What is Lindy Hop and Why is Everyone In Love With It?
If there’s a word we would use to define Lindy Hop, that would be “FUN”. The only proof we need is a quick search on Youtube. Smiles, euphoria and good vibes fill the dance floors when the upbeat jazz melodies blast through the speakers. But what is Lindy Hop and why is it getting so popular these days? We’re about to tell you all about it!
What is Lindy Hop?
Considered the original swing dance, Lindy Hop is a fusion of many different dances like the Charleston, jazz, tap or breakaway. Also known as the “jitterbug” in Australia, the Lindy Hop is a fascinating dance that can be both wild and crazy, with fast moves and incredible aerial acrobatics, or relaxed and sophisticated with slow tempo steps.
Lindy Hop is considered a “social” dance, thanks to its close connections to the dance ballrooms in America, which means everyone is welcome! No matter your age, your level of fitness or if you’re a total beginner. Once you got the Lindy bug, there’s no way to stop!
History of Lindy Hop
Lindy Hop was born in Harlem, New York, during the 20’s and became really popular during the Swing Era of the 30’s and 40’s. Lindy Hop is considered a cultural phenomenon, as it managed to “break” the segregation that was still rampant in America thanks, in part, to the Savoy Ballroom. There were many dance ballrooms in New York but it was the Savoy that saw Lindy Hop flourishing inside its doors and it was a place where everyone was welcome to dance, share moves and inspire each other, no matter their skin color.
Although not completely confirmed, the term “Lindy Hop” is normally attributed to George “Shorty” Snowden, an African-American Harlem dancer who came up with the name after a dance marathon, in reference to Charles Lindbergh, the first person to fly solo from New York to Paris and “hop” across the Atlantic.
Are Lindy Hop and Swing the same thing?
At first glance, there’s no denying that Swing and Lindy Hop do share some similarities but they’re not exactly the same thing. Generally speaking, “swing” is an umbrella term used to describe all those types of dances that used jazz music (specifically “swing music”) to perform. Dance styles like the Charleston, Balboa or Lindy Hop are all considered Swing dancing and they all evolved to match jazz’s popularity in the 30’s.
Therefore, if we’re talking about Lindy Hop, we’re just referring to one of the different swing types of dances, with its own moves and rules. The same way that if we’re talking about salsa, we’re just talking about one of the many Latin dances.
Where can I learn in the UK?
As mentioned above, Lindy Hop is a social dance, which means you’ll find a lot of different communities and local dance clubs all around Britain waiting for you with open arms! If you’re curious about learning the dance but aren’t completely sold on the idea, you could try a one-day Lindy Hop experience, see what it is about and learn the basics dance patterns.
Once you’re done with that, and if your feet are still feeling the Lindy itchiness, then it’s time to find a dance class nearby! We recommend taking a look at The Lindy Circle and Are You Dancing? websites, both of them have a list with all the Swing and Lindy Hop events and classes you can find around the UK. All you need is a simple click and you’re away!
What should I wear to dance Lindy Hop?
Here comes one of the best parts of swing dancing: the clothes! If there’s something that will immediately catch your attention when looking at Lindy Hop dancers, it’s their clothes. Beautiful and colourful vintage dresses and skirts for the ladies, and classy-looking trousers and shirts for the guys, that’s what you would normally be wearing once you jump into the Lindy Hop world. Friendly advice for the ladies: don’t forget to wear a pair of black shorts under your dress!
For both genres, it’s extremely important to be wearing proper swing shoes that will allow you to keep up with the upbeat music! Most common options are low heels or low top sneakers for women and Charleston-like shoes for men. Just go on a quick search in Google and you’ll be spoilt for choices!
How long does it take to learn?
You might have heard this one too many times, but it does really depend! Everyone learns at a different pace and some people have a natural talent while others have to put in some hard work.
Although the 6-count step basics can be learnt in a few hours, it’s the amount of practice that you put afterwards that really counts! Our best advice? Go to all your dance lessons, learn from your peers and don’t rush it! Once you’re comfortable with the dance floor, we recommend you going to a social dance event, which gives you the opportunity of dancing with people from all levels and it’s the best way to keep improving and perfecting your dance style. Want to know the best part? You can even dance with another woman or man, as long as it’s fun, it’s allowed!
Are there any rules for Lindy Hop?
If we’re talking about casual Lindy Hop, not competitions, there doesn’t seem to be an established set of rules. However, there a few etiquette manners dancers should follow.
- If you want to ask someone to dance, do so politely. Normally a “Would you like to dance?” or “May I have this dance?” is enough.
- You’re allowed to reject dances. If you don’t feel comfortable dancing with someone or you just don’t feel like it, that’s fine!
- Maintain a good level of hygiene. If you tend to sweat a lot, bring an extra clothing and use a good deodorant.
- Be careful around crowded floors. Try to not go crazy on moves that will take too much space and avoid colliding with others.
- Try to not injure your partner.
And that’s just a little taste of everything that the world of Lindy Hop has to offer. The rest is up for you to discover! Just remember to take a few pictures with your new fancy swing shoes, we would definitely love to see that!