Here at Swing Base, we acknowledge and respect Jazz and Swing as an original African-American art form. Thanks to Yehoodi for allowing us to share those information on our website! If you like to dance, keep informing yourself about the roots of swing dancing and how to respect them.
At the Savoy (1941)
Lindy Hop emerged as a defiant, joyous response to financial hardship caused by the Great Depression, harsh living conditions, and systemic racism.
Lindy Hop was danced predominantly by Black dancers starting in the 1920s. Many of whom lived in Harlem, where dance clubs such as the Savoy and Alhambra ballrooms lived and thrived.
The dance evolved out of several forms of social dance that preceded it, such as the Cakewalk, the Breakaway, and partnered Charleston. A uniquely American dance, Lindy Hop brought together the African traditions of social and circle dance and European partnered ballroom dancing.
The Savoy Ballroom was Lindy Hop’s most famous home. Bands headed by Chick Webb, who was the resident band leader, as well as Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman performed there.
World-class dancers like “Shorty” George Snowden, “Big Bea,” and second-generation dancers such as Frankie Manning and Norma Miller would throw down at the Savoy till the early morning hours.
Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers were also formed at the Savoy, when Savoy bouncer Herbert “Whitey” White brought some of the best dancers together and became their de facto agent. These dancers went on to be ambassadors of the dance on film, stage, and through worldwide tours.
Discover some of the dancers from the Savoy: