Swing Outta Compton

A little over ten years ago I learned how to lindy hop in a little Tanjong Pagar shophouse. About three years ago I learned how to DJ in a little Tanjong Pagar shophouse. And tonight, I had my first West Coast Swing lesson in a little Tanjong Pagar shophouse. Little Tanjong Pagar shophouses rock.

Anyway, because I’ve had a few friends ask what West Coast Swing is, what lindy hop is, and whether dancing either of these invariably involves being thrown in the air, I thought I’d share a video which I think is a nice demonstration of how both these dances work in an improvisational, non-airborne setting – which is how I, and most normal non-dance-champ people, would enjoy doing them. The first dance they do is West Coast Swing, the second is lindy hop.


West Coast Swing is a little too slick to be as immediately endearing as lindy hop has always been for me, but I’m still keen to learn it for its versatility. Unlike lindy hop, which is most typically danced to big band music, West Coast Swing can be danced to almost any pop music, and as much as I love Duke Ellington, the thought of swinging to trashy pop is rather intriguing.


  1. Hey, that’s so awesome! I’m pleasantly surprised that Westie has made it to SG — I have a soft spot for it too, and it’s really handy to bust out at wedding receptions, but I’ve never translated my dabbly interest into Real Classes. It’s fun though! Is there a real Westie Scene in Singapore now? Better than the Lindy one?

  2. The flag in the background also reads ‘Boston Tea Party.’ Hope it has nothing to do with its monstrous 21st century namesake…

  3. Other Michelle: The Westie scene is still very small but they’re trying to grow it. My impression is that there isn’t much crossover between the Lindy and Westie scenes, and that many people doing Westie are crossing over from stuff like salsa. But I’ve only been for 2 lessons at 1 studio, so my data pool ain’t big. Hopefully I’ll get a better impression of the scene when I go for Parker Dearborn’s weekend of workshops at the end of March!

    shao: I’m pretty sure it’s just a long-running Boston-based swing event that riffs on the actual historical event for its name. :)

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