What is Lindy Hop?

What is Lindy Hop?

Lindy Hop is a partner dance that originated in Harlem, New York, in the 1920s and 1930s, which was danced to swing music. It is an African-American jazz dance that evolved from several earlier dances, notably the Charleston. It gained world-wide recognition in the late 1930s after being featured in several well-known Hollywood films.

Check out this You-Tube video to see classic Lindy Hop taken from the film Hellzapoppin (1941) (nb: if you don’t see embedded videos you need to make sure that your browser is up-to-date).

It was the American soldiers who brought Lindy Hop to Britain in the early 1940s where the dance was more commonly known as the ‘Jitterbug’;  it was an instant hit.  Lindy Hop is the grandfather of all jive dances, including Rock ‘n’ Roll and Modern Jive.

Partner dancing declined from the 1960s, as people twisted and mash-potatoed their way around the dance floor.  However, Lindy Hop was reborn in the late 1980’s and has grown enormously since then.

Today there are just as many people dancing the Lindy Hop as there were in its heyday in the 1930s and other Swing Dances like Shag, and Balboa as well as ’20s Charleston have all become popular.

However, instead of all the dancers being in based in New York, the dance is now world-wide with everyone from Sweden to Singapore getting their swing on!

How are us young’uns doing? Check out this footage!

For more on the history of Lindy Hop, check out the following links:

History of Lindy Hop on Wikipedia

Lindy Hop History at The Lindy Circle

Archives of Early Lindy Hop

Swing Music

Lindy is traditionally danced to swing music. If you’re looking to become acquainted with some wonderful tunes, check out the classic big band sounds of Duke Ellington, Cab Calloway, Count Basie, Chick Webb, Bennie Goodman, Artie Shaw or Tommy Dorsey. Also, listen to some of the great singers of the day – Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra and Billy Holiday – for a solid beginning.  There are also a slew of new bands playing classic swing and swing-inspired sounds. Electroswing is also making inroads into the Lindy/Balboa scenes. You will certainly run into a few of them as you go out social dancing!