West Coast Swing gains popularity among dancing fans in Indianapolis

Enthusiasts tout physical, mental benefits

INDIANAPOLIS - It's an addictive dance that has its roots on the West Coast, but a popular swing style is quickly winning over followers in Indianapolis.

West Coast Swing is a dance that allows both partners to improvise steps while dancing together, making for an easy, relaxed style that can be done to almost any type of music.

"It really is versatile. I mean, you can do anything from top 40 on the radio, you can do blues, anything to lyrical," said dance instructor Nelson Clarke. "It's very versatile, so you can basically do it in any club."   

With the popularity of "Dancing with the Stars," interest in different dance styles has swelled, but West Coast Swing is a standout because of its flexibility.

"Ballroom is very much patterns. West Coast Swing, what's really made it the up and coming dance is it's a real conversation," said instructor Catherine Jones. "Every dance is so different and unique."

Melissa Muha loves West Coast Swing so much, she said it's the reason she moved to Indianapolis.

"Indianapolis, of all the places I visited, had a wealth of both West Coast Swing and ballroom dancing and salsa and many other things, but the West Coast is what really drew me here," she said.

No matter what the dance, enthusiasts recommend hitting the floor for a great physical and mental workout.

"My goodness, it's a wonderful cardiovascular workout. It works and tones every area of your body, from your core to your feet to your arms," Muha said. "It's also excellent for your mental health, your brain function, because remembering patterns and working on the dance floor works parts of your brain that helps you ward of Alzheimer's, dementia."

West Coast Swing is so big in Indianapolis that dancers say those interested can find a place to take part nearly every weekend. More information can be found at indyswingbash.com and jasonandsophy.com .

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