Monday, March 21, 2011

Modern Swing Fashion

Back in the late 90s when I started swing dancing, vintage style was all the rage - high-waisted pants, gabardine skirts, the aforementioned long-sleeve wasn't enough to dance awesome, you also had to look the part.

Then the popularity of the vintage clothes waned - they're expensive, fragile, and it's hard to make or buy decent repros. Much to the chagrin of club promoters and brides-to-be, jeans and t-shirts were common at even the fanciest events and biggest competitions.

The last couple of years I've seen a real upswing (hehheh - no pun intended) in swing fashions. I chalk this up to 2 causes: among instructors there's a new emphasis on performing choreographed routines, so costuming is being considered more, and the emerging Balboa dance culture prides itself on being Refined instead of Raw. I'm loving it - what you wear has a huge impact on how you move, so dressing the part can actually make you a better dancer!

A couple weeks ago we went to the Saturday night portion of Inspiration Weekend and saw the 30-Second Showcase. This is a competition designed for non-professionals to get their feet wet with choreographing and performing a routine - the dancing was great, but I was really impressed with some of the outfits! So many competitors managed to put together looks that were coordinated without being cheesy, using modern clothes that are dance friendly. I hope to see more of this! :)

All photos used with permission. To see more, please visit
Celina Avila and Jason Le

Morgan Day and Emily Wigger

Michael Seibert and Virginia Zachary

Jack Chen and Brittany Calavitta

 Michael Seibert and Virginia Zachary


  1. Oh these are better outfits than I have seen on the swing dancers at my school, who both wear what look like tube tops worn as skirts!


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