What is West Coast Swing?

West Coast Swing (WCS) is a smooth, slotted swing dance. It evolved from a smooth style of Lindy Hop in California and adapted into its own dance form back in the ’50s and ’60s. Danced to a wide range of music genres, it is slower than Lindy and East Coast Swing, which are danced to up-tempo swing and big band music, but it is very improvisational, creative, and musical. Often it is defined by the stretch and flow of the dance and its linear shape. West Coast Swing is danced to a wide variety of music from the last several decades, including current top 40, R&B, pop, soul, and blues – everything from Billie Eilish and Justin Bieber to Al Green, Aretha Franklin, and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Check out a video of the dance here:

Q: What should I wear?

A: Wear whatever makes you comfortable! Typically WCS dancers are fairly casual and will wear jeans and a t-shirt or some form of athleisure wear.  Dance shoes are nice to have if you stick with the dance but, if you are just starting out, comfortable shoes with a non-stick or leather sole will do. If you’re prone to sweating feel free to bring an extra shirt (and deodorant).  

To answer these questions more fully, check out our articles on Medium:

Q: What level of classes should I take?

A: When in doubt, start with our Level 0 class, Crash Course.  This class is designed as an introduction to the basics of West Coast Swing with no experience required.  From there, our instructors will help you decide when you should move up to the next class. See the Classes tab for info on general recommendations for how long to take each level of class.

Q: Do I need a partner?

A: Nope! In class we rotate partners throughout the lesson, and everyone asks each other to dance at the social dances afterwards.  Everyone is friendly and we encourage everyone to dance together.

Q: Is rotating required for classes, or can I stay with a partner I brought?

A:  Rotating is encouraged, but certainly not required. We understand attendees may prefer not to rotate for a number of reasons. If you and a partner would like to stay together throughout a class, please let the instructor know at the beginning of the class and you will be able to learn alongside the other students. We do encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and join the rotation when you are ready! It can be a great way to learn if the skills you are practicing work with all partners versus just one to prepare for social dancing.

Q: I just finished the recommended series of classes for Crash Course and am feeling confident with the topics covered so far. Can I try out the Foundations (Level 1) class on the same night?

A: Sure! If you're uncertain on if you have the Level 0 topics down yet, check with your instructor. If y'all agree you're ready to try out Foundations, it is only an additional $5 for your first Foundations class to be added on.  

Q: What else should I bring with me to a lesson or social dance?

A: In addition to a water bottle (we have water fountains at the location you can refill with), you may want to bring an extra shirt or towel depending on how much you sweat.

Q: How do I pay for classes?

A: We accept Venmo, card, or cash (as long as it is in exact change!) at the door.  There is currently no option to purchase classes ahead of time.  Please show up early so you can make sure to be checked-in before class starts!  

Q: I'm a student!  How do I claim my student discount?

A: Show your student ID at the door as proof.  Please only use this discount if you are currently enrolled in classes. 

Q: What should I do if I tested positive for COVID soon after attending Austin Westie Academy?

A: First of all, take care of yourself!  As soon as you can, please notify any of our staff via our Contact Us form, email, or our facebook group.  This can be done privately and we will not disclose your identity unless you consent to identification.

Q: What happens if I have purchased a monthly pass but was not able to attend one of the four sessions that month?

A: Unfortunately, monthly passes only apply to classes and socials in the month they were purchased.  It is not the same as a 4 class/social package that can be applied at any time.

Have another question on your mind that we didn't answer here? Send it to us via the Contact Us tab on this webpage!