The First Swing Dance


Lindy Hop is an unabashedly joyful social dance, with a solid, flowing style that closely reflects its music. Partners are connected smoothly and gently to each other, while relating closely to the music, in feeling, improvisation and phrasing. The tempo of the dance can range anywhere from a slow 60 beats per minute, to a frantic 450 beats per second!

Just as Jazz combines European and African musical origins, the Lindy Hop incorporates African rhythms and styling, European partnering elements, and a wholly American-created partner breakaway to create a unique American dance form done to American music: Hot Jazz, Swing Jazz and Jump Blues. It is a mostly 8 count dance which evolved along side with the new Swing Jazz music, and was based on a mixing of earlier dances such as the Breakaway (the precursor to Lindy Hop) and the Charleston. It is considered to be the first official swing dance.

It is said that Lindy Hop drove the creation of Swing Jazz by encouraging the musicians to adapt to the dynamics of the dance. It is argued, also, that it is the opposite, that the music drove the development of Lindy Hop. In truth, what is most likely to be the case is that both are true: The dancers and the live bands drove each others development by playing off of each other -- each squared off against the other in a kind of traditional cutting contest, not just between dancers or between band members, but between dancer and musician.

Although many have said that Lindy Hop is a strictly 8 count dance (meaning it would take 8 beats of music to complete a single dance step) this is not true. This is a fact confirmed even by Frankie Manning, popular for passing on his knowledge of the dance to the latest generation, who has indicated that Lindy has been a mixture of various 8, 6, 4, and 10 count moves. Its not the timing of the moves that's important, its the feel that counts.
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