Swing Discussion Boards > Historical Swing Dance definition HELP!!!

Discussion in 'Swing Discussion Boards' started by Jonathan Walford, Aug 27, 2007.

  1. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Welcome to the DF to Jonathan and ginsu.

    Referencing the OP's o.p., and TangoTime's original post, .....


    Partially correct. The genre came from the Stomp, a fast slave dance, characterized by one step on each foot danced with very high knees (because it was danced outside and in fields), and seperated with what we now call a rock step. We now call the dance Single Time Swing.

    The big bands played largely a slightly slower version of this rhythm. This was called Swing (named for the side to side, "swinging" movements of the musicians as they played. The dance that accompanied swing music, naturally became known as swing dancing. A step was added to accommodate the rhythms, and the Lindy (what we now call Double Time Swing) was born. Further references to Charles Lindbergh, and the name Hop came along to further complicate the issue. Also, of little prominence, the slang term Jive, for the music and dance, and Jive Cats, for the dancers, was actually used in the Afro-American communities of the time.

    When slower versions of Lindy music were played, a third step developed. However, as music and dances do, when this "Triple Step Swing" crossed over to the faster music, the movements took on more of an up and down...bouncy look and feel, rather than the familiar side to side. Named for a Southern beetle that, when necessary, 'pops' up and down in a similar fashion, the term Jitterbug was coined. It was partially because of this, and further references to southern negros that it was considered derogatory for a time. Perhaps TT can shed more light on how the term Jive developed in the UK and Euro.
  2. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    The word " Jive ".. apocraphyl tho it maybe.... emanated from the American servicemen who introduced what they termed J/Bug .

    They in turn, refered to people on occasion, as " Jive turkeys" , due to the way that couples sometimes danced a step called the "strut", where the couple walked towards each other with the same head and neck action used by turkeys.

    The name became used in the UK for the first time, when it was used to describe a match between an American and a Canadian 1945, when the 1st "championships ? " were held in the UK .
    It was not recognised by the then O.B.

    I mentioned this in the past, but when we went to public dance halls in the uk in the 40s, many would not allow Jive to be danced ( one location roped off the side off the floor for jive dancers only ! )
  3. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Thanks, T.
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Well, I may have missed something in the books I've been reading.
    Jazz Dance By Marshall Winslow Stearns, Jean Stearns
    fails to mention that swing dance came from the "Stomp ".
    The Sounds of Slavery By Shane White, Graham J. White
    has two occurances of the word stomp, neither of which connects it to Lindy Hop or swing.
    Is there a reference for this version of where swing came from?

    Meanwhile, sort of following up on the Armstrong on swing comment there's this from "Chronicles of the American Dance"...
    "Syncopated offbeats, which had been known to Western musicians for centuries, became a particular earmark associated almost exclusively with Afro-American music. The sense of timing and rhythmic "breaks" were equally a part of the dance." p 60
  5. SDsalsaguy

    SDsalsaguy Administrator Staff Member

    Agreed Steve, I think tt was right in attributing his "history" as apocryphal. I certainly believe that tt's version is what he heard/was told, but I, for one, would want a lot more information and substantiation before I would put that ahead of documented scholarship (e.g. White & White).
  6. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Not familiar with the book, however, is either mention of the Stomp in the context of the evolution of the dance? My reference is 2 fold; 1- what we learned in school (American History), and 2- Frankie Manning, the undisputed king of (and only living and still teaching) Lindy Hop (not to be confused with Lindy Swing whoch is often used interchangeably, but is actually the form of the dance using largely the same footwork but w/o the acro).
  7. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    I suggest that you refer historical questions regarding swing dance to Peter Loggins' site. For example, see see the thread:


    There are a zillion stories behind the origins of swing - most of them wrong. Peter may not be right either, but he has certainly put more effort into researching the history of swing than anyone else I know of. And most of his research is first or second person - not urban legend.

    No. Double time swing is not Lindy. This is in fact a very puzzling statement. Again, it might be very useful if you were to spend some time on www.dancehistory.org
  8. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Er... and what do you call the dozens of dances that existed between this "Stomp" and The Lindy Hop? How do you reconcile the fact that Single Time Swing was in fact created well after Lindy Hop?

    In short what are your sources for this information?

    And how do you reconcile the half dozen music forms that were created in between Slavery and the creation of Jazz and then the forms of Jazz that predate Swing? Where does Blues fall into this?

    In short what are your sources for this information?

    How do you reconcile the fact that the original step "The Lindy Hop" had a quick-quick-slow rhythm which was identified by the origanal lindy hoppers as well as being seen on film?

    In short what are your sources for this information?

    How do you reconcile George Snowden's having named the step in the late twenties and the use of the term Lindy Hop throughout Harlem even as late as the 50's? How do you reconcile the slang term jive was a derogatory term used for faking something or lying about something? Not until the mid thirties did the term also become used to refer to a person who did not necessarily lied or faked things, but who was a part of the street culture f hustling and numbers running and into the late 30's become a term for someone who was cool because they were bucking the system and making their own rules rather than following what white society said should be done? That the term Jive amongst Black communities did not refer to the music, but it was a misunderstanding of white observers that it did, and the term eventually through that appropriation came back to the communities and even then used ironically?

    In short what are your sources for this information?

    How do you reconcile the up and down movement that can be seen in all Bantu descended movement, including the dances that proceeded the Lindy Hop from which moves, styling, and inspiration were taken and informed the dance at its earliest stages?

