Swing On ! - Track 13:

"SWINGPEDIA" -THE Dance Resource & Reference Location !

Although similar to a real encyclopedia, I call this reference section a "Swingpedia" BUT topics are NOT listed alphabetically. I rank these Categories and the individual sources in order of my opinion of which of these are or should be most important and useful to the general swing dancer. PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCES TO LEARN MORE ABOUT SWING DANCING AND HELP ME ADD TO THIS LIST !)

How to Use this "SWINGPEDIA":

If you are interested in "LEARNING HOW to Social Ballroom Dance"...

see other Tracks like Track 2 (Private Lessons), Track 3 (CT classes), Track 4 (NJ & PA classes), Track 6 (Try a Lesson at home) of this website and "VIDEOS", "MOVIES", "MAGAZINES" below.

If you are interested in the "HISTORY & EVOLUTION of Swing & Ballroom Dancing"...

see the following link about the history of modern Ballroom Dancing:


plus the "BOOKS" and "MAGAZINES" below.

If you are interested in DOING Swing & Ballroom Dancing...

see other Tracks like Track 7 (Ask "Dr. Swingdance"), Track 8 (Songs & Bands), Track 9 (Local & World Clubs), Track 10 (Philadelphia Swing Dance Society & Local Swing Calendar) of this website and "RADIO STATIONS" below.


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(e-mail your favorite swing terms to me & I will add to this list !)

AERIALS- Also called "air steps". When one or more feet of dancers is off the ground or a dancers' balance is totally dependent on their partner.

AIR STEPS- see "aerials"

ARM TONE- Springy arms like a bungee when holding hands with a partner.

BACK BEAT- The softer or less-dominent beat in syncopated music. Some say "upbeat".

BACK LEADING- What some Followers do to direct a Leader in what to lead next to them. Followers, do not do this. a HUGE "NO-NO" ! Get your Leaders better dance lessons in how to lead confidently instead.

BALLROOM POSITION- First hands held palm to palm. Second (left) hand of Follower on downslope of Leaders' right shoulder and Leader's second (right) hand on Follower's left shoulder blade.

BASIC STEP- The step pattern that identifys the type of dance or provides thinking time for the Leader to plan what figures will be followed.

BEAT- Musical motion heard- either heavy or light or equally weighted.

BIG BAND- Bands of 8 or more members playing "Glenn Miller-type" music.

BOP- What some people call Jitterbug in some parts of the US.

BPM- Beats per minute - the number of beats occuring in a minute quantifys the tempo of the music. Figure by counting downbeats and backbeats in 15 seconds and multiply by 4 for beats in a minute.

BREAKAWAY- A brief dance interlude away from "touching distance" of your partner. Like "Freestyle" but shorter duration.

CLOSED POSITION- same as "Ballroom Position".

CROSSED HAND HOLD- Leader's first hand to Follower's second hand or visa versa.

"DEER-IN-THE-HEADLIGHTS" LOOK- How some Leaders freeze up and stop dancing while the music is still playing when they get distracted and forget everything they knew about dancing. Pitiful.

DOUBLE CROSSED HANDS- Both sets of hands crossed.

DOUBLE STEPS- Two steps or a step and touch (two movements) in two beats of music.

EAST COAST SWING- Archaic term now (used to refer to Jitterbug). Now indicates swing dancing with circular motions- Jitterbug, Lindy, Retro Swing.

FIGURE- A pattern of motions led and followed. Same a "move".

FIRST FOOT (or Hand)- The first foot a person begins a dance figure with. Usually Leader's Left and Follower's Right.

FOLLOW(er)- The motion that a person makes in response to a "Lead". Person who responds.

FRAME- The firm connection between partners in closed postition

FREESTYLE- Figures or motions done away from your partner.

JITTERBUG- The swing dance style consisting of 6-counts of music and circular motions. Derived from Lindy Hop. Some call it "bop" or "jive" or "east coast swing".

JIVE- Another name for Jitterbug. What International Ballroom dancers call Jitterbug, usually using two triple steps for the "slow, slow" part of the basic step.

