Some Definitions of Swing Dance

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This short paper compares definitions of the term "swing dance" in encyclopedic articles on this topic. The three definitions discussed come from two different sources: Oxford Music Online, which provides online access to article's on swing dance by Claude Conyers from second edition of The Grove Dictionary of American Music . This article quotes Swing Dance Council of America's definition in a version from 1985 and its amendment from 1994. The third definition is derived from the Wikipedia article about swing dance ( in the version from 6 April 2011). Swing Dance Council of America According to Conyers, the Swing Dance Council of America approved the following definition for swing dance in 1985: Swing is an all-American couples rhythm dance consisting primarily of 6-beat and 8-beat patterns that cover either a circular or slotted area on the dance floor. Swing incorporates the use of underarm turns, side passes, push breaks, and whips—plus “4-beat” rhythm breaks, syncopations, and extensions of the same. This definition was amended in 1994 by the phrase: If you can identify the dance as something other than Swing, it cannot be considered part of the required percentage of Swing. The Swing Dance Council's definition attempts to identify common features which apply to all of the instances of swing dance. This is contrary to some popular and scholarly usages of the term (see below) which treat swing dance as an umbrella term for several distinct dances. In contrast to the unifying definition by the Swing Dance Council a set of dances could be characterized as a family resemblance (L. Wittgenstein), i.e. some (but not all) family members share common features in a way that connects all members to others. The verbs used in the Swing Dance Council's definition ("consists primarily", "incorporates") do not claim

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