HISTORY OF LINDY HOP

Lindy Hop is more than just a partner dance – Lindy Hop is a lifestyle! In the 1920s, young Black Americans began to give expression to their interests, emotions and wishes in the shape of improvised dance figures and a wild mix of different popular dances of the day. Whether cool and relaxed or exuberant and fiery – the main focus in all cases was on pleasure in dancing, the freedom to improvise and the expression of an infectious joie de vivre.

The centre point of Lindy Hop was the famous Savoy Ballroom (1926-1958) in New York’s Harlem district – one of the best-known clubs of the Swing era and the first dance hall where black and white people could come together and dance, without racial conflict. Lindy Hop had its heyday in the 1930s when it conquered both stage and cinema screen, especially through the dance troupe known as “Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers”, with Frankie Manning as its creative head. Manning was seen at the time as the best proponent of Lindy Hop and also as the inventor of the “Aerial”, the first dance figure involving a dancer throwing his partner in the air, whirling her around and catching her again (Aerial). As a result, Lindy Hop found its way from the Savoy Ballroom to the major show stages.

For nearly thirty years, the Lindy Hop was the most important Afro-American partner dance. There is no specific Lindy Hop style – the Lindy Hop is precisely distinguished by its diversity and individual character. It was danced to 1920s New Orleans jazz and 1930s Big Band Swing, but also to the precursors of 1940s Rock’n’Roll. Lindy Hop brought the feel of the people of the time onto the dance floor, and united races and nations.

In the early 1980s, the Lindy Hop experienced a revival in Europe. Today, there are various events where Lindy Hop lovers can meet and indulge their passion together. One such international gathering, for example, is the “The Herrang Dance Camp”, an annual four-week summer camp in the small village of Herräng, south of Stockholm, with over 2,000 participants from throughout the world. But there are many other events as well, including the “Swing Crash Festival“ in Como, Italy (in June), the “Lindy Shock” in Budapest (late October / early November) and, to mark the end of the year, the Snowball in Stockholm on New Year’s Eve and, of course, the New Year’s Eve Swing Ball in the Chocolate Museum.

And for all Rhinelanders who think Lindy Hop could be just the thing for them, we recommend the “Hop Spot” Dance Studio in Cologne and Düsseldorf (www.hopspot.eu). Here, Bernd and Esther will demonstrate that Lindy Hop is not just a dance but a pleasure that you suddenly find you cannot do without. And so that everyone at the Swing Ball in the Cologne Chocolate Museum can join in and dance, dance instructors from “Hop Spot” will be giving a trial session / taster lesson for all beginners on New Year’s Eve, in the Museum itself.