LEAD(er)- The motion that a person makes to indicate a move or figure. Person who leads.

LINDY (HOP)- The original swing dance generally consisting of 8-count swing dancing and originated in NYC.

MOVE- see "Figure".

NATURAL HAND HOLD- When Leader first (and/or second) hand holds the Follower's first (and/or second) hands.

OPEN POSITION- When dance partners hold one or both hands and do not close off their dance unit.

PARTNER DANCING- Touch dancing or dancing led by a Leader communicating dance directions to a Follower by physical contact.

RETRO SWING- The energetic blend of 6-count Jitterbug and 8-count Lindy Hop.

SINGLE STEPS- One step or weight change per two beats of music.

SLIDES- Figures done with the arms sliding on each other or feet sliding on the floor.

SLOT- The 2-dimensional area of the floor that Followers move forward and back on in some styles of Disco Hustle and West Coast Swing. Also called the "track".

SPAGHETTI ARMS- Loose, limp arms, opposite of "toned".

SWING DANCING- The family of partner dancing done to uptempo music. Called Jitterbug, Lindy Hop, Retro Swing, West Coast Swing. Sometimes Hustle included.

SWING ERA- The Big Band Era and music.

SWING OUT- In Lindy Hop when the Follower is released by the Leader's second hand so that their circular motion causes her to swing open as she holds his first hand.

TOUCH DANCING- see "partner dancing".

TRACK- see "slot".

TRIPLE STEPS- Three steps or weight changes per two beats of music.

UPBEAT- see "backbeat".

WEST COAST SWING- Style of swing dancing where the Follower dances in a "slot" forward and back as Leader gets in and out of her way.



with Jim Zaccaria & Jane Liebman- see "Track 5: Stuff to Buy" of this website for a Video & music on CD including East Coast Swing (Jitterbug), Lindy Hop Swing, & Hustle (all basic steps and a little more) plus 9 other ballroom and party dances PLUS a music CD with 12 songs (one to dance each of the 12 dances taught, for example "Jump, Jive an' Wail" for Lindy Hop).

"LINDY HOP VOL. 1, 2, 3"

with Frankie Manning & Erin Stevens- see "Track 5: Stuff to Buy" of this website for these three fine videos of Lindy Hop Swing. A must-have if you want to dance "the original swing" !!
or See "MAGAZINES" below.
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If you are a visual person, then you may be able to take some inspiration from Actors who have learned some dance steps very well and very quickly for their films. You might even learn some new moves yourself from what you see in these movies. Remember that these dancers have rehearsed over and over (or their dance doubles have) AND that the film has been edited to eliminate the goofs. Viewing movies was never intended to teach you how to Swing Dance - most movies rarely show everything that happens. They prefer the "MTV-look" of quick cuts that hides a lot. Mostly you'll only be seeing a few seconds or less of any move and you'll have to interpolate the rest ! Best way to see anything ? I SUGGEST THAT YOU VIEW THESE MOVIES ON VHS OR DVD SO THAT YOU CAN ADVANCE ONE FRAME AT A TIME TO LEARN ANYTHING...

Especially with "aerials" or "air steps", use your common sense and EXTREME CAUTION when trying anything that might hurt you, your partner, or dancers nearby. (Most aerials or air steps have a trick or illusion about them which makes them easier and safer to do. If you don't know what these are, YOU MAY GET HURT trying them from what you THOUGHT you saw in an episodic movie clip ! Ask a knowledgable swing dance teacher first before you try these.)

any movies with FRED ASTAIRE, DONALD O'CONNER, GENE KELLY and whoever they are dancing with ! :

Whether they are dancing Jazz, Tap, or with a partner, folks like these will inspire you to dance your best ...

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN (1992- JITTERBUG dance sequences from 0:49':36" to 0:51':55"):

Women's pro baseball league blossoms in the 1940's while most men are at WW II. One of the baseball players (Madonna's character) Jitterbugs in a bar with several people and does a variety of moves plus some great aerials. Shot fairly coherently so that you can actually see most of what was happening.

