“Didn’t You Say This Was a Swing Dance?”

While talking to people around town yesterday about our upcoming Southside Stomp a non-dancer looked at our flyer and I watched his expression change from interest to confusion as he remarked,

“The flyer looks really cool, but didn’t you say it was a SWING dance? Will there be any pretty women there? Particularly any ones under the age of 60?”

Clearly his mental picture of lindy hop was something akin this:

So to help dispel any sense of confusion, here is a quick introduction to Lindy Hop.

Lindy Hop is an energetic and unabashedly joyful Afro-Euro-American partnered swing dance that became popular in urban dance halls like NY City’s famed Savoy Ballroom during the 1930’s.

In addition to social dancing, some dancers, like Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, also appeared in movies of the day. Here’s a famous dance scene from Hellzapoppin’

What does Lindy Hop look like today?  

Sometimes it looks like the International Lindy Hop Championships held each year in DC:

Other times it looks like this wonderful routine choreographed and performed by dancers Juan Villafane and Sharon Davis:

No matter where you travel in the world, sometimes it can look like The Shim Sham, a choreographed line dance made popular by lindy hop legend Frankie Manning (my apology for the extra step required to link the video with audio)

Sometimes Lindy Hop can be as large as the feeling shared by several thousand dancers in the room at the same time:

Other times it can be as small and subtle as a look shared between two dancers.

I’d like to close with a quote that may sound corny to those who haven’t yet found the joy of Lindy Hop, but I hope that one day, this will bring as much of a smile to your face as it does to mine…

“When you are dancing with your partner, for that two and a half minutes, you are in love with each other. You’re corresponding with each other by the moves that you make. It’s a love affair, between you and your partner and the music. You feel the music, you feel your partner, she feels you and she feels the music. So there the three of you are together. You’ve got a triangle, you know. Which one do you love best?”

-Frankie Manning


2 Responses to ““Didn’t You Say This Was a Swing Dance?””

  1. I am excited about this night, but I admit I saw the flier several times and didn’t realize it was for a swing dance.

    For those of us who are newcomers, what time should we arrive? Can we watch the intermediate/advanced lessons while we wait to take beginner lessons?

    • Our beginner lesson starts at 7:30 but you’re welcome to arrive a bit early and get a sneak peak at the intermediate lesson to see what you’ll be doing in no time at all! Thanks for posting! We look forward to dancing with you.

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