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Lindy Hop

Lindy hop is a social partner dance. Jazz, improvisation, freedom, drive, groove, diversity - it's all about Lindy hop. Originated in New York in the late 20’s it keeps thriving and evolving.

Lindy Hop dance

Lindy hop is one of the most popular social dances in the world. The number of people dancing it increases every year. The dance keeps thriving and evolving, taking in the elements of other styles and giving rise to new ones.

Lindy hop emerged as a mixture of several dance styles from various corners of the U.S. in the late 20’s in Harlem. That was the heyday of cultural life and the Savoy Ballroom was a bright star on its horizon. In a country as highly segregated as America, Savoy was admitting both white and black visitors allowing them to experience the joys of dancing together. It was a true magnet for dancers.

Between the 30’s and 40’s, Lindy hop reached the peak of its popularity. Benny Goodman’s legendary 1937 gig at the Paramount Theatre, New York, brought together over 3,000 swing lovers. They were so impressed with the fusion of music and dance that Lindy hop quickly gained fame in all big cities of the U.S.

The legend of the dance’s name is also very remarkable. It dates back to Charles Lindberg’s first transatlantic flight. Next day, American newspapers exploded with headlines, ’Lindy hops the Atlantic!’ The phrase was allegedly caught up by one of Lindy hop founders, George Snowden, who jokingly dubbed the style ‘Lindy hop’ in an interview shortly afterwards. The name stuck.

By the end of the 40’s, the popularity of Lindy Hop started to wane. It was replaced by boogie-woogie that borrowed a great deal from its predecessor, just like rock’n’roll had from jazz. In the 80’s, European enthusiasts rekindled interest in the dance. They contacted former Savoy stars and asked to teach them Lindy hop. The group founded a dance camp in Herräng, Sweden, that has grown into a major annual event for swing dancers from all over the world.

Today people dance Lindy hop everywhere jazz is played. To learn its basics, you don’t have to attend choreography schools for years - the incredible energy of the dance kicks in with the very first moves!

What music Lindy Hop is danced to?

So… What traditional music is used for this jolly and versatile dance, Lindy hop? That depends on the sophistication of the dancers and their mastery of related styles.

The thing is, Lindy hop is usually performed to jazz music of the swing epoch that encompasses a great number of iconic jazz musicians and big bands, such as Ella Fitzgerald, Chick Webb, Count Basie, Fletcher Henderson and many more.

Indeed, this music has a lot of peculiar features making the dance look even more expressive. So if you want to be an authentic dancer, your music library will mostly consist of jazz standards.

However, with the revival of swing music and emergence of other related genres, Lindy hoppers increasingly experiment and dance to non-standard music: blues, electro swing, R’n’B, funk etc. That makes Lindy hop one of the most universal dance styles in the world and explains its rocketing popularity.

Regarding the tempos, Lindy hop is performed both to slow and fast compositions. The most convenient tempo lies within the 100-230 BPM (beats per minute) range. But true dancers don’t need any limits, right?