How to Swing Dance

Learn the basics of the big-band era, and get ready for a jazzy night on the town!


Up next in Ballroom Dancing 101 (13 videos)

If Dancing with the Stars or an upcoming wedding has you eager to sharpen your dance skills, take ballroom dancing lessons with this Howcast video series. You'll learn how to swing dance, how to do a polka, how to cha-cha, how to dance New York-style salsa, and how to dance the samba, foxtrot, rumba, and tango. Picking up the dance moves is easy with the step-by-step instructions in these dance videos.

You Will Need

  • A dance partner
  • A sense of humor
  • Endurance


  1. Step 1

    Count out the rhythm

    Get used to the rhythm you'll be dancing to by counting it out loud. The beat for basic swing dancing sounds like this: 1 a 2, 1 a 2, 1 2, 1 a 2, 1 a 2, 1 2.

  2. Step 2

    Stand in open position

    Swing is traditionally danced by a man-and-woman team. Decide who'll be your gent and who'll be your lady. Stand facing each other in open position.

  3. Open position means standing and facing your partner, maintaining some space between the two of you, and holding one or both hands.

  4. Step 3

    Think of yourselves as mirrors

    You and your partner will always be dancing the same steps on the opposite feet. Basically, you'll be each other's mirror image.

  5. Step 4

    Step to one side

    On the first "1 a 2," the man does a left-right-left step to his left side. The woman steps right-left-right to her right.

  6. Step 5

    Step to the other side

    On the second "1 a 2," the man does a right-left-right step to his right, back to starting position. The woman steps left-right-left to her left.

  7. Step 6

    Step away

    On the "1," the man steps back and away on his left foot, while the woman does the same on her right foot.

  8. Step 7

    Step back

    On the "2," both partners shift their weight to the other foot.

  9. Step 8

    Practice the sequence

    Throw on an old swing hit, and practice until you know the sequence by heart.

  10. Step 9

    Step lively

    Swing is a fun, upbeat dance, so keep up that energy, and have a blast!

  11. The swing dance known as the Lindy Hop derived its name from Charles Lindbergh's famed solo flight (or "hop") across the Atlantic.