In the late 40’s and early 50’s, there were mainly two styles of Swing: Eastern Swing and Western Swing. The popularity of Western Swing spawned competition in local, Southern California nightclubs and the name changed to West Coast Swing. In a competition, the lady walking forward produced a sharper and more interesting look and feel and was a welcome contrast to the Jitterbug days. The concept that made it different was the fact that both partners traveled in the same direction, rather than the standard Back Rock, away from each other, in an opposition move
Another interesting evolution of West Coast Swing includes the fact that it was once mainly a man's dance. The follower had no say in the presentation of the dance. Today - reflecting the attitudes of the moral and social codes of the day - West Coast Swing is a 50/50 presentation. SHE is as responsible for the partnership as he is. He leads - but she needs to know enough about the dance to ADD to the performance.
Once you master the five basic step patterns: sugar push, left side pass, underarm (or right) side pass, whip, and starter step, there is freedom to add style, character, and a multitude of variations, making this an extremely versatile and enjoyable dance.