Monday, January 04, 2010

Aspirational lindy hop videos

As I blogged earlier, the Swedes are nuts for swing dancing - boogie woogie, lindy hop etc. There's a whole series of Swedish dance performances on Youtube like the one above.

I considered learning a bunch of different dance styles before settling on the lindy. I really like Spanish dance music and considered Latin forms like the tango - but the women always seem to wear high heels in those styles, which not only is uncomfortable for dancing, but not fair - the men don't have to wear uncomfortable shoes.

That's why I settled on swing - the women tend to wear comfy shoes, even sneakers. And I decided to go for the lindy hop because it looks like a great work out, and lots of fun, with tricks and all - but not too dangerous. And it seems very egalitarian - both women and men do tricks - flips and lifts and jumps. Just watch those Swedes go!

But as always with a classic American art form, you haven't seen it done right until you've seen Black Americans do it.

The lindy hop, according to Wikipedia:
...was born in black communities in Harlem, New York in the United States from about 1927 into the early 1930s from four possible sources: the breakaway, the Charleston, the Texas Tommy, and the hop.[1]

According to Ethel Williams, who helped popularize the Texas Tommy in New York in 1913, the Texas Tommy "was like the Lindy", and the basic steps were followed by a breakaway identical to that found in the Lindy. Savoy dancer "Shorty" George Snowden stated that, "We used to call the basic step the Hop long before Lindbergh did his hop across the Atlantic. It had been around a long time and some people began to call it the Lindbergh Hop after 1927, although it didn't last. Then, during the marathon at Manhattan Casino, I got tired of the same old steps and cut loose with a breakaway..." [1] Fox Movietone News covered the marathon and took a close-up of Shorty's feet. When asked "What are you doing with your feet," Shorty replied, "The Lindy". The date was June 17, 1928.