Swing dancing was first developed along with the swing style of jazz music in the 1920s-1940s, and it soon evolved into many different types of dances. There is the Charleston, the Balboa, the Lindy Hop – many different varieties of swing dancing came in and out of popularity during the “swing era.” These days it is still a very popular past time, especially down in the south.
Jason Colacino and Katie Boyle have been swing dancing together for years, and already have a few national competition wins under their belts. While some people just swing dance for fun or to relax, they take it very seriously.
It takes a ton of practice to become the best in an entire country at anything, let alone a complicated dance style like this. But Jason and Katie have been practicing for what seems like forever and are definitely on the same page. Their styles mesh perfectly in harmony and clearly the judges of those high-profile competitions could see that as well.
While the Rolling Stones’ hit, “Honky Tonk Woman,” is not typically a swing dancing song, these are not your typical swing dancers! As you’ll see in the video below, Jason and Katie take dancing to the next level, unlike anything you have ever seen.
This particular style of dancing is called, “West Coast Swing.” It is a variation of generalized swing dancing, but with a few specific differences that set it apart. It has origins in the Lindy Hop and is always danced with a partner. It is the official state dance of California as well.
It is identified by how elastic the movements are, with the two dancers rhythmically pushing and pulling at each other. The dance has space for each dancer to improvise during the performance, and both Jason and Katie take advantage of it. Very few dances allow for this type of improvisation, which is part of what makes west coast swing so popular across the country.
For this particular dance, they combined traditional elements of west coast swing with a more southern “honky tonk” flair. It resulted in a mesmerizing display of talent, agility, and creativity. It’s easy to see how these two have won so many championships.
By the end, the crowd was going wild and cheered for them to dance even more. But it was time for the judges to deliberate, and they needed some time. There was another very talented dance act that night, but Jason and Katie knew that they gave it their all. They hoped the judges would see their passion through the dance and reward them.
Soon they were announced as the winners and the couldn’t have been happier. Dances like this take months of training and practice to get perfect, and winning makes all that effort worthwhile. They made sure to congratulate the second-place dancers as well in a show of good sportsmanship.
When this video went viral, it earned Jason and Katie a ton of adoring fans. Sadly Jason passed away not long after in August of 2009, at the young age of 31 years old. Katie is still dancing, but it will never be the same without her long-time partner.