Swangology FAQ’s by Topher         Updated 11/06/11

 

Q: What is Swango and Swangology?

A: Swangology is the systematic fusion of West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango Nuevo as a dance style. There can be different percentages of each depending on dancer preference and context, such as the style of music, but there should be a smooth blend between the styles. In other words, one should flow into the other without a noticeable shift in technique. There are common features that can be used as a bridge from one to the other, while there are unique properties that can be mixed, such as combining a saccada with an underarm turn or mixing a colgada and a whip. 

 

Q: Do you have to know Swing and Tango to learn Swango?

A: You can learn to incorporate a Tango move in Swing or visa versa, but to truly dance Swango, you have to be proficient in the basics of both dances. In Argentine Tango you should be comfortable moving through the embrace and maneuvering through walking, ochos, molinetes, and stops. It is best if you also know some intermediate movements like adornements, saccadas, and ganchos. In West Coast Swing you should be comfortable with dancing in a slot with triple steps, and basic techniques such as sendouts, side passes, turns, push breaks, and whips. It is best if you also understand how to play in the slot and anchor at the end of the slot. Of course, we teach all of these things in our classes.

 

Q: Where did Swango come from?

A: To my knowledge, Robert Roysten originally coined the term Swango for a stage show, but not many people have actually tried to systematically fuse the dances. There was some promotion of Swango in the West Coast community from dancers out of Seattle, but it never really took off as a fusion style. I hope to eventually change that. My journey towards Swango started back in 2005, when I was teaching Lindy Hop and Blues in Orlando. I started the first weekly Blues dance in Florida at Cafe Annies in downtown Orlando, and in those days since there was not a lot of Blues dance resources, I started looking to incorporate other dances into my Blues technique. I was already taking weekly West Coast Swing and Argentine Tango classes, so I naturally started experimenting with adding ochos to my blues steps. One thing led to another, and Swango Blues emerged. I had great fun developing that version with my partners Frances and Jessica, teaching local workshops for the Lindy, Blues, and West Coast community. You can see videos of us dancing and teaching Swango Blues on YouTube.

 

In Santa Cruz I have a new partner, Lynne Caryl, who has taught Argentine Tango for 15 years and also dances West Coast Swing, so we are focusing on fusing those two dances for Swangology. Since 2010 we have been teaching weekly classes at the Palomar Ballroom in downtown Santa Cruz, and have held workshops for the Tango and Swing community. Look for some new instructional videos within the next year.