History of Western Swing
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The History of the Western Swing
Written by Rick Archer, SSQQ Dance Studio
Originally Written in 1997.
Last Update: February 2007

Did you know that Houston is the Western Swing Capital of the United States?

When it comes to Western dancing, Dallas with its weird Dallas Twostep is a distant second. The rest of the State of Texas still thinks it is a crime against nature for the man to dance going backwards. 

The rest of the United States thinks Country-Western Line Dances is the authentic form of western dancing.  Sad to say, they don't know what they are missing.

Certainly nowhere else in the USA does an entire city have ladies double-turning to Western music. 

Individuals perhaps, but an entire city?  No way. Houston, Texas, owns the Western Swing. No other city comes close.

Do you ever wonder if God created the universe, then who created God?  Do you ever wonder if there's life on other planets?  Of equal importance, do you ever wonder why Houston is the only city in America where everyone double turns to Western music?

There is a reason, you know. If you are interested, this is the story of how Western Swing was created and why Houston gets all the credit. 

(Quick Note before we get started: "Western Swing" is a term I chose many moons ago circa 1980 for two reasons when this style of dancing was first becoming popular in the Houston area. I needed a name and there was no name out there at the time.

First, it is a name with high recognition in Texas due to a style of music originated by Bob Wills. "Western Swing" is a style of Western Music that is very danceable. Modern examples of this style would include music by Asleep at the Wheel and George Strait. In other words, Western Swing the dance works great to Western Swing the music.

Second, Western Swing the dance has many patterns in common with East Coast Swing. The major difference is that the Western patterns are TRAVELED whereas the East Coast patterns are danced in one spot on the floor. To me, the easiest way to separate out the two similar dances was to call one "Swing" and the other "Western Swing".

25 years later, the only name I have come across that might also work is "Twostep with Turns".  That name works okay, but after all the dust is cleared, I still like "Western Swing" better.  That's my choice and I'm sticking to it.  RA, January 2006)

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