Lindy Hop Dance Classes
In the last 90 years the Lindy Hop has become the first form of swing as we know it today (the Great Grandfather of all Swing dances) and along with the Charleston was the main dance of the 1920's. The Charleston mixed in with the Lindy Hop, as well as other prior forms of dance such as the Texas Tommy, Turkey Trot, Apache Dance, Black Bottom, The Shimmy, The Strut, Cakewalk, The Frisco, Foxtrot, Tap and more. These dances were known as "Jazz Dances." Lindy Hop was the first form of swing "White America" had seen and was about to fall in love.
The first generation of Lindy Hop is popularly associated with dancers such as "Shorty" George Snowden, his partner Big Bea, and Leroy Stretch Jones and Little Bea. "Shorty" George and Big Bea regularly won contests at the Savoy Ballroom. Their dancing accentuated the difference in size with Big Bea towering over Shorty. These dancers specialized in so-called floor steps.
Savoy dancer "Shorty" George Snowden was to re-name the 'break-a-way' the "Lindy Hop or Lindbergh hop" after the famous pilot "Charles Augustus Lindbergh" (Lindbergh made his thirty-three hour flight across the Atlantic Ocean to France successfully on May 20, 1927.)
Frankie Manning was part of a new generation of Lindy Hoppers, and is the most celebrated Lindy Hopper in history. During a dance contest in 1935, Manning and his partner Frieda Washington performed the first air step (often referred to as an aerial) in a swing dance competition against George "Shorty" Snowden and his partner Big Bea, at the Savoy Ballroom. In 1935, Herbert White organized the top Savoy Ballroom Lindy Hop dancers into a professional performance group that was eventually named Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Manning created the troupe's first ensemble Lindy Hop routines and functioned as the group's de facto choreographer, although without that title. Once the swing dance and Lindy Hop revival took hold during the late 1980s, Manning taught Lindy Hop to eager devotees around the world.
Dean Collins was to bring Savoy Style Lindy, a smoother and slower form to Los Angeles in the early 1930's which gave birth to today's modern West Coast swing, previously known as "The Whip."
When Benny Goodman became the "King of Swing," the Lindy Hop would become known as the "Jitterbug." The term Jitterbug would eventually be applied to all styles of swing over the years and the term Lindy Hop would almost be forgotten about as the term Jitterbug took the reigns.
In 1944, with the United States' continuing involvement in World War II, a 30 per cent federal excise tax was levied against "dancing" night clubs. Although the tax was later reduced to 20 per cent.
World War II facilitated the spread of jitterbug across the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. British Samoans were doing a "Seabee version" of the jitterbug by January 1944. Across the Atlantic in preparation for D-Day, there were nearly 2 million American troops stationed throughout Britain in May 1944. Ballrooms that had been closed because of lack of business opened their doors. Working class girls who had never danced before made up a large part of the attendees, along with American soldiers and sailors. By November 1945 after the departure of the American troops following D-Day, English couples were being warned not to continue doing energetic "rude American dancing." Time Magazine reported that American troops stationed in France in 1945 jitterbugged, and by 1946, jitterbug had become a craze in England. It was already a competition dance in Australia.
Jitterbug dancing was also done to early rock and roll. Rockabilly musician Janis Martin equated jitterbug with rock and roll dancing in her April 1956 song "Drugstore Rock 'n' Roll".
As time progressed on, many factors would come into play to change the look and feel of the original Lindy. Music being the main factor of change as it seemed every ten years the music changed. i.e.: Ragtime to Jazz to Big Band to Big Band Swing to Rock and Roll to Bop to Motown to Soul to Funk etcetera and many secondary styles of music surfacing as well such as Latin music, Psychedelic, Folk Music, Blues, Rhythm and Blues, Rock a Billy, Country Western, Beach Music etcetera.
Revived in the 1980s by American, Swedish, and British dancers, the Lindy Hop is now represented by dancers in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
Many folks ask what style of swing/Jitterbug is best, West Coast, East Coast, Whip, Push, Lindy, Shag etc. However, there is no best style. The best style would depend on what type of music you are dancing to at the time, the theme of the dance being held, the speed in which the music is played, and the dance knowledge of you and your partner. So enjoy them all and mainly smile, laugh and have fun.