In a time of racial segregation in the USA, swing dance succeeded in bringing together human beings around the love of music and dance together, whatever your colour of skin was. The origins of Lindy hop are various and hard to trace exactly, but it is reasonable to think that african dance influences coming from slaves circle ritual, coupled with the european ballroom dancing traditions combined harmoniously to create a very joyous family of dances : the swing dances! At the beginning of the 20th century, there were popular dances that were practiced on ragtime music, and those were: Foxtrot, le Two-step, le One-step and then were added the Texas-Tommy, the Turkey Trot, the Cake Walk, the Charleston and then gradually in parallel with the creation and evolution of Jazz music from ragtime and blues, a new style of dance was created : Lindy Hop !
The Lindy Hop (or Jitterbug) is a street dance that was developed in the black community of Harlem (New York) at the end of the 1920’s. Swing music and Lindy Hop dance evolved in ballrooms like the famous Savoy in Harlem, which opened in 1926. Based on improvisation, Lindy Hop is a couple dance which has a large diversity of steps, rhythm and style. The name ‘’Lindy Hop’’ was apparently attributed by Shorty George Snowden, explaining that dancers were flying through the dance floor just like Lindy (nickname for Charles Lindbergh) ‘’hopped’’ the Atlantic, referring to Mr Lindbergh legendary solo-flight from New York to Paris on his plane Spirit of St-Louis in 1927. Lindy Hop can be recognized easily by its high energy, and can in some occasions include air steps! We say that dancers look like they are flying because sometimes they extend their bodies by kicking far back and extending their arms forward. The Savoy was the ‘Home of happy feet’ and hosted the best orchestras at the time: Bennie Goodman, Count Basie… but the home band was Chick Webb's, accompanied by the fantastic Ella Fitzgerald. The Savoy could host several thousands of dancers at once, never discriminating with ethnicity, as a time where it was common to do so. The Savoy closed in July 1958, after 32 years of bringing happiness in the Harlem spirits.