Born in 1928 in Harlem, New York, the Lindy hop has evolved quite a bit since it started out as an American dance that was performed on jazz music. It was most popular during the era of swing that stretched from 1930 right through to the early 1940s. The Lindy hop was basically a fusion of various dance forms although it was mainly inspired by tap, the Charleston, jazz and breakaway. Even today it is thought off as the dance of jazz while it was hugely favoured by swing as well.
Lindy Hop Development
During the development stages of the popular Lindy hop dance, all the best elements were partnered of movements of solo dances, couple dance and it included quite a few moves used in African-American dances. Other dances that had a major influence in the Lindy hop are the European partner dances such as the swingout and the basic step.
Swing, Jazz Dancing & then the Lindy Hop become the Street Dance
It might sound strange that the Lindy hop could also be called a street dance, although this all started with Norma Miller only 12 years old at the time when she did the dance in 1932 outside the Savoy Ballroom with some other dancers for tips. This became the norm in 15,000 people took part in a dance series in 1935 at Brandhurst Avenue.
The 1920s to 1940 Jazz & Swing Era
The dance form of the Lindy hop that survived is the Harlem, basically a combination of the hop, the Texas Tommy, Charleston and the breakaway. More and more whites went to Harlem to enjoy the black dances, and the lindy-hoppers started adding even acrobatic routines in order to entertain their increasing audience. The dance also called the swing or jazz dance provided new employment opportunities as several dancers had cards printed and made training tourists their career.
Clubs Realised the True Value of the Lindy Hop as Entertainment Form
The Savoy manager, Charles Buchanan started paying Shorty Snowden and other dancers to keep his clientele entertained. The Lindy hop also entered the American culture round about the 1930s, and soon films were inspired by the jazz dance and dance studios such as Arthur Murray opened.
The dance changed in name, and it became the New Yorker by the 1940s. While the Lindy Hop became very popular in Australia, Canada, the UK and New Zealand, Nazi Germany banned both the dance and jazz music. By 1944 during World War II a 30% levy was applied against dancing, the tax was reduced later to 20%, while No Dancing Allowed signs were displayed all over the country. Still, the jazz and swing dance survived, and it remains one of the most popular dance forms around the world.