The Lindy Hop (or Lindy) is a partner dance that originated in 1920's and 30's Harlem, New York. The Dance itself consists of both 8 and 6 count steps and it includes footwork borrowed from the Charleston and Tap.
The dance can be wild and spontaneous, with frenzied kicks and body movements, or it can be cool and sophisticated. The most important aspects of it are that it is danced with your partner, to the music, and that you enjoy it!
The Lindy Hop is considered a cultural phenomenon that broke through the race barrier when segregation was still the norm. Modern dancers, interested in cultural history are piecing together the roots of Lindy through the tales and film footage of the original dancers, now in their 70s and 80s. Although the lineage and history of Lindy may be muddled, it is certain that it was born from the blending of African rhythms and movements with European structured dance.
The Lindy Hop has enjoyed a revival since the mid 1980's, when Swing Legend Frankie "musclehead" Manning, an influential choreographer and performer of the era, was rediscovered. Now the Lindy Hop and other Swing dances and variations are part of a world wide trend to get back on the dance floor.
The Forerunners of Lindy Hop
Looking back on where the Lindy Hop came from is an amazing study of American history and of the global cultural shift facilitated by the American GI's that traveled in World War II.
The influences of the Charleston and Tap dance are evident still in the Lindy we do today and the dance is also sited to have come from an early version of the Foxtrot. Remnants of older dancers such as the Cakewalk, Texas Tommy, Black bottom and popular "animal" dances such as the Turkey Trot and the Buzzard Lope are also expressed. What is interesting is that these came from African social dance culture, and some, like the Cakewalk was created when blacks imitated and mocked the formal dance structure of the whites, which they would then use in their entertainment routines. Ironically, the white spectators would then copy the entertainers, and a social dance that bridged the divide emerged.
Luckily, the two cultures found a common ground, called the Savoy Ballroom in New York. It was here that Lindy was fine tuned and grounded, and where the "Savoy style" that was to influence the world grew up.