What is Lindy Hop?
The Lindy Hop (also called the Jitterbug or abbreviated to just Lindy) is a partnered swing dance that came out of the African-American dance halls of Harlem, New York. With its roots in the Charleston dance style of the 1920s, Lindy Hop is a blending of expressive African solo dance movement with European partner dancing, and embodies the free spirit and improvisational, individualistic nature of jazz music.
This improvisation occurs within an 8-beat footwork pattern, and being a partner dance, within the framework of lead and follow. The lead communicates where he wants the follow to go using his hands and body, and the follow interprets the leads cues through her frame and connection with him. Lindy Hop evolved along-side the shift from hot jazz music to swinging jazz in the late 1920s.
Legend has it that the name Lindy Hop was first coined in 1927 by one of the original dancers, George Shorty Snowden. When asked by a reporter to name the dance he was doing, he dubbed it Lindy Hop after aviator Charles Lindbergh, who had famously crossed the Atlantic in a solo flight earlier that year (newspaper headlines at the time read Lindy Hops the Atlantic). The name stuck, and during the 1930s Lindy Hop spread, first to Hollywood and then the rest of the world.
The dance was popular right through to the late 1940s, when the swing era finally gave way to bebop and rock n roll.