Swing Dance : A Brief History

Essay by awhinnery927 November 2014

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Amanda Whinnery

November 23, 2014

Dance 100

Research Project - Brief History of Swing

Julie Freeman

Dance evolves era to era, generation to generation. Some dances stay and are revised and perfected. Others fade with growing times, sometimes to be rediscovered and reborn in a different era. Dance styles, such as Swing or "Jive", were never forgotten, but did go dormant for a while due to lack of popularity. Dance styles of the 1920s are some of the most likely and energetic dances done. It's known as swing due to the lifts, spins and swings associated with it. Each variation of swing dance have their own characteristics.

Along with the music of jazz in the 1920's to 1950's, a dance style was developed known as swing. A lot of these dances were around long before the swinging jazz music. The majority of swing dances were danced and popular in African-American communities.

Some dances like the Foxtrot and the Balboa were developed in white communities. Sadly segregation and racism were still felt in the groups of people who enjoyed dancing. Very few bands were racially mixed and most clubs throughout the country were often segregated due to racism found in many states. The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York, where the Lindy Hop was born, was integrated from its opening.

During the 1920's, in Harlem, New York, the Lindy Hop was born during the Harlem Renaissance. The dance popular with African-American communities. The Lindy Hop is the dance known for being the original swing dance. It was the most popular dance of that era. It incorporated the style of European partnering elements, with African rhythms and styles. An American created aspect of it was the break-away, to be unique. Partners would break away from dancing close to each other...