The Birth of Swing

In the early 1900s jazz music began to make its way on the music scene. First being popular only in African American communities, it didn’t take long for everyone to take notice. Before the 20s came rolling in, jazz music could be heard in virtually every club in the states, and was making its way to other countries.

In the late 20s musicians were starting to add more players with the addition of large brass and woodwind ensembles. The beats were changed and more syncopation added. This new form of music was edgier, and easier to dance to. The name ‘big band’ was coined, and because the music made you ‘swing’, the name was born.


Thanks to swing music, many forms of dance also evolved. The Lindy Hop was made popular in the early days of swing, and remains popular today. The Jitterbug became hugely popular, and even today dance competitions centered around this style can be found. Shagging was another form that had a more sexual feel to it, and still remains a favorite in many clubs.

The dance styles of swing feature high energy moves combined with elements of tap.


Swing music gave birth to many sub-genres, and some still coming in to the spotlight today. As rock and roll started to become popular, many artists combined the harder sounds with the energy of swing, creating the birth of rockabilly. Country music started to incorporate swing without the brass and woodwind, but with a stronger focus on the fiddle and country lyrics. This is still well liked in the country scene and is referred to as Western swing.

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