Lindy Hop is a vernacular partner dance that originated in the 1920s and 1930s within the African American community of Harlem, New York City. The best known of the family of swing dances that includes Balboa, Collegiate Shag and West Coast Swing, the Lindy Hop (along with American Rhythm Tap) evolved from other dances popular at the time such as the Charleston, Breakdown, Cakewalk and Texas Tommy. These dance crazes provided a framework for the development of new steps along with swing dance’s symbiotic partner, the jazz music of the Swing Era. Entering the mainstream in the 1930s, Lindy Hop remained popular throughout the early 1940s. During these decades, it spread across the US and into parts of Europe. When the USA entered World War II, GIs popularised a version of the dance known as Jitterbug, spreading their dance whereever they were stationed, even as far afield as Australia.
WW2 leeched the big bands of young musicians and this, along with rationing and various disputes within the fledgling music industry, led to the break up of the swing bands, eventually resulting in the demise of swing dancing. Smaller bands proliferated playing a different kind of music which served to usher in a new dance era primarily characterised by jive and rock & roll.
Lindy Hop was revived in the 1980s by groups of enthusiasts based in London, Sweden and the US, and there are now thriving swing dance communities in towns and cities around the world, as well as a vibrant global dance scene characterised by dance camps, weekenders and Lindy exchanges. Performance Lindy Hop and competitions have their place, but here at Opus One, we think the magic of Lindy Hop is as the improvised, lead and follow social dance.
Join us at Opus One on Wednesdays for fun and friendly and informative classes, then put your moves into practice as you swing out with friends and new partners and enjoy some of the best swing tunes from our bands and DJs.
The exact nature of ‘What is Lindy Hop’ has been under consideration and debated long after you should be dancing. Here is one such muse;