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What is Swing Dancing?

Swing Dancing is also known as Lindy Hop. And we often describe it as an African American dance done to Jazz music.

It originated in Harlem, New York City around the 1920s and was danced throughout the 30s and 40s. The dance itself evolved from many different dances at the time. Including tap, breakaway, and Charleston.

You can also notice a lot of African dance roots in Lindy Hop. Both in the movement and in the rhythm of the music.

The Savoy Ballroom was the epicentre of this new dance craze as it quickly spread across America.

Dancers 8 (Russel Williams + Connie Hill) (Credited)

Music and Dancing


Jazz Swing music and Lindy Hop go hand in hand. With all the bands playing music that would get people dancing. Famous musicians include Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Jimmie Lunceford. To only name a few of the greats.

Check out our music page to find out more about what we dance to.

The Original Dancers

The early names to look out for include ‘Shorty’ George Snowden, Big Bea, Mattie Pernell, Twistmouth George Ganaway, and Leroy Stretch. They pioneered the dance and came up with the first movements.

The next wave of dancers took more of the spotlight. Including Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Al Minns, Pepsi Bethel, Herbert ‘Whitey’ White, and Leon James. They took the dance to the next level and still provide inspiration to modern Swing Dancers.

A famous group of dancers to check out is Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. They performed around the country and were featured in many old-school films. If there is one swing video, you should check out, it’s ‘Hellzappopin’. As the dancers show off their killer ‘Air Steps’ and shapes to a sweltering 300BPM song.

Hellzapoppin' (Colorized by Black Pepper Swing)
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