The mother of all swing dances is known as the Lindy Hop. Signature moves include the lindy circle, the lindy turn, the swing out, the lindy charleston and the lady’s twist. Just as jazz music features call and response within a band, so lindy is a creative interaction between two people — and the music!
The apocryphal tale goes that Lindy Hop was named around 1927 or 1928 after Charles Lindbergh’s daring, first-ever solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927. America was gripped. At the end of a dance marathon, a reporter asked George “Shorty” Snowden what the name of the crazy dance he was doing was, to which Shorty replied “Lindy Hop.” Just as America was a melting pot of cultures and nationalities, so lindy hop had mutated over time, absorbing a range of contemporary social dances – foxtrot, cakewalk, texas tommy, black bottom, charleston , the collegiate and tap. Who knows, maybe there’s some Irish in there too!
Lindy Hop is a fusion of African social dance culture and the formal dance structures of European social dance. Humour and individuality lie at its heart – the blacks were imitating and mocking what they perceived as the formality of the European dances. The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem – the Home of Happy Feet – became the king of swing, and a playground for blacks and whites at a time when most ballrooms were racially segregated. Over 70,000 people a year danced there. Lindy Hop was danced throughout America, with different cities and personalities developing their own styles. The GIs brought the dance over to Europe during the second world war, and it became known as the jitterbug.
The term “swing” is now used as a catch-all for a range of dances – lindy hop, jitterbug, balboa, east and west coast swing, boogie woogie… It also inspired jive, rock n roll etc; the dancers adapting to new styles of music.
Lindy Hop is great fun, so take to the floor and SWING OUT!
For budding Dublin dancers the best spot in town to learn your basic steps Charleston, Swing and Jitterbug is Dublindy. There are beginners classes on Monday and Wednesday nights and they are incredibly informal and friendly.
For more information on Dublindy please check out their site.