West Coast Swing (WCS) is a partner dance derived from Lindy Hop. It is characterised by a distinctive elastic look that results from its basic extension-compression technique of partner connection, and is danced primarily in a slotted area on the dance floor. The dance allows for both partners to improvise steps while dancing together. Typically the follower walks into new patterns traveling forward on counts "1" and "2" of each basic pattern, rather than rocking back.
It is believed that the origins of the WCS are in Lindy Hop. In a 1947 book, Arthur Murray recognized that, "There are hundreds of regional dances of the Jitterbug type. Each section of the country seems to have a variation of its own."The Anchor Step is a common ending pattern of many West Coast Swing figures.
West Coast Swing can be danced to almost any music written in 4/4 time at speeds ranging from very slow to very fast; 15 to 45 Measures per Minute, ideally at 32 Measures per Minute (15x4=60 bpm, 32x4 = 128 bpm, 45x4=180 bpm). The character of the dance changes over that range. At the slowest speeds the dance tends to exhibit a highly elastic connection with the possibility of very sexy, "slinky" walks for the lady, and a slight backward leaning poise at the full extent of the connection. At faster speeds the partners become more upright and the connection shortens with more of a "push and pull" feel and look.