NW Folklife Presentation

Swing Criollo (Tico Swing)

The National Social Dance of Costa Rica

Somewhere in the past the Costa Ricans took the American Swing and combined it with the Columbian Cumbia beat to create this wonderful lively latin dance known as "Swing Criollo" or "Tico Swing".

It was said to have originated in the Costa Rican prisons circa 70's-80's, gavitated to the red light district, and ending up as a nation social dance.

6-count patterns akin to the 6-count Lindy, the Swing Rock-Step-Kick-Kick, and the Zydeco handshake or slap on the "one" beat.

Swing Criollo is danced in many variations and locations, from schools, to bars, as a partner dance with one or more Follows, as an aerobic class, or as a performance.

The "Cumbia" beat pervades all Swing Criollo music and generally is performed with a rhythym instrument called a "Guiro".
The Cumbia beat can vary in intensity and is very adaptable to layer on top of American Pop, Rock, and Country tunes. It's infectious bounce cannot be avoided. It is also present at a more subtle level in many tradional Costa Rica tunes to which Swing Criollo is also danced.

Link to Sergio Sarmiento's Website in Costa Rica with a ton of Swing Criollo Resources

At the nightclub

With 2 Follows

Children Performance Team

At the County Fair (every DJ has a slew of Cumbia songs)

Sergion Sarmiento demonstrates the basic step. Follow's step is mirrored.

I paid for a beginner lesson at Merecumbe San Pedro and was allowed to videotape all the moves I learned.

There are many many American songs modified with a Cumbia loop.

No leads? Easy to dance Swing Criollo with any friend.

Rough video of circle jam ala Swing era.

Adult Performance Team