What is Lindy Hop?

Discover the world of Lindy hop!

The most common word you’ll hear when learning about Lindy Hop is:

FUN!

Sometimes when we compare the different social dances we say that while Salsa is “sexy” and Tango is “passionate”, Lindy Hop is FUN! In fact, the main goal of each Lindy Hop activity is to have you smile and laugh while fully immersed in this dance.

You might ask yourself why is this so fun? Is it comical? Are the teachers that entertaining?
We believe that although both these things might be true, the reason why it’s so fun is because it’s truly adaptive, empowering and social!

Swing-dance-pictures

How is it social?

Come alone, with friends or your spouse. Anybody can join and find many people to dance with. In fact, after an evening of social dancing you’ll realize that you actually know many of the people in the room already. How is this possible? You are learning the language of dance, and just like any language, you can and want to use it to communicate with people. To practice your ability to communicate with anyone, we make sure you get plenty of chances to try your new skills with different people. Frequently in the classes you’ll hear the teachers say “high-five and rotate!”, then everybody raises their hands to gives each other a celebratory high-five and hops over to the next person to have a dance and to get to know a new person.

But this does not only happen in class, also at social dance events you can walk up to anyone and ask for a dance.  No matter their dance experience – from a beginner who just started learning to the most experienced teachers. And no matter their gender – both men and women ask for dances. In Lindy Hop we like to mix it up :)

How is it empowering?

Even though we have classic partner-dance concepts where there is a leader and a follower, the relationship is close to 50/50. We each have the power to decide what movements we want to do and how we want to do them, while still being fully connected to each other. It’s really a choice that you can express in the dance. Sometimes you might feel you want to be perfectly synchronized and match one another to the smallest micro-movements, and you can drive tremendous pleasure from feeling that connected to another person. But sometimes you might feel the music differently, or you simply want to explore your own creativity a bit more and you can communicate a more open dance where you go outside the classic boundaries of lead-and-follow to enjoy a more free dance.

 

Here is a great dance:

How is it adaptive?

In classes you learn the basic techniques to communicate with your partner, whether you want to dance soft and easy or with high power, making it your choice if you’d like to have a relaxed soft dance while chatting a bit, or turn this into your weekly workout and go for extreme movements that will make you sweat.

If you watch these two videos you’ll see what we mean:

Soft and easy

Hard-core dancing


Here is what Romy Grainer said when she first discovered Lindy Hop:

„Lindy was?“ ist meine erste Reaktion, als mir die lockige Brünette atemlos erklärt, welchen Tanz sie gerade mit zwei Dutzend Mitstreitern inmitten der Heidelberger Innenstadt präsentiert hat. Es ist Samstag, der Uniplatz voll mit Menschen, und plötzlich hat sich aus dem Gedränge eine Formation von Tänzern gebildet, die zu energiegeladener Swing-Musik eine flotte Sohle auf’s Straßenpflaster legen. Junge Männer mit Hosenträgern wirbeln ihre hüftschwingenden Tanzpartnerinnen um sich herum, lederbeschuhte Füße kicken in die Luft, und bunte Röcke folgen der Fliehkraft. Was für ein Spektakel! Doch was mich am meisten begeistert, ist, was ich in den Gesichtern der Tänzer lese: pure Lebensfreude. „Lindy-Hop!“, antwortet die lockige Brünette, die sich als Caro vorstellt, „wir tanzen Lindy-Hop. Macht echt Spaß, probier’s auch mal!“ Tanzen? Ich? Bis auf einen etwas verunglückten Foxtrott beim Abiball bin ich in diesem Bereich nicht gerade erfahren, und außerdem habe ich gar keinen Partner. Aber Caro ermuntert mich: „Macht nichts, komm einfach am Dienstag vorbei und schau, ob es dir gefällt.“ Einen Dienstag und ein breites Lächeln auf meinen Lippen später weiß ich, dass Lindy-Hop wirklich Spaß macht und ich unbedingt dabei bleiben will. Was ich noch nicht weiß, ist, dass ich eine neue Welt betreten habe. Denn Lindy-Hop ist so viel mehr als ein Tanz!


Where does Lindy Hop come from?

 

Popular movies such as The Great Gatsby and Midnight in Paris have brought back the “flapper girls” and Charleston dance of the Roaring Twenties to the big screen.  Lindy Hop was borne out of this era, as jazz music and dance evolved from the 20s to the 30s.

Here are a few recorded historic moments of this dance. These videos are entertaining and some of them even explain the culture.

Hope you’ll enjoy watching them as much as we do!


Detailed description of the Charleston and many of its nuances.


Classic and fun clip: two boys and a girl.


The oldest recorded clip that shows the transition from Charleston to Lindy Hop.


This is the greatest Lindy Hop dance scene ever captured on film: Hellzapoppin (1941).


A funny instructional video called Groovie Movie (1944).


Any questions? Write us an email: dance@swingstep.com or call us: +49 (0) 162 – 427 122 4*

* You will most likely reach us Monday, Tuesday, Thursday or Friday from 12 - 2pm. If not, we promise to call or write back within a day.