    In short what are your sources for this information?

    The Popillia Japonica, more popularly known as the Japanese Beetle, is not a Southern bug, but can be found in most parts of the US. It does not "pop up and down" but lifts it hind legs when threatened. I'm interested how you reconcile the writings and songs of the time which state that it was originally a reference to unskilled dancers shaking, kicking, and bouncing who resembled alcoholics suffering from delirium tremens, or colloquially "the jitters."

    In short what are your sources for this information?
  9. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Lindy Hop and Lindy Swing? Can you share with us your sources for this? The closest thing I've heard to this is that Lindy Hop as what the New Yorkers and Black around the country danced and Lindy (dropping the Hop) was what White dancers in Southern California danced, prior to the embracing of the term Jitterbug.

    I've never heard any of the street and club dancers I've interviewed from the 30's through the 50's reference Lindy Swing, it was always Lindy Hop, Lindy, or Jitterbug. Is this perhaps something exclusive to ballroom trained dancers?
  10. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Sorry to have not gotten back to you sooner. I understand much of what you have written, and will not get into disagreements about it. I know that history is very much exactly that..."his story...", and variations are often created, misunderstood, misperceived, etc.

    As a teacher, the one thing that I have always tried to do is to go to the source... samba in Brazil/Carib; rumba in Cuba; tango in Argentina; etc. My posts were not offered as historical references but merely as a sharing of conversations (probably of general timelines and discussions) that I have had primarily with Lindy Hoppers Frankie Manning (and his confidant whose name embarrassingly escapes me at the moment), and Al Minns (another Hopper who I had the great pleasure to meet in the early '80s), and TV producer, Ken Burns, who I worked with on another project during my 12 years as a television director (dancers always have to have back-up careers... :) )
  11. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Sorry, again, for the delays, but yes, the double step/skip step style was the origin of Lindy...incidentally, a different dance than Lindy Hop (re your other post). Again, I understand that, like language, things get criss-crossed so that one often can not tell the end of one thing and the beginning of another. I suppose, or rather believe, that much of dance, and its origin/s, not only swing, is like this.
  12. tangonuevo

    tangonuevo New Member

    Angel HI:

    I think that you will find that many, and especially Damon and even more especially Peter Loggins, have spent tens or hundreds of hours (or more?) talking to, dancing with and learning from the likes of Frankie, Al Minns, et al.

    Hell, even I have spent hours in conversation with Willie Desatoff, Ann Mills, and LA swing dancers, have had several hours of 1-on-1 conversation with Frankie Manning, spent an evening with Sugar Sullivan (at the London Lindy Hop Festival years ago) learning about herstroy of swing, danced with some of the elders prior to their passing, read every book I could lay my hands on that purported to cover the origins of swing. etc. etc.

    I also know that nearly every one of the elder swing dancers that I have talked to knows the full history of swing in great detail, and that they often disagree :shock:

    Since I am an elder (read old) jazz musician (of no known stature!) I also have had the opportunity to talk with musicians from out of the swing era about what they saw on the dance floor. etc.

    And at that I still don't feel qualified to expound on the history of swing which is why I referred to Peter's web site. I second Damon's remark regarding your sources.
  13. d nice

    d nice New Member

    I've interviewed and spent time with darn near every known surviving member of the Savoy 100. Not one of their versions of the origins of Lindy Hop, Lindy, Jitterbug, Swing etc. matches anything you have written.

    As much as people like to take pot shots at history about it being inexact and all perspective an opinion, the amount of information given by the Savoy 100 that agrees and even corroborates each other's stories far outweighs that which contradicts.

    If you have a source Peter and I have not interviewed, read, seen, etc. we would love to do so and add that information into the archives of the foundation.

    And yes I've spent a hundred or more hours just viewing footage in the archives at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian. I can't even began to calculate how much time I've spent interviewing, dancing with, and studying under the "old timers" but it puts my video time to shame. Enough that I ended up taking two years off and doing nothing but.
  14. Dancelf

    Dancelf Member

    If I freely admit my ignorance of "the foundation", will someone cure it?
  15. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    The California Historical Jazz Dance Foundation

  16. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    Agreed. Yet, I thought I answered Damon's remarks.

    Thanks. Always willing to learn something new.
  17. d nice

    d nice New Member

    The points you brought up actually contradict the things Frankie has told me as well as the works of well known researchers like Marshall Stearns.

    I think I'm not the only one who would like you to cite sources point for point.
  18. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

  19. d nice

    d nice New Member

    Now that says nothing. Ken Bruns is not a Jazz dancer, Al Minns discusses the origination of Lindy Hop on film and makes no mention of "the Stomp" neither does he mention it when he talks about Charleston, the Cakewalk etc. Frankie tells a different story, and nothing I've read in American history mentions the Stomp as the precursor to the Lindy Hop...

    As to every other comment I asked for citations for, he hasn't said anything that support any of those and given interviews that specifically contradict some of that.
  20. Angel HI

    Angel HI Well-Known Member

    I was merely sharing info from conversations which I have had. All of which, I might suspect, is largely a matter of opinion, even by those who were there, evidently. If we read 2 articles on Lindy/Lindy Hop, we read 2 varying stories. You seem to be particularly bothered by all of this. Care to post or PM me, and tell me why? :confused:

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