The Lindy Hop, named after aviator Charles Lindbergh and his solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927, is a rhythmical and groovy couple dance created to big band music in the Harlem ballrooms around the time of the depression. The dance form is based on a traditional lead- and follow structure, but opens up for an endless amount of improvisation and individual interpretation. The Lindy Hop can be danced to all kind of tempo, offers both closed and intimate patterns, traditional open figures, as well as solo steps.
Origin: Harlem in New York City during the late 1920s and into the early 40s.
Music: mainly traditional swing, but also other forms of jazz related music meant for dancing.
Synonyms: Jitterbug, Swing and Jive.
Film clips: A Day at the Races (1937), Swing Fever (1943) and Jammin’ the Blues (1944).
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The Lindy hop is an American dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. It was very popular during the Swing era of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Lindy was a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz, tap, breakaway, and Charleston. It is frequently described as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family.
In its development, the Lindy hop combined elements of both partnered and solo dancing by using the movements and improvisation of Black dances along with the formal eight-count structure of European partner dances – most clearly illustrated in the Lindy’s basic step, the swingout. In this step’s open position, each dancer is generally connected hand-to-hand; in its closed position, leads and follows are connected as though in an embrace.
There was renewed interest in the dance in the 1980s from American, Swedish, and British dancers and the Lindy hop is now represented by dancers and loosely affiliated grass-roots organizations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.
Lindy hop is sometimes referred to as a street dance, referring to its improvisational and social nature.