Important note to the reader:
This Introduction and the subsequent chapters of Lindy Hop history found here (Parts I, II, and III) were written and current as of the fall of 2005.
The Gift of Rhythm
Most people possess a natural sense of rhythm. Without conscious
thought, they feel the calming effect of a gently rocking cradle or
anticipate the cadence of a porch swing in motion. Those who hold this
gift are indeed fortunate because they have within them the ability to
If the pulse of a swing rhythm drives the music you enjoy.
If you feel music in your soul and it inspires you to move.
If you want a shared musical experience with a dance partner.
You will appreciate the joy that is Lindy Hop swing dancing.
Lindy Hop is often described as the original swing dance. Solidly grounded in black culture, it evolved at the Savoy Ballroom and in the streets of Harlem, New York during the late 1920s and 1930s. Today, over seventy years later, Lindy Hop is celebrated around the world as an original American art form.
For a better understanding of what Lindy Hop swing dancing is and looks like, click the following links to view video of contemporary Lindy Hop Swing Dancing performed at a very high level:
Here you will find general information about Lindy Hop swing dancing, its music and culture. You will also learn about the emerging Lindy Hop dance scene in the greater Kansas City / Lawrence region.
Point of View and Intended Audience
To better understand what is presented here, it is important to know the point of view of the author and the intended audience.
This writer, the Web master of kclindyhop.org, is exclusively a Lindy Hop swing dance lead (guy), with about five years experience in both the St. Louis and Kansas City Lindy Hop dance scenes. Accordingly, the point of view is from a Lindy Hop perspective. The focus will be on Lindy Hop swing dancing and its included companion dance styles: Charleston, East Coast Swing/Jitterbug, Balboa, Bal-Swing, Collegiate Shag, Blues and vintage Jazz line dancing.
At the beginning of this project, the intended audience was considered to be "any member of the non-dancing public who may be interested in learning to swing dance." With this in mind, it was assumed that most readers would have no knowledge about Lindy Hop Swing, its history, or evolution. Much of the content does indeed reflect this assumption.
As this project neared completion and was reviewed by experienced Lindy Hop dancers who were somewhat familiar with its history, it became apparent that this body of work could also be considered informative to experienced dancers; especially to those who are involved with closely related, yet different, swing dance styles.
To summarize: This material was originally written for the swing curious non-dancer, but also provides information experienced dancers may find interesting.
Independent Research is Encouraged
The reader is strongly encouraged to conduct their own research into Lindy Hop and other swing dance styles. The Internet can be a valuable resource in this endeavor. Searching on keywords and phrases you read here will open up volumes of material on these subjects from other sources.
In the top left corner of every page there is a Web search feature that will open a separate window to display Google search results. Entries such as "Lindy Hop," "West Coast Swing" or "Swing Music" will return hundreds of thousands of hits. Doing so, will provide information from sources whose point of view may be different from the one presented here.
The reader is also encouraged to seek out opportunities to observe and experiment with different dance styles. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision about which dance style is best suited for you.
Source of Information and Sole Purpose
Much of the information presented here was gleaned from the Internet. During this research it became evident that mixed among the historical facts are many myths, legends, tales, exaggerations, and in some cases outright misinformation both intentional and otherwise. Every effort has been made to present accurate information. When specific dates or other details were found to conflict, the source believed to be the most reliable was cited.
The sole purpose of this material is to provide general background information for those considering swing dancing as a hobby, and dancers who are interested in knowing more about Lindy Hop swing dancing, its music and culture.
Part I:Early History: 1800-1945
Part II:Decline and Remission: 1945-1983
Part III:Recent History: 1983-2005