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Side pass (dance move)

The side pass is an essential move for lindy hop and all swing dances. The girl (follow) starts on one side of the guy (lead) and moves to the other side, usually in 6 or 8 counts. There are many variations.

The key variations of the side pass are the Jitterbug and Hollywood side passes.

Table of contents
1 Jitterbug Side Pass
2 Hollywood Side Pass
3 Notes on the Side Pass
4 Stylings
5 Variations
6 See Also
7 To Do

Jitterbug Side Pass

The Jitterbug side pass begins with a rock step.


Count 1
Feet: He steps straight back onto his left foot.
Arms: Push away.
Count 2
Feet: He steps in place onto his right foot.
Arms: Pull back.
Counts 3 and 4
Feet: Triple step.
Arms: Pull through.
Counts 5 and 6: Sync Up
Feet: Triple step into place.


Count 1
Body: She is pushed back.
Feet: She steps straight back onto her right foot.
Count 2
Body: She is pulled forward.
Feet: She steps straight forward onto her left foot.
Counts 3 and 4
Body: She is pulled forward so she moves past the lead.
Feet: Triple step.
Counts 5 and 6: Sync Up
Body: She turns to face the lead, adjusts the connection, and prepares for the next move.
Feet: Triple step into place.

Hollywood Side Pass

The Hollywood side pass begins with a step step.


Count 1
Feet: Step straight back on the left foot.
Torso: The step moves the whole body back.
Count 2
Feet: Step left with the right foot, to move out of the slot.
Counts 3 and 4
Feet: Triple step.
Counts 5 and 6: Sync up
Feet: Triple step.
Body: He returns to the slot and adjusts for the next move.


Count 1
Arms: She is pulled forward, so she steps forward.
Feet: She steps forward onto her right foot.
Count 2
Feet: She steps forward onto her left foot.
Counts 3 and 4
Feet: Triple step.
Counts 5 and 6: Sync Up
Feet: Triple step.
Body: She turns to face the lead, adjusts distance, and prepares for the next move.

Notes on the Side Pass

Footwork: The footwork for both versions of the side pass is step, step, tri-ple step, tri-ple step.

One Lead: There is one lead on count 1. The pull with the left arm on count 1 matches the step back on count 1.


Stylings are simple variations that are independent of the partner. However stylings can conflict with other side pass variations.


Counts 1 and 2
Feet: Kick ball change.
Counts 3 and 4
Counts 5 and 6
Touch floor
Foot sweep:
Trade hands at end.

Counts 1 and 2
Kick Ball Change:
Counts 3 and 4
Counts 5 and 6
Touch floor
Turn away
Foot sweep:


Variations require cooperation between the lead and follow.

Standard Variations

These are similar to swing out variations.

Simple Left:

Simple Right:

Inner Turn:

Outer Turn:

Quick Stop:

Both Spin: Underarm pass for follow, underarm for lead. (She Goes-He Goes)

Two-Handed Tuck (Outer):

Apache Turn:

Free Turn: Like the apache turn, but don't grab the follow's hand with the lead's right hand. Just let her spin continue.

Other Variations

Barrel Roll: Rock, step, down, up and over. (as side pass and as parallel) (right to right or left to right grip). There are single, double, and triple rolls. There are different grips (left to right, right to right). Spin either inner or outer direction.

Split Barrel Roll:

Follow Spin:

Lead Spin: Side pass with guy spin at the same time. Or lead can do a turn at end.

Both Face Away:

Curls: Grab the follow's left shoulder with the lead's right hand. Then lead an outer turn. Often followed by points. (See Basic)

Open, Spin to Cuddle, Throw out: This starts right to right. The lead may begin facing the follow or facing away from the follow.

Mini Dip: This starts with a right hand to right hand grip. Rock, step, down and let go, step up and lead's left hand graps follow's right hand, pose and hold and snap fingers, hold, stomp off.

Simple Footwork: Step, step, step, step, step, step. This is for fast music, or simple rhythms.

Closed Position

Close: From open, pull to side and close.

Throw Out: From close, cuddle, or promenade. Simple, tuck (outer), inner. Double. (directions, spins) (like swing out from closed)

Miscellaneous Variations

Spin Timing: Spin early, middle, or late.

Length: 6 or 8 counts are common. Follows may add an extra step-step on 7 and 8 if necessary. This can be extended by any number of counts.

Fast: (4 counts)

Slow: (8 counts)

Spin and Pull Back: Under the leg is a variation. Spin, follow tucks, pull her back, kick leg over as she passes. (K+C) (T+E)

Start Variations

Syncopated: Both can start with a kick ball change and come in on 2. (Hollywood style)

Something: The lead's right to the follow's left. First go to cuddle or free spin. (Can turn overhead or wrap arm.) Many variations.

Cuddle: Open to spin to cuddle (4 counts), to throw out (4 counts) (like swing out variation).

Middle Variations

Extend Middle: They may pause, freeze, step backward and forward, walk together forward.

Slide: Inner turn, slide, throw out. Like a reverse with a slide.

End Variations

Extend End: They may pause or do spins.

End with Spin (Lead): (left, right) (overhead, free, apache) (1, 2, more) Do a side pass, with a late overhead spin, so the follow does 1+1/2 turns.

End with Spin (Follow): (left, right) (overhead, free, apache) (1, 2, more)

Other Variations

Cross to Lean: Pull across body, then do lean dip.

Simple: Side pass on left, right, start facing follow or away, turn or simple, lead turn early or late.

Lunge: Lunge is a 1/2 side pass to cuddle, with a lunge return.

Hip Block: Side pass with stomache or hip block. (WC type move) (to side?)

Feet and Legs: Move the follow with feet or legs.

Both Jump: Both jump up and touch the ground.

Sugar Tuck and Pull Back: This is a sugar tuck, but when the follows faces away, grab her hips, and pull her backwards. Kick over her if she ducks.

Other Details

Change Orientation: Over turn (3/4 turn) or under turn (1/4) turn. This is useful to find space on a social dance floor. This is useful in performance to present a specific angle to the audience or adjust to or from other moves.

Change Position: The follow may move, or the lead may move, or both may move (trade places). This has the effect of shifting position.

Mirror Image: Switch left and right.

Switch Roles: The girl may lead the guy.

Start Count: The move need not begin on any particular count. For example, they couple may hold for 4 counts, do a side pass for 6 counts, and then hold for 6 more counts, so the side pass starts on count 5.

Speed: Fast or slow.

See Also

Dance move - Basic - Sugar push - Side pass - Swing out - Circle - Groucho - Skip up - Aerial - Charleston - Jazz

Dance - Swing - Lindy hop - West coast swing - East coast swing

Lead and follow - Connection - Musicality

To Do

Like a reverse swing out with slide, from close.

On cuddle side pass, do outer spin.

Cross arm lead to a spin.

Over shoulder arm moves (from x to promenade).

Throw out and Close are variations of side passes. (from open to close, vice versa)