Tacos with or without cheese?

Are tacos supposed to have cheese? Traditional Mexican tacos do not but we seemingly see cheese on what are called “tacos” all-of-the-time.

Now let’s talk al little bit about the dance called West Coast Swing.

For those who don’t know, West Coast Swing was born out of Lindy Hop. It has some similar figures but not the same rhythm. Notably, West Coast Swing is danced to a wide variety of music, including current pop. This allows West Coast Swing to draw in a wide range of ages and tastes. Bluesy Music? Check. Funk? Check. If your favorite song is by Usher and want to partner dance, West Coast Swing is seemingly the thing for you.

Lindy hop, on the other hand, has been fairly conservative in what the community has deemed appropriate music for our dance. Especially nowadays, we mainly dance to big band swing music. This can initially be a turn off for some, a complete deal breaker for others. It’s relatively rare for someone to come to my class saying, “My favorite song is Tuxedo Junction, I’ve finally found the dance for me!”

In fact, it’s never happened.

But why do we not embrace other musical styles?

Other than out of the obvious historical respect for its traditions, the rhythm and styling of lindy hop is symbiotically connected to swing music. Yes, you could do the steps to other music but it wouldn’t be the same. Yes, you could change the styling and the timing to fit other genres but then it wouldn’t be authentic lindy hop. Changing the music changes something fundamental about what the dance is. This change would make lindy hop into something else.

In fact, it would become West Coast Swing, the “tacos with cheese” of dances. Delicious but not same as the original.

Lindy Hop is danced to swing music. Enjoy and appreciate it, cheese-free.

MARK KIHARA