The Whip is a sexy Swing partner dance that originated right here in the heart of Texas. The Whip is quite similar to the national dance known as the West Coast Swing. This is no surprise since basically the Whip and the West Coast Swing are long-lost brothers, born in California, but separated at birth.
The Texas Whip is basically an offshoot of the West Coast Swing. The Whip traces its roots to Texas-born GI's who returned home from California after the long struggle of World War II. They brought home with them an interesting dance they had learned out in California during the war. However once they mixed the California dance with Texas blues and Texas women, the dance changed dramatically (for the better, of course!)
After the war, the Whip was spawned in the dives, bars, western joints, and honky-tonks that surrounded the Texas oil fields and refineries back in the late 40's and early 50's.
Back in those days you had dark, smoky lounges with plenty of cheap beer and a rough crowd looking to let off steam after a hard days work. The jukebox played a steady stream of Texas Blues with a raw, angry sound and rhythms best described as Stripper music.
Legend has it the Whip started as a "pickup" dance that fit the suggestive "get down & dirty" lyrics like tight pants clinging to a well curved woman. The man would lean against the bar drinking a beer or smoking a cigarette with one hand while a woman would grab his other hand for balance. Inspired by the music, she would start to roll her hips, then glide back and forth to the beat. As she strutted her stuff, the man would act cool and pretend to ignore the performance, but no doubt the corner of his eye tracked her movements like a hawk measuring its prey!
Whip, spelled as it is with the word "hip" in it, has always emphasized hip motion as part of its Basic. West Coast Swing traditionally has favored more emphasis on flashy footwork. For 50 years, the two dances stayed separate. Modern technology has changed all that. The Internet, the availability of dance videotapes, national dance magazines, and the ease of travel (allowing teachers and students to overcome the handicap of distance) have brought about the change.
Here in the 90's the barriers that separated the two dances for 50 years are fading faster than you can say "Berlin Wall". West Coast Swing dancers see the awesome hip roll of the Whip and decide on the spot they gotta have some of that. The Whip dancers see those flying, prancing, dancing feet of the WC Swingers and want a piece of that action too.
Today you don't have to choose. The modern trend is to merge the two dances together and constantly interweave from one style to the other. The long-lost dances have been reunited. You can have them both!
The BAWDC would like to thank Rick Archer, SSQQ Dance Studio, for his permission to reprint this fascinating Whip history and description. The story continues at: