Friday, March 19, 2010

Vintage Lindy Hoppers

Who among us wouldn't be proud to say they could Lindy Hop? I surely would!

Beyond being a hoot, it looks to be a hazard! I think myself adventurous, so (mastering?/attempting?) this vigorous dance is definitely on my bucket list.

Lindy Hoppers - Jet Magazine - 1958

About the Lindy Hop (from Wikipedia:)

The Lindy Hop was born in black communities in Harlem, New York in the United States from about 1927 into the early 1930s from four possible sources: the breakaway, the Charleston, the Texas Tommy, and the hop.

The Lindy Hop is based on the popular Charleston and named for Charles Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing in 1927. It evolved in New York City in the 1920s and '30s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. Lindy was a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz, tap, breakaway and Charleston. It is frequently described as a jazz dance and is a member of the swing dance family.

In its development, the Lindy Hop combined both partnered and solo dancing by using the movements and improvisation of black dances along with the formal eight-count structure of European partner dances. This is most clearly illustrated in the Lindy's basic step, the swingout. In this step's open position, each dancer is generally connected hand-to-hand; in its closed position, men and women are connected as though in an embrace.

Revived in the 1980s by American, Swedish, and British dancers, the Lindy Hop is now represented by dancers and loosely affiliated grass roots organizations found in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Leon James and Willa Mae Ricker demonstrating the Lindy Hop for a 1943 issue of Life Magazine.

Charles Alston (1907 - 1977)
Watercolor, 9” x 13

Jeunesse (Youth) by Palmer Hayden
Painted during the Harlem Renaissance

Sources/More information:


  1. There's a whole subculture that's alive and well in the Lindy Hop scene. If you're in Chicago, there's alot of dancing and lessons around town. Check out

  2. The dancers in the videos are spectacular! I wish I could that :-)

  3. Thanks for posting this. It's totally inspiring and fascinating to watch and read.
    My grandmother used to lindyhop in Barbados in the '40s. Kids had so much more energy back then! ;)

  4. I'm out of breath just looking at the pictures! Lindy Hoppers are amazing!

  5. Lindy Hop is SO MUCH FUN! I'm not particularly good at it, yet, nor fast but it's fun! I wish I could do the Big Apple. That's definitely on my to-do list.
    -Andi x

  6. This was my mothers generation and she said that she never learned how to do this dance. I could see myself trying to do it and getting thrown into a wall. I am not the most graceful kind of woman.


  7. These pictures are awesome! I love 40's fashions. I'm so excited that the Oxfords they used to wear are back in style now.

    Great blog!
    check me out, I'm just getting started:)


  8. Hi,

    Your blog is inspiring. I received a Kreativ blog award from another blog and the rules include passing it on to other blogs you think are creative. Your blog is one of them I chose. If you like, see my blog for details. Of course it is just fun and no obligations at all.

    In any case, your blog is such a unique addition to the blogosphere and African American presence online. Kudos...

  9. I always love when people start dancing like this in movies - so much fun!! :)

  10. I'm dying to learn how to lindy hop! *sigh* maybe after graduation when i have all this free time from being unemployed ill look into it...

  11. ah the days when danicng was done with class

  12. I nominated you for an award! It's at my blog ;-)

  13. This is awesome! I love your blog!

  14. Late to the party, but just wanted to say that this was a great post! As a side note, I'd like to point you to this article about concessions to their craft lindy hoppers had to make in order to be featured in films, etc. It's really interesting.

  15. This was a great post. I love following your blog.

  16. Being 1/2 Ghanaian I can see the roots all the way back to the motherland - beautiful! :)