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The History of West Coast Swing
A brief history of the West Coast Swing which I wrote for a ballroom dance class in college
The West Coast Swing began to be birthed in 1930's with the arrival of Dean Collins in Hollywood, to get into the movie business. Dean Collins learned to dance the Lindy in the Savoy Ballroom, and brought this style of dancing with him, and to the movies, when he went out west. People, who had not seen Collins' style of dancing and, who saw that he was winning competitions, began clamoring to learn it; and not long afterwards he began teaching his style of swing. 
Dean Collins "started doing many Hollywood movies in the 1940s and 1950s", and "the necessity of adapting 'Swing' to the Hollywood movie set was a factor in the development of West Coast Swing." To make the dancers' faces more visible to the camera the circular motion of Lindy Hop was replaced by a straight motion in an area called a "slot." The popularity of West Coast was helped because of the prolific amount of work done by Dean Collins. "Between 1941 and 1960, Collins danced in, or helped choreograph over 100 movies which provided at least a 30 second clip of some of the best [California dancers]"
In the 1940's one of Arthur Murray's instructors, Laure Haile, cataloged what she saw being danced in California. She called this style "Western Swing" and it was taught under this name by Arthur Murray studios. Arthur Murray also can be "credited with the first codifications of West Coast Swing." The name was changed to "West Coast Swing" at the request of Skippy Blair who wanted to avoid the association with country and western dancing.
Skippy Blair is an extremely influential teacher of West Coast Swing, who taught at Arthur Murray's studios in the '50s and still teaches top notch dancers today. The music of the later eras also had a profound impact upon West Coast Swing with "disco and hustle dance movements and stylings of the 1970's heavily influenced the development of west coast swing." This eclectic mix of musical influences is evident today, in that West Coast Swing is danced to the widest variety of music of all the swing dances. This is because it is "not music dependent" and "can be danced to any 4/4 time music." 
This constant evolution and change, the adaptability of the dance is a great draw to many people, and one of the main reasons why this dance has endured for so long.