Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Rocking Around the Clock - Swing is Back

Large group, mostly men, surrounds couples jit...Image via Wikipedia

Swing is Back in Fashion

With Pole Fitness and Urban Dance styles very much taking the lead when it comes to contemporary dance fitness, it would be easy to think that more traditional dance forms are dying out, or at least becoming very unfashionable. But with the ever-growing youth fascination with the 1940’s and 50’s, certain fashion, music and dance styles are coming back and becoming the newest way to express yourself.

What is Swing Dance?

Swing dance incorporates a number of different styles, from the relatively well-known Charleston, Jive and Rock and Roll moves to the lesser known Balboa and Carolina Shag. However, the principles are largely the same, with routines danced with a partner to a 6 or 8 step count. Emphasis is on moving with your partner in time and the use of both arms and legs, although Swing is not a very high impact form of dance making it suitable for all ages and levels of fitness. Simple routines will simply involve partners dancing together in their choreographed step pattern, whilst more complex dances will have turns, spins and even drops, with women being very much the focus of the more spectacular movements.

You can see a really spectacular display of modern swing dancing in this clip from UK dancing show Strictly Come Dancing.

http://youtu.be/9ss-YD-ToLQ

In recent times, a scene has popped up, largely in cities but to a lesser extent represented in club nights and events all over the world, celebrating the fashions of the 1940’s and 50’s, including clothing, food, music and dance, and has proved very popular with people aged 18-30. These nights are very genteel, with some of the rougher hip hop and industrial clubs seeming a millions miles (and years!) away. Jazz and popular music from the era is played in and you are more likely to find different kinds of tea on the menu than vodka shots or pints of snakebite.

The emphasis is strongly on style, with girls dressing in 40’s tea dresses or the 50’s full skirts and kitten heels, while boys dress in suits hats and shoes. Most importantly on these nights, and one of the strongest aspects to make you feel as though you really have gone back in time, people dance. You can take part in the dancing whether your are a beginner or a pro, and clubs like Jitterbugs in London offer classes to improve your techniques and make sure you really fit in at the next party you go to.

You can also look at taking swing dance classes at many dedicated dance schools and nightclubs around the UK. Swing dance is good cardiovascular exercise as it requires constant movement and a high level of energy, it works well to tone your legs and thighs and will work amazingly to help your posture and sense of rhythm. Standing well apart from many other forms of exercise, it is also a fun and social way to exercise, and something you can take all of your friends along with you to experience, getting fit and learning a new skill together!

One of the premier swing and 1940’s themed nights you can attend is The Blitz Party. These parties happen regularly in London and feature real swing bands, a strict dress code, cabaret and professional swing dancers. You can find out more information on the Blitz Party website.

This article was written by Caitlin who loves dancing and trying out the latest fitness crazes to keep fit and have fun. When she is not writing for the www.poledancingpoles.info blog she can be found enjoying a bit of swing, jive and rock n roll or swinging round her dance fitness pole.

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