*Quoted from Wikipedia
Swing era (1920s–1940s)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..." 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.
The first generation of Lindy Hop is popularly associated with dancers such as "Shorty" George Snowden, his partner Big Bea, and Leroy Stretch Jones and Little Bea. "Shorty" George and Big Bea regularly won contests at the Savoy Ballroom. Their dancing accentuated the difference in size with Big Bea towering over Shorty. These dancers specialized in so-called floor steps.
As white people began going to Harlem to watch black dancers, according to Langston Hughes: "The lindy-hoppers at the Savoy even began to practice acrobatic routines, and to do absurd things for the entertainment of the whites, that probably never would have entered their heads to attempt for their own effortless amusement. Some of the lindy-hoppers had cards printed with their names on them and became dance professors teaching the tourists. Then Harlem nights became show nights for the Nordics."
Charles Buchanan, manager of the Savoy, paid dancers such as Shorty Snowden to "perform" for his clientele. According to Snowden, "When he finally offered to pay us, we went up and had a ball. All we wanted to do was dance anyway."
When "Air steps" or "aerials" such as the Hip to Hip, Side Flip, and Over the Back (the names describe the motion of the woman in the air) began to appear in 1936, the old guard of dancers such as Leon James, Leroy Jones, and Shorty Snowden disapproved of the new moves.
Younger dancers fresh out of high school: Al Minns, Joe Daniels, Russell WIlliams, and Pepsi Bethel worked out the Back Flip, Over the head, and 'the Snatch.
Frankie Manning was part of a new generation of Lindy Hoppers, and is the most celebrated Lindy Hopper in history. Al Minns and Pepsi Bethel, Leon James, and Norma Miller are also featured prominently in contemporary histories of Lindy Hop. Some sources credit Frankie Manning, working with his partner Freida Washington, for inventing the ground-breaking 'Air Step' or 'aerial' in 1935. One source credits Al Minns and Pepsi Bethel as among those who refined the air step. An Air Step is a dance move in which at least one of the partners' two feet leave the ground in a dramatic, acrobatic style. Most importantly, it is done in time with the music. Air steps are now widely associated with the characterization of lindy hop, despite being generally reserved for competition or performance dancing, and not generally being executed on any social dance floor.
Lindy Hop entered mainstream American culture in the 1930s, gaining popularity through multiple sources. Dance troupes, including the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers (also known as the Harlem Congaroos), Hot Chocolates and Big Apple Dancers exhibited the Lindy Hop. Hollywood films, such as Hellzapoppin' and A Day at the Races began featuring the Lindy Hop in dance sequences. Dance studios such as those of Arthur Murray and Irene and Vernon Castle began teaching Lindy Hop. Lindy Hop's movement to the west coast of the United States is popularly associated with Dean Collins, who brought Lindy Hop to Los Angeles after learning it at the Savoy Ballroom in New York.
Lindy Hop moved off-shore in the 1930s and 40s, again in films and news reels, but also with American troops stationed overseas, particularly in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and other allied nations. Although Lindy Hop and jazz were banned in countries such as Germany, both were popular in other European countries during this period.
In 1944, due to continued involvement in World War II, the United States levied a 30 percent federal excise tax against "dancing" nightclubs. Although the tax was later reduced to 20 percent, "No Dancing Allowed" signs went up all over the country.
Post-swing Era (1950s–1960s)Arthur Murray's 1954 edition of "How to become a Good Dancer" included 4 pages of instruction for Swing: the Basic Lindy Step, the Double Lindy Hop, the Triple Lindy Hop, the Sugar Foot Walk, and the Tuck-In Turn. A chapter is devoted to Lindy Hop in the 1953 and 1958 editions of "Dancing Made Easy".
The 1962 "Ballroom Dancebook for Teachers" included an entire chapter on "Lindy".
According to the book "Social Dance", copyrighted in 1969, by 1960 The Lindy Hop was known as Swing.
Revival (1980s and 1990s)Sandra Cameron and Larry Schulz of the Cameron Dance Center Inc in New York were instrumental in bringing Al Minns and Frankie Manning back into teaching Lindy Hop at their dance center. Minns joined the dance center and began a swing program there in 1981. Frankie Manning joined the Center in 1985.
Al Minns' early students formed the basis for the New York Swing Dance Society, established in 1985.
In the 1980s, American and European dancers from California, New York, London and Sweden (such as Sylvia Sykes, Erin Stevens, Steven Mitchell, Terry Monaghan and Warren Heyes who formed London's Jiving Lindy Hoppers performance troupe, and Stockholm's Rhythm Hot Shots / Harlem Hot Shots) went about 'reviving' Lindy Hop using archival films such as Hellzapoppin' and A Day at the Races and by contacting dancers such as Frankie Manning, Al Minns, Norma Miller, Jewel McGowan and Dean Collins. In the mid-to-late 1990s the popularity of neo swing music of the swing revival stimulated mainstream interest in the dance. The dance was propelled to wide visibility after it was featured in movies such as Swing Kids in 1993, and Swingers in 1996, and in television commercials for GAP in 1998. The popularity led to the founding of local Lindy Hop dance communities in many cities.
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