1. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    Hey Dance Forum.

    I'm sharing some love for Smooth Style (Hollywood Style) Lindy Hop, as well as Bal-Swing, and Collegiate Shag. (I even enjoy doing rockabilly jive.)

    Hoping to connect with others who love dancing to '40's and '50's dance music.

    And if you're a follow who likes doing aerials and competing, and going to rockabilly events, say "Howdy!"
  2. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    I'm currently pretty much stuck in the 50s, but that's mostly because that's when I first see West Coast Swing, along with a whole bunch of whatever in the rock 'n' roll movies from 56 on.
  3. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    Hi Steve.

    Thanks for chiming in.

    Ah, rock n' roll (and teen/exploitation) movies from '56 onwards? Such as "Rock Around The Clock", "Don't Knock The Rock", "Shake, Rattle, and Rock", "The Girl Can't Help It", "Untamed Youth", "Bop Girl Goes Calypso", "Jukebox Rhythm", "Daddy-O", and "Attack of The 50 Foot Woman?"

    Of course, I've never heard of these movies! LOL! :)

    All kidding aside, "The Girl Can't Help It", from a movie standpoint, is probably the best, whereas, from a dancer's standpoint, "Don't Knock The Rock" has the most dance scenes.

    Interestingly, these same dancers in these movies are listed in both Lindy Hop and West Coast Swing history sites. (Shows how close this style of lindy hop is to it's "descendant.")
  4. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Well, actually MOST of those dancers weren't doing WCS. At least two of them told Tamara Stevens that they were doing "Lindy," and the quotes and names are in her new book. (I've been doing step by step frames, too.) There were exactly three dancers I counted (most of whom don't even get mentioned most the the time) who were doing WCS (actually Western Swing, but it was a different time.)
    Yo gotta see "Hot Rod Gang," too, if you want to see "Western Swing" aka West Coast in a scene set up by a guy that NEVER gets mentioned.

    Yeah, and they call them exploitation movies, but when you look at the editing and camera work, especially in RATC, it is pretty darn good. Now, some of the other ones... Daddy-O has probably the most "realistic" dancing, ie not done by pros who'd been doing it since the 40s.

    And don't miss "Rock Baby Rock It " to see the Bop as it was danced in Texas, and probably by actual teenagers (not 30+ professional dancers!) in LA.
  5. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    Actually I don't think the term West Coast Swing and Western Swing weren't really used until Skippy Blair came up with it.

    So yeah, it definitely was lindy hop, but the style of lindy that would directly influence WCS.

    I got "Hot Rod Gang", not so much for the dance routine (to Gene Vincent's "Dance To The Bop"), but mostly just to see Gene Vincent and The Blue Caps perform "Dance In The Street."

    Oh, I don't knock exploitation films...actually, I collect 'em! (Rock and JD flicks, Beach flicks, giant monster flicks, kung fu, it's kind of my thing), so no I would never knock grindhouse/drive-in movies. But even the filmmakers themselves referred to their product as "exploitation"...which I don't think is necessarily a bad thing, as long as their movies deliver on the thrills!)

    As for "Rock Baby Rock It"...I actually uploaded it to my first You Tube channel for my rockabilly friends. I might have to take it down, though, due to copyright.

    To be honest, I got "Rock Baby Rock It" (both on Rhino Home Video and later through the Johnny Legend dvd) for the musical acts, particularly Johnny Carroll and Roscoe Gordon.

    But the dancing is definitely "real" (non-pro, what real teens were doing.)

    That said, when it comes to real teens dancing (as opposed to the 30-somethings doing '40's lindy in '50's rock n' roll movies, ie: Gil and Nikky Brady, Freida Wycoff, Lou Southern, etc.), "Rock! Rock! Rock!" and "Because They're Young" are also examples of that (discounting "American Bandstand", "Art Laboe", and any other after-school tv dance show that many cities had on local tv back then.)

    Of course, the modern rockabilly scene is big on rockabilly jiving (and in case anyone else here is following this thread and is unfamiliar what we're talking about, it's NOT the International Standard Ballroom Jive!) :)

    Steve, I know, that you know, that you can see that style of dancing in '50's and early '60's pre-Beatle British beat movies such as 1959's "Serious Charge" with Cliff Richard or even (very briefly, so briefly that if you blink,you'll miss it!) in 1962's "Play It Cool!" with the late, great Billy Fury.

    Having gone to Viva Las Vegas as well as other modern rockabilly venues, it seems as if the Smooth Style Lindy Hoppers (that I know) have gone rockabilly. (Well, it does fit rock n' roll, as evidenced by it's use in those movies you and I love watching!)
    opendoor likes this.
  6. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    What does "rockabilly jive" look like?
    You can't post active links, but you could break it up so is isn't "active," or you could "start a conversation" and send a link I could post.

    Haven't gotten into British stuff since I'm concentrating on what happened in LA.
    Have you seen "Ghost of Drag Strip Hollow?" That one's on YouTube, and has at least one couple that are pretty good at what they do (in the dance scene at the Mansion), while the other folks look like regular people.

    Bandstand, and Philadelphia take credit for the Bop, but there was a region wide Bop contest in LA years before it got onto Bandstand. And Art Sylva published "How to Do the Bop" before Bandstand, too. So, the dance didn't come from a response to Gene Vincent's "Be Bop a Lula," either, as Dick Clark thought. Benny Goodman tried Bop for a while and hired two dance pros to create and dance called the Bop Hop in about 1949. Etc
  7. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Hi Retro, and welcome!

    Would be interested in that. What actually is that sort of jiving. And I think there probably should be some kind of connection to the naming of that international ballroom variant called "jive". You can read it everywhere that the British took over what they heard/got from American GIs.
  8. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    Hi Steve, hi Open Door.

