lindyhop

LindyHop is the root of all swing dances and began in Harlem NYC during the jazz age and is mostly associated with the Savoy Ballroom. The dance style is irreverent and fun but nontheless spectacular to watch with fast turns, kicks, jumps, pecks and flailing hands - LindyHop is the most filmed Swing Dance in the movies from the 1920s, 30s & 40s to today...

Nevertheless, Lindyhop has its own roots - as a African American interpretation of European partner dance blended with African rythms, early pre-Swing-era dances such as the 'Texas Tommy', 'Breakaway' and 'Charleston' all have their influences.

George 'Shorty' Snowden and partner 'Big' Bea are commonly associated with the first generation of Lindy Hoppers, second generation dancers such as Frankie Manning, Al Minns and Norma Miller came along in the early 1930's and it was in this era of Swing that Frankie and partner Freida Washington introduced the first Air Step that Lindy is so closely associated with to this day.

After the 1950's Swing dancing fell into something of a lull, but the early 1990's saw a resurgence in interest as dancers such as Steven Mitchell, Sylvia Sykes and Erin Stevens came to the fore at the same time as dynamic new bands such as Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Jellyroll, Squirrel Nut Zippers and Cherry Poppin Daddies (to name just a few) rediscovered Swing rythms.

In the UK, the Jive Aces, Blue Harlem and Ray Gelato deserve special mention as bands who have kept the Swing light burning bright

Of course Swing hadn't died, but it had gone underground. These new-age Swing dancers sought out Frankie Manning, Al Minns and Norma Miller and they came back into the fore of the Swing Dance scene as teachers of 'authentic Lindy Hop'.

Since then, Lindyhop has been featured on innumberable Movies and Pop Videos, such as 'The Mask', 'Swingers', Marilyn Mansons 'Mobscene', Aardvaark Productions 'Chicken Run', the remix of Elvis' 'A Little Less Conversation', Christine Aguilera's 'Candy Man', Spike Lee's 'Malcolm X', 'Swing' starring Lisa Stansfield. Many of these choreographed by talented UK Swing Dancers.

LindyHop is danced throughout the world from America to Scandanavia to Europe (that includes the UK). Huge annual events are held such as Swedens Herrang Dance Camp & the UKs Jumping At The Woodside in Gloucester.

Frankie Manning, a much revered figure, was there at the Savoy at the beginning, appeared in numerous 'soundies' and world tours back in the 1930's & 40's and is still teaching workshops at these big events today at well over 90 years old...

You may know Lindyhop by its alias of Jitterbug or the 50's British interpretation, Jive

This is what wikipedia says about LindyHop

Savoy Style LindyHop

Savoy Style Lindy is the most common international Swing Dance, its rotational style - in real terms, though its most defining characteristic is a pronounced lean forwards, which really owes more to Frankie Manning than a general Savoy Ballroom style.

Savoy Style developed over many years oweing much to early dancers such as 'Shorty Snowden', 'Al Minns', 'Frankie Manning', 'Norma Miller' and 'Leon James'. As members of the legendary 'Whiteys LindyHoppers' (one of many names the dancers went by) these then young dancers performed in countless Movies, Stage Shows and competitions popularising a dance style (already huge in the African American communitys) to a wider audience.

Perhaps in many ways filming had a similar effect to the early BBC radio - in that the media coverage of Savoy Lindy enabled a standard style to be developed that could be exported across the USA and later the world. Until then distinct Swing Dance variations were as common as regional accents between cities and even ballrooms of the era.

This is what wikipedia says about Savoy Style LindyHop

Hollywood style AKA Smooth-Style Lindyhop

Inspired by Dean Collins & Jewel McGowan and can be seen in many 1940's films & clips. It began in 1930's / 40's from LindyHop & re-gathered momentum in the 1980's/1990's. This is a "slotted dance" with 6 / 8 Beat patterns, very stylised & good for crowded dance floors.

Dean Collins was one of many dancers in New Yorks Savoy Ballroom like Frankie Manning, Collins had his own style, favouring a counter-balanced leaning away from your partner. It sounds like a small thing, but this funadmentally changes the look of the dance and many of the tension and frame fundamentals.

Having won the 'Dancer Of The Year' award in 1935, Collins moved to LA the following year to work as a Janitor (no doubt to seek his fortune in Hollywood) and started his own Swing Dance classes soon after.

Within a couple of years had his first film role; over the coming years, Collins choreographed and danced in around 40 such movies.
Collins himself was anti-dance styles, seeing Savoy Style and Hollywood Style as being two sides of the same coin.

This is what wikipedia says about Hollywood Style


Some nice clips of Lindy Hop

Smooth LindyHop
Fast LindyHop
LindyHop Aerials

 

 

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