BLAST from the PAST (1999- JITTERBUG. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Brendan Fraser's "Adam" comes out of a bomb shelter find supplies and a partner after 35 years underground. He wows the crowd at a club by dancing with two beautiful women at the same time ! Meanwhile, the always luscious Alicia Silverstone ("Eve") wonders why she's getting annoyed... .

DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965- WALTZ. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

The young & beautiful Lara dances reluctantly with the older & evil Rod Steiger to Richard Strauss' passionate Waltz music from Der Rosenkavalier.

HELLZAPOPPIN' (1932- LINDY HOP. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Hard to find but includes numerous dance sequences with Frankie Manning and Whitey's Lindy Hoppers dancing and inventing Swing as the camera recorded it !!

LOVE n' DANCING (2008- WEST COAST SWING. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Popular actress Amy Smart is not only beautiful - she can really West Coast Swing dance !! Her fiance doesn't want to learn but her teacher Tom Malloy wants to enter dance competitions with her. In addition to some of Amy's training and lessons, you'll see her complete competition routine and three others. REALLY GREAT AND INVENTIVE SWING DANCING !!

MAD HOT BALLROOM (2005- MERENGUE, SWING, TANGO. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

This entertaining documentary covers the 5th grade public school dance competition held each year in New York City. These kids show the joy of moving to the music, the dedication to succeed and the fun resulting !

MASK (1994- LINDY HOP / JITTERBUG dance sequences from 0:40':04" to 0:42':50"):

Nebbish turns hero by donning mask. Also turns great dancer (if only it were that easy)! Jim Carrey's character Lindy dances with Cameron Diaz's character (!!!) and does mostly aerials that don't have much to do with the music (but great dress so who cares !). Very episodic filming and dark lighting so that on the lifts you can't see that it probably was NOT Jim & Cameron !

MY BLUE HEAVEN (1990- MERENGUE. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

As part of the witness protection program, former mobster Steve Martin seeks a release from the boredom of captivity at a classy bar with his Government protector, Rick Moranis. To his surprise, Rick watches helplessly as Steve picks up two beautiful women for a quick Merengue, then participates himself. Loads of fun !

SALSA (1988- SALSA. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Like the title says, all things Salsa and with a plot as well !

SCENT OF A WOMAN (1992- TANGO. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Al Pacino teaches Chris O'Donnell the important things about life, women and the Tango !

SHAG: THE MOVIE (1989- CAROLINA SHAG. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Great coming of age film almost no one saw with terrific Shag dancing (the Carolina's "State Dance" and related to Swing) set in 1963 Myrtle Beach SC. Check out the Shag competition scenes for ideas in your swing dancing.

SHALL WE DANCE ? (1937- WALTZ, QUICK-STEP, unique Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Fred and Ginger at their best making it look easy and inspiring us to try learning to apprear even a fraction as cool.

SHALL WE DANCE ? (2004- WALTZ, QUICK-STEP, etc. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Richard Gere decides he needs some excitement in his dull corporate life so, viola, dance lessons with Jennifer Lopez !

SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT (1995- JITTERBUG. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Romantic comedy with Julia Roberts and Dennis Quaid showing off some nifty Jitterbug moves !

SWINGERS (1996- JITTERBUG dance sequences from 1:07':57" to 1:09':02"):

Entertaining film noir almost everyone under age 30 saw with some Jitterbug dancing but not much to see or learn since the camera is in too close to the main characters and cuts too fast. Yes, that's Jon Favreau and Heather Graham making it easy on your eyes. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy is the house band playing "You & Me & the Bottle Makes Three" and "Go Daddy-O" !

TRUE LIES (1994- TANGO. I didn't time dance scenes yet):

Arnold Schwartzenegger and Tia Carrere pull off some snazzy Tango dancing at the start of this movie. The sequence was interesting enough to win an MTV Movie Award in 1995 for "Best Dance Sequence". Arnold is at it again at the end of the movie with Jamie Lee Curtis.

...MANY MORE MOVIES TO COME...Stay tuned !

