Lindy Hop started life as a partner dance in the Afro American communities in Harlem in the 1920s. The first "Lindy" move was invented by "Shorty" George Snowden and his partner Mattie Purnell during in a dance marathon in 1928, while dancing the breakaway - a popular charleston-derived dance of the time. As it evolved and became more popular, it drew in elements from a number of others dances, inluding Charleston, jazz, tap and some of the European partner dances of the time. It is danced to swing music - the music that it evolved to, and the rhythms of Lindy Hop are the rhythms of swing.
It went on to form the basis of many other dances, including Rock'n'Roll, Boogie Woogie, Ballroom Jive, West Coast Swing, Modern Jive.
Since then, it has continued to evolve, to spread, and to flourish, and today, Lindy Hop is the biggest and most popular it has ever been, with thriving scenes in most countries around the globe.
It is a Partner Dance
Lindy Hop is versatile! It started life as a partner dance though, and this is one of the main ways we dance it - but that isn't the whole story.
It is a Social Dance
While Lindy Hop does have a huge number of standard "moves", it is, at heart, extremely improvisational, with all dancers responding and dancing to the music, and inventing the dance on the spur of the moment.
It is a Solo Dance
Swing music is music for dancers. We love to dance to it with or without partners.
It is a Performance Dance
One of the most incredible dance sequences in movie history is a Lindy Hop routine, performed in 1941 by Whitey's Lindy Hoppers.
It is a Competition Dance
Lindy Hop competitions are held all over the world, including the Northeast of England.
It is a Group Dance
Lindy Hop is danced in many different ways and this includes group performances. The videos below show some group, solo and partner dances by Lindy Jazz members.
It is an Improvised Dance
Lindy Hop is hard to pigeon-hole or categorise. Lindyhoppers tend to be creative and playful, and will often combine parts of "standard" moves and routines with something improvised and spur-of-the-moment. Unlike some other dance systems, there is no centralised examination system - no standardisation of moves or levels of ability. At its core, Lindy Hop provides a vital toolkit for dancing and improvising to swing music.
It is a Choreophraphed Dance
It is a dance to suit everyone, a dance to suit every occasion. In this BBC ident clip for example, we see swing dancers moving from a choreographed opening to a relaxed improvised social dance.
Below is a performance by the teachers at our DJam event. It combines two well known routines - the California Routine and the Big Apple, with smaller semi-improvised sections for each couple to show off their own specialities.