State Dance

West Coast Swing

The emergence of West Coast Swing dancing is a California story. It is rooted in the Lindy Hop of the 1930s and the later Jitterbug. These dances were sweeping the country during this time and were incredibly popular. However, these dances did not translate well to the newest craze: movies! Hollywood directors and choreographers wanted a dance where the Jitterbug dancers’ faces were not lost to the camera as they moved in a circular motion. West Coast Swing, with its straight lines of multiple dancers, filled the screen.

At the time, an American dance performed to American music appealed to local and international devotees from a wide variety of backgrounds. In 1988, West Coast Swing and square dancing were made the official State Dance and State Folk Dance, respectively, by the Legislature.

(Senate Bill 2460, Chapter 1645, 1988)

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