The compact footwork and body connection of the West Coast Swing help to develop a strong sense of lead and follow.
In the 1940's with the wild abandonment of the Jitterbug being banned from dance halls due to too many injuries, Arthur Murray developed and documented several Swing steps that he later called 'Sophisticated Swing'. This was the beginning of what is now called West Coast Swing.
Arthur Murray is credited with the first codifications of West Coast Swing and used such names as 'Under Arm Pass', 'The Whip' and 'The Sugar Push' to describe the patterns. The ladies taking 'two walking steps forward' towards the man at the beginning of each pattern was standardised in his studios.
In 1989 California selected the West Coast Swing as its state dance.
West Coast Swing can be danced to almost any music written in 4/4 time, from the blues to disco, jazz, pop, country or big band. It's considered a 'living dance' in that it is constantly evolving, growing and changing to the music styles currently in vogue.
The West Coast Swing differs from other Swing dances because of its distinctive 'dancing in a slot' approach, where the lady's movement takes her towards the man, not away, such as in a Rock Step.