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All of these have a place in the avid dancers' regular reading. Just quit your main job and start reading these & dancing full-time ! (CHECK TO SEE IF THESE ARE IN OPERATION OR NOT)

JITTERBUG (monthly ?, $10/yr., call 1.714.494.5086 or write Jitterbug, 1330 La Mirada, Laguna Beach, CA 92651):

Great reading, informative and instructive for Jitterbug, West Coast Swing, etc. News, articles, competitions, upcoming events, awards, history, clubs, ads of videos for sale. My opinion - Leans slightly toward West Coast Swing & Ballroom.


5-6-7-8 (monthly, $39.95/yr. call 1.505.286.8646 or write 5678, P.O. Box 398, Vandalia, OH 45377):

Just started and looks great ! Covers the world of "social dance" (they say "Swing, Country, Hustle, Line dance, Ballroom, Lindy,Shag, and much more !") News, articles, competitions, upcoming events, awards, history, clubs, ads of videos for sale. My opinion - leans slightly toward Swing and Country.


DANCING USA (every 2 months, $24.97/yr., call 1.800.290.1307 for credit card orders or write Dancing USA, Subscription Dept., 14160 Coral Sea St., Ham Lake, MN 55304-7233):

Great reading, informative and instructive for general Swing and Ballroom, etc. News, articles on music and where to dance in this area or that, competitions, upcoming events, history, clubs, ads of videos for sale. My opinion - Leans slightly toward Ballroom but adding more Swing all the time.


COUNTRY DANCE LINES MAGAZINE (monthly, $35/yr. to USA, call 1.614.470.3101 or write Country Dance Lines, PO Box 243, Reynoldsburg, OH 43068 or see www.CountryDanceLines.com):

Specializes in the Country dance scene. Good music reviews pointing out which songs on each CD are good for East Coast Swing (Jitterbug), West Coast Swing, Hustle, Two-Step, and all the country dances etc. Detailed steps to new and old line dances. News, country dance organization reports in this area or that, country dance competitions, upcoming events, ads of videos for sale. My opinion - Does a good job leaning (obviously) toward Country ( but includes East & West coast swing too).


THE DANCE GYPSY (a monthly e-mail newsletter, $12/yr., call 1.802.899.2378 or write The Dance Gypsy, 57 Sleepy Hollow Rd., Essex Jct., VT 05452-2721):

A newsletter telling you where to Contra, Square, International Folk, Cajun, and Swing dance (ongoing dances and special dance events) in New England and up state NY. My opinion - Leans toward Contra, Square, and International Folk dancing.

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Great reading for bedtime or that research paper on Swing Dancing ...

HOW TO JITTERBUG ( by John Javna, 1984, ISBN 0-312-39574-4, Softcover, 50+ pgs., St. Martin's Press, 175 Fifth Ave., NY, NY 10010):

The original "how to" Swing Dance book with great pictures of each move and cute 1950's-60's sort of banter and feel. It's out of print now but you can find it in some big libraries (with Xerox machines ?). Someone let me know where I can find a copy to buy ! Check out Kelly Buckwalter in her Jitterbug days ( Kelly, I love you in this book whether you're teaching in person, in videos or in pictures, you're an inspiration !)


LET'S LINDY (by Simon Selmon, 1993, ISBN 1-85273-039-0, Softcover, 50+ pgs., Dance Books Ltd., 9 Cecil Court, London, WC2N 4EZ Great Britain):

Lindy Hop with 8-count and 6-count figures and snapshots of how the figures look.


JAZZ DANCE: THE STORY OF AMERICAN VERNACULAR DANCE (by Jean & Marshall Sterns, 1964, ISBN 0-306-80553-7, Softcover, >470 pgs., Da Capo Press, Inc., 233 Spring St., NY, NY 10013):

The history of jazz dance (including Swing) from start (?) to to 1990's. If you want to understand where your dancing fits in, get it !


SWINGIN' at the SAVOY, MEMOIR of a JAZZ DANCER (by Norma Miller & Evette Jensen, 1996, ISBN 1-56639-494-5, Hardcover, 261 pgs., Temple Univ. Press, Phila., PA 19122):

Norma Miller's first-hand account of how Swing Dance developed is not to be missed !


