OUT to Dance offers group dance classes in West Roxbury
and private lessons in Roslindale. Join us!

About Lindy Hop

Swing dancing and lindy hop are danced to the same music, but they differ in the count for the footwork: 6 count (or beats) for swing, also known as East Coast Swing, and 8 counts for lindy hop.

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History of Lindy Hop

Born in African-American communities in Harlem in the 1920s as the breakaway, the ‘first generation’ of lindy hop is popularly associated with dancers such as “Shorty” George Snowden, though perhaps the most famous lindy hopper is Frankie Manning. Al Minns and Leon James, as well as dancer Norma Miller also feature prominently in contemporary histories of lindy hop.

Lindy hop entered mainstream American culture in the 1930s, popularised by touring dance troupes (including the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, which were also known as the Harlem Congaroos, Hot Chocolates and Big Apple Dancers), dance sequences in films (such as Hellzapoppin’ and A Day at the Races) and dance studios (such as those of Irene and Vernon Castle).

Lindy hop moved off-shore in the 1930s and 40s, again in films and news reels, but also with American troops stationed overseas, particularly in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and other allied nations. Despite their banned status in countries such as Germany, lindy hop and jazz were also popular in other European countries during this period.

Lindy hop disappeared from popular culture in the 1950s as rock and roll music and dancing replaced jazz, and jazz itself cooled and moved towards bebop.

In the late 1980s American and European dancers from California, New York, and Sweden respectively, (such as Sylvia Sykes, Steven Mitchell, and the The Rhythm Hot Shots respectively) went about ‘reviving’ lindy hop using archival films such as Hellzapoppin’ and A Day at the Races and by contacting surviving dancers such as Frankie Manning, Al Minns, Norma Miller, Jewel McGowan and Dean Collins. In the mid-to-late 1990’s the popularity of neo swing music stimulated mainstream interest in the dance, and was in part stimulated by the popular movie, “Swingers,” and television commercials for The Gap. The popularity led to the founding of local lindy hop dance communities in many cities. Lindy hop is now popular in many countries around the world.

Music for Dancing

Happy- Pharrell Williams
Glenn Miller- In The Mood; (if they only play one swing tune, it’s this!)
Brian Setzer or Louis Prima- Jump, Jive and Wail; (if they play two swing tunes, this is next.)
Louis Prima- Just A Gigolo
Christina Aguilera- Candyman
Michael Buble- Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Bill Haley- Rock Around The Clock
Duke Ellington- Take the “A” Train
Elvis Presley- Hound Dog
Natalie Cole- This Will Be An Everlasting Love
Bobby Darin- Mack The Knife
Ruth Brown- 5-10-15 Hours
Susan Tedeschi- I Fell In Love
Carlene Carter- I Love You ‘Cause I Want To
Queen Latifah- I Love Being Here With You
Orleans- Still The One
Big Bad Voodoo Daddy- Big Time Operator

When joining our Lindy Hop and other dance classes, note that our OUT to Dance studio locations, West Roxbury and Roslindale, MA, are within twenty minutes of downtown Boston, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Hyde Park, Brighton, Allston, Brookline, Newton, Chestnut Hill, Dedham, Norwood, Needham, Westwood, Milton and Quincy; and within 25 to 35 minutes of Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Wellesley, Natick, Waltham, Braintree, Brockton, Stoughton, Canton, Foxboro, Weymouth and surrounding towns. We are also less than an hour from Providence, Rhode Island and New Hampshire.