What is Swing Dance?

 

People often group the names 'Swing dance' and 'Lindy Hop' together and think they are the same but Lindy Hop is actually just one type of Swing dance.

 

Several styles of dance are under the Swing umbrella; Balboa, Solo Jazz/Charleston, Collegiate Shag, Lindy Hop and Tap are a few examples of Swing Dance and although the most popular style is Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag is rapidly making a name for itself across the globe and especially here in Brighton.

 

As with all of Jazz, Lindy Hop is an African American dance born out of the late 1920's and is danced to Swing music. Lindy Hop is an incredible way to express ourselves on the dance floor, and was born out of an escape for African Americans to express themselves in an otherwise majorly suppressed society. It's important for us to both recognise this, be respectful but also to  celebrate Lindy Hop almost 100 years since it's inception!

Danced originally by greats such as Shorty George and Twistmouth George, Lindy Hop began its life in the late 1920's at the Savoy Ballroom, Harlem, NY. It was created and developed by African Americans to make it what it is today with people dancing Lindy Hop in every corner of the earth.

 

Soon after its creation, Frankie Manning got his hands on it and well, the rest is history.

Frankie, for many of us, is thought of as the originator of Lindy Hop as we know it and he can be seen dancing in many films and videos including the film, Hellzapoppin, featuring Whiteys Lindy Hoppers (1941).

Contrary to common belief, Lindy Hop never died out and has been danced in New York for almost 100 years now and in Europe the dance has been growing since the 1980s!

With many festivals throughout Europe, JATS tries to learn from other bigger events in Europe as well as set a good example for our home scene in Brighton and the south east of England.