SWING ! THE NEW RETRO RENAISSANCE (by V / Search Publications, 1998, ISBN 1-889307-02-5, Softcover, 214+ pgs., V / Search Publications, 20 Romolo #B, San Francisco, CA 94133, 1.415.362.1465):

Oh so Retro ! Articles about dancers, bands, music and everything Swing "today" plus a great index !


THE SWING ERA ( Ed. by Jay Gold, 1970, Hardcover, 64 pgs., Time Life Books):

Companion book of 1940-41 records with Glenn Miller and Harry James. Great stories and pictures of the Big Band Era !


THE BIG BANDS SONGBOOK (compliation and text by George T. Simon, 1975, ISBN 0-06-464049-3, Softcover, 369 pgs., Harper & Row Publishers, 10 E 53rd St., New York, NY 10022):

The marvelous words and music of the Swing Era with the Bands and Vocalists that made them famous ! Seventy-three songs (not all swing danceable but all are hits from the Big Band Era) individually arranged for piano, voice, and guitar with a short stories about each !!


Dick Clark's AMERICAN BANDSTAND (by Dick Clark & Fred Bronson, 1997, ISBN 0-06-757456-4, Softcover, 188 pgs., Collins Publishers, 10 E 53rd St., New York, NY 10022):

This is the bible for those interested early to late American Bandstand- TV's first combination of music & dance as entertainment ! This show did more to spread dancing nationwide than any other medium of its day. Some stories and filled with pictures. Visual proof that Dick Clark does NOT age and did not from the first "Bandstand" in Philly to the last in Califormia !!


BIG BAND JAZZ - From the Beginnings to the Fifties (by Gunther Schuller & Martin Williams, 1983, Softcover, 52 pgs., Smithsonian Collection of Recordings, Washington, DC 20560):

Companion book of Smithsonian records of Big Band Jazz. Stories and pictures of the bands mostly of the Big Band Era !


SWING ERA NEW YORK - The Jazz Photographs of Charles Peterson (by w. Royal Stokes, 1994, ISBN 1-56639-227-6, Softcover, 220 pgs., Temple University Press, Philadelphia, PA 19122):

Stories and pictures of the bands mostly of the Big Band Era collected by the son (Don Peterson) of the photographer !


BALLROOM ECHOES (by Lon A Gault, 1989, ISBN ?, Softcover, 330 pgs., Andrew Corbet Press, ?):

Stories and pictures of the bands mostly of the Big Band Era collected by the son (Don Peterson) of the photographer !


ROCK & ROLL- An UNRULY HISTORY (by Robert Palmer & WGBH, 1995, ISBN 0-517-70050-6, Hardcover, 325 pgs., Harmony Books, div. of Crown Publishers, 201 E 50th St., NY, NY 10022):

Companion book for WGBH series of the same name. Find out how "Swing music" influenced the music of the 50's & 60's up to today.


ROCK ARCHIVES: A Photographic Journey Through the First Two Decades of Rock & Roll (by Michael Ochs, 1984, ISBN 0-385-19434-X, Softcover, 400+ pgs., Doubleday & Company, Garden City, NY):

Hundreds of pictures of artists from the 1940' to the 1980's ! See clothes styles change before your eyes !


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(Let me know about good swing music radio stations near you...These are radio stations broadcasting music for Swing Dancing to the Philadelphia Metro Area...)

Philadelphia's WRTI - FM 90.1:

Swing and Jazz music periodically throughout the day and evening !

Connecticut's WXTU - FM 92.5:

Round-the-clock Country Rock for Cha-Cha, Jitterbug (East Coast Swing), Two Step, Waltz or West Coast Swing !

Philadelphia's W??? - FM 92.5:

Round-the-clock Country Rock for Cha-Cha, Jitterbug (East Coast Swing), Two Step, Waltz or West Coast Swing !

Philadelphia's WWJZ - AM 640:

Round-the-clock Big Band music of the 40's & 50's broadcast from S. New Jersey !

Philadelphia's WPEN - AM 950:

Round-the-clock Big Band music of the 40's & 50's ! (Plus they sponsor the Penn's Landing Big Band Series of free Thursday night concerts with dancing !)

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