Swing Dancing/Circle

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Circles are traditional Lindy Hop dance moves where partners circle around each other. Sometimes, the lead stays in the middle and the follow moves around him. Sometimes, the follow stays in the middle and lead moves around her. Sometimes, both lead and follow move around a common center, around each other. The conventional direction for circles in Lindy Hop is clockwise, which is the opposite of ballroom, though dancers move in both directions.

Lindy circles evolved from Charleston circles. Circles cannot quite be categorized as either basic, sugar push, side pass, swing out, or Aerial Dance moves.

Circles have less scope for variation than other dance moves, because both dancers often cling to each other to keep from moving apart. Circles have less natural asymmetry to play with.

Closed circles

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Closed circles are usually fast, because the couple is close and they have a good grip.

Rock, step, turn to cuddle (low promenade), the follow walks backwards while the lead walks forwards. They may spin for as long as desired, from two counts up.

Start variations

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From Closed: Just go.

From Rock Step: Lead a rock step, pull to cuddle, in 4 counts.

Middle Variations

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Walk: Walk forward, backward, or sideways. Turn the hips.

Grapevine: The follow grapevines, while the lead turns to face her.

Hop: Hop while circling (closed), (like shag 2 left, 2 right, 1 left, 1 right) or (4 left, 4 right).

Slide: The follow hangs onto the lead and lifts her legs enough to slide sideways or to clear the ground. See aerials for more details about slides.

Tap: Anything you can think of.

Ballet: Hold various ballet positions while spinning.

Hip Hop: Moon walking, and various hip hop moves.

Ending Variations

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Stop: Ending can be a stop, blocking further rotation.

Swing Out: treat like a swing out (pull forward with the right arm and let go).

Lead Jump: The lead jumps around ahead of the follow.

Split Spins: Split into independent spins, where the outside motion of both remains the same.

Open Circles

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Open circles are usually slow, because the couple is further apart and they do not have a good grip. Ending open circles is easy, because the motion is slow.

Middle Variations

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Walk: Both lead and follow could walk naturally, or they could walk with fast steps in a slow, open circle.

Kick Ball Changes and Mule Kicks: The follow does kick ball changes, while lead does mule kicks. The follow often alternates moving her arm up and down. This form a very common in performances.

Suzy Q: Both lead and follow do Suzy Qs.

Moon Walk:

Grapevine: Both lead and follow do grapevines.

Alternate Kick Ball Changes and Triple Steps:

Tap: Anything you can thing of.

Guy Stand: The lead can stand in the middle, while the follow moves around him. (Open and Free)

Alternate Middle Variations

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The lead moves for 4 or 8 counts and then the follow moves for 4 or 8 counts, alternating. Or, they both do something for 2 or 4 counts, and then they both do something else for 2 or 4 counts, alternating.

Foot Sweeps: They may do foot sweeps together, or alternate. Alternate kicks or foot sweeps. (Or together) (Simplify)

Pikes: Partners may alternate or do pikes together.

Tango Swoops: Partners may alternate or do tango swoops together.

Swivels: (2 hands, 1 hand, alternate hands, whole body) (Fast, medium, slow)

Egg Beater: Right to right hand hold. When lead steps forward with his left foot, he pulls his right hand back, he touches the follow in the back with his left hand. When the lead steps forward with his right foor, he pushes his right hand forward, the follow touches him in the back with her left hand. Exit with a free spin.


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Arm: When circling, the lead and follow may wave their free arm up and down, or just up, or just down, or may keep it at their hip. Arm at hip, or arm alternates up and down, in open. (Down?)

Back and Forth in Open Circle

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In these variations, dancers do 4 or 8 counts in one direction and then 4 or 8 counts in the other direction.

Kick Throughs: This usually has double crossed hand lead.

Foot Sweeps: They can trade foot sweeps. They can do foot sweeps at the same time or alternate.

Kick Arounds: Face opposite each other, side-by-side, grab around waist. Then hop with kicks to the side. (Move)

Free Circles

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Run: Guy runs around girl, who spins in opposite direction.


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Direction: Dancers can spin clockwise or counter-clockwise.

Spin Center: When one dancer is in the center, he or she may spin on one leg, while the other turns them both. (This is usually in closed, to give support.)

Torso: When they are face to face, both walk forward or sideways. Then they are side by side, the lead walks forward and the follow walks backwards.

Speed: They may move at any speed, from very slow to very fast.