist by placing your feet hip width apart and transferring your weight to the balls of your feet. Twist your hips from side-to-side, letting your entire lower body swivel to the beat of the music.

Do the Pony by hopping to the side on your right foot. Bring your left foot into your right and take a small step onto the ball of your left foot before quickly stepping on your right again. Repeat with your other leg.

Continue doing the Twist or the Pony and begin moving your arms in one of the swimming motions.

Upper Body Swimming Motions

Make "freestyle" strokes as your continue moving your lower body. Bring your right arm behind your body and circle it toward your head with the elbow bend. Extend your hand straight forward in line with your ear and repeat the motion with your other arm.

Act like you are jumping into the pool or ocean. Hold your nose with one hand and wave your free arm back and forth. Bend your knees and lower your body so it looks like you're ducking under the waves. This style of arm movement works best with the lower body twist.

Add backstrokes to your lower body movement. Keep your arms straight and your fingers together. Circle your arm in front of your body and back toward your head. Tilt your torso back slightly so it looks like your strokes are propelling you backward.

Alternate between different kind of "strokes" as you dance. Try mixing and matching the different lower body movements with the swimming motions of your arms.

Tip

Add your own variations to the steps by bending your arm a different way or altering the speed at which you dance. Do the Swim to music by bands from the 1950s and 60s like The Beach Boys and Chubby Checker.

About the Author

Sarah Badger is a certified pilates and group fitness instructor, writer and dance teacher. Her work has appeared in "Dance Spirit" magazine and several literary journals. Badger earned her bachelor's degree in English and religious studies from Marymount Manhattan College, and currently owns a dance and fitness studio in upstate New York.