The History of the Lindy Hop

Often referred to as the Jitterbug, the Lindy Hop was a style of dance born at the end of the 1920’s by New York’s Harlem community. It was developed as a street dance during the rising era of jazz and swing jazz. During this era, Harlem was a place filled with people of diverse cultures and ethnicities. All of which, would gather together for entertainment and dance.

The History of the Lindy Hop

The Lindy Hop is a style of dance that can be done solo or as a duo. Its basic moves are a combination of the six-to-eight time structure of European dances and the improvised movements of African dances. It’s more complex roots are a mix of several dance styles prominent of the era, such as: the Charleston, tap dancing, Foxtrot and some older styles like the Cakewalk, Texas Tommy, Black Bottom and Turkey Trot and more.

Thanks to acts performed in theatres and cabarets by famous dance troupes, the Lindy Hop continued to grow in popularity throughout the next 10 years. The most famous troupe was the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, of which Frankie Manning, Al Minns and Leon James were members.

When the Lindy Hop spread to the white community of America it was often referred to as the Jitterbug. The jitterbug was described as being a more ‘respectable’ and ‘wiser’ version of the Lindy Hop, as it removed the wild spontaneous aspects of the dance style. It was during this time that the “King of Swing”, Benny Goodman took to fame, as well as George “Shorty” Snowden who’s dance style was often compared to that of Frankie Manning’s as a way to judge the differences.

It wasn’t until World War II that the Lindy Hop became popular within Europe. As Jazz music was brought over with soldiers, so too was jazz dance. During this time, wherever there was Jazz there was soldiers doing the Lindy Hop.

Its renown began to fade away between the 50s through to the 80s, but reappeared once more in the late 80s thanks to its energetic movements and the fame of several swing and jazz bands of the time. Today, the Lindy Hop is a well know, hugely popular dance style that continues to be adored by dance communities across the globe, shared among people during social dancing and taught in vast quantities of dance schools all across the world.

Swing On In’s Gold Coast and Northern NSW dance schools offer Lindy Hop dance classes twice a week. We have three dance school locations around the Gold Coast and Northern NSW region for your convenience. Each evening includes five distinct dance classes. The cost is just $15 per person for the entire evening, and you can stay for as many classes and as much social dancing as you like.

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