top of page

Dance Styles

Lindy Hop belongs to a family of related swing dances that includes Boogie Woogie, Balboa and Charleston, among others. Lindy Hop features elements from each of these, and is therefore probably the broadest of all the swing dances in terms of style and range of moves.


All of the swing dances are linked, so increasing your skills in one of them will improve your dancing in the other styles too!


Check out the videos below for examples of the styles we dance.



The Lindy Hop developed alongside the Jazz of the 1920s-1940s and therefore has a syncopated rhythm that matches the music. The dance is characterised by an 8 count basic, with 6 count and Charleston moves as key accessories to the standard vocabulary. It is arguably the most energetic of the swing dances, although the air steps seen in films and YouTube clips have little to do with the dancing you will see on a typical social dance floor!


SwingCats offer courses in Lindy Hop.  Click here for more information about courses.

ILHC 2013 - Invitational Strictly Lindy Hop Finals



West Coast Swing is a dance style that owes its origins to Boogie Woogie and Lindy Hop, but which is now danced to modern music. West Coast Swing has a distinctive elastic look, and is danced in a ‘slot’ formation on the dance floor.

SwingCats offer courses in West Coast Swing.  Click here for more information about courses.

West Coast Swing - Jordan Frisbee & Tatiana Mollmann

Jana Grulichova at GNSH 2014




The Charleston is highly recognisable due to its prominence in films and TV series set in the 1920s. The solo version of the Charleston is most often shown, but partnered Charleston is surprisingly versatile and fun to dance. Charleston works well to fast music, and a typical Lindy Hop social dance will feature a lot of Charleston.

Jana Grulichova at GNSH 2014




Balboa is danced to fast music in a closed position with small steps. If the dance stays in closed position, this is known as “Pure Balboa.” If the dance opens up with spins and other moves, it is known as “Balboa Swing.” Dancers typically wear shoes with leather soles and heels to facilitate a shuffling motion on the floor. The basic rhythm is an 8 count basic but with a different style and feel to Lindy Hop. Despite the high tempo of the music, Balboa can be more relaxed than other swing dance forms.

PSSF 2013 Mickey & Kelly Balboa demo




Blues as a dance form has a long history from Harlem and is now taught formally around the world. It can be danced in closed position, which allows for musical improvisation in the lead and follow due to the close connection, or it can be danced more energetically with open position moves and spins. Either way, the backroom of the 1930s is now brought to life in many classes.

Ben Collins and Jessica Miltenberger




Boogie Woogie is based on a 6 count basic, with the Lindy Hop 8 count still part of the vocabulary, but as an accessory. The key difference between Lindy Hop and Boogie Woogie is the style, with Boogie Woogie danced higher on the toes. Boogie Woogie is also danced to a different, although related, style of music from a later period, and features a different choice of “breaks.”

Boogie Woogie jam



Authentic Jazz is essentially solo dancing using moves from the 1930-40s, which were strongly influenced by the Charleston and Tap dance. Most dance groups from this era performed both solo and partnered dance routines. Authentic Jazz moves often find their way into Lindy Hop as breaks or variations.

Jazz roots 2015 - Teacher's battle

bottom of page