    I wanted to respond to you both separately, but it doesn't look like I have the option to do that (at least not on my computer.)

    To answer about jiving, rockabilly jiving that is, and not the ballroom/international standard jive, to me (and I don't want to offend anyone), it looks kind of like a simplified East Coast swing...without a rock step.

    It's not REALLY that, of course, but superficially, it looks like that. (Don't want to offend any rockabilly folks who may be here, especially since I think of myself as a rockabilly...well half rockabilly, half swing dancer. Maybe "Swing A Billy.") :)

    From what I gather (and I could be wrong), it's what the British "teddy boys" did for their dancing to rock n' roll (both the harder edged American product like Gene Vincent or Bill Haley, as well as their own home grown rockers such as Tommy Steele or Cliff Richard.)

    There's a lady named "Miss Wolf" who teaches it to the rockabilly scene, particularly at "Viva Las Vegas."

    On that, Steve, for sending links such as You Tube, do I just send it to you directly? (I'm new to all this. I'm assuming I can just click on your name and send a message, but again, this is new to me.)

    Back on jiving, it's British, which is ironic, since isn't ballroom dancing (including the International Standard "jive") also British? And they're two totally different dances.

    As for "Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow", I have it on a double feature dvd that includes that movie along with the mid '60's beach flick "The Ghost In The Invisible Bikini." I also have a vhs taped copy of it from AMC back when they were doing their "AM-POP!" show featuring all sorts of '50's and '60's teen films.

    I used to have a teen lindy hop performance troupe back in the late '90's (around the time of the whole "swing dance revival" thing) and we would get together on Saturday nights to tune in to "AM-POP!" and study the dance moves in those rock n' roll movies. (Ironically, my partner at the time, liked the juvenile delinquent movies more than the rock n' roll flicks. Her favorite was "High School Hellcats!") LOL!

    As for the bop being older than Dick Clark thought, I can believe it.

    Kind of reminds me of the Twist, how it was recorded by Hank Ballard and done in African-American neighborhoods as early as 1958. But most people think of it as an early '60's dance via Chubby Checker.

  9. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    You know, I have to mention this.

    I teach senior fitness classes in the morning, and most of those "seniors" were teenagers in the 1950's and/or '60's.

    When I talk and occasionally try to dance with them, every one of them seems to be doing a simplified double-time East Coast Swing.

    They seem to be sort of "in between" when it comes to social dance complexity, by that I mean, they don't know Smooth Lindy Hop, admittedly a complex skilled dance that was done by pro performers in '50's movies, nor are they doing (rockabilly) jiving, which is a relatively simple and easy dance to do.

    So from what I've seen, it seems that simple East Coast swing seems to be what American kids did for swing dancing in the '50's (here in the San Francisco Bay Area.)
  10. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    Sorry, last post before I go back to work.

    Since we're talking '50's, Earl Carroll, "Mr. Earl" of the Cadillacs, just passed away.

    A lot of the Cadillacs' songs were perfect for dancing...
  11. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    In 1956 Art Sylva wrote about "Swing Bop." "In this you dance the Bop like the Swing - Bop steps to a swing pattern. You'' see a great deal of the "Swing-Bop..."
    One writer from the East Coast noted a difference between LA and San Francisco styles of Bop. I know a guy who won a grade school Bop contest in the 50s in the Bay Area. Fremont, I think.
    I've yet to see the term "East Coast Swing" in a book from the 50s, 60s, but I know what you mean! Lauré Haile, documentor of Western Swing, used the term "Eastern" in her DanceBook, which defies exact dating, but probably was written throughout the 50s? Most books from that era described "Lindy." Just "Lindy," or also "Swing." Most of the kids just called in jitterbug, from what I can gather.

    To send a message click on my name to see profile and click on start conversation.
  12. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    I'd like to know who that Fremont person was! (Maybe some of my seniors may know him, since we're here in the Newark/Fremont/Union City area.)

    KPIX-Dance Party was the after school show here in the SF Bay Area, so maybe his style of dancing was the same as what was done on that show.

    Yeah, I don't think they ever called it "East Coast Swing", and definitely "jitterbug" was the term used, but from what I've seen of my seniors...it certainly looks like East Coast Swing (done with a double time, as opposed to triple steps.)

    I'll send a message to you later this week. :)
  13. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    Hi Steve. I wanted to send you a You Tube link showing the rockabilly jiving, but I can't yet, because I don't have 10 posts.

    So, I will, as soon as I reach ten! LOL! :)
  14. Retro Swinger

    Retro Swinger New Member

    By the way, as a '50's buff and a lindy hopper, here's a list of my favorite songs to practice breaks (quickstops, jumps, slide breaks, corkscrews, and aerials for performances.):

    That'll Be The Day: Buddy Holly
    Dum Dum: Brenda Lee
    I'm In Love Again: Fats Domino
    Money Honey: The Drifters
    Rock n' Roll Ruby: Warren Smith
    Take It n' Git It: The Blockbusters
    See You Later Alligator: Bill Haley and The Comets

    I'll post more later...
  15. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    That time line is a little off Steve; "we " were dancing Bop and Jive ( to bands like Ted Heath for e.g. ) in 1947/8. The american style " Jive " was still around,but the style was evolving into Bop .

    The B.R. world in the U.K. had taken Jive "on board ", and thats possibly why the transition to Bop happened ( my BR teachers ,virtually banned us from dancing either ! ) .
  16. Steve Pastor

    Steve Pastor Moderator Staff Member

    Can you describe the Bop you were doing then?
  17. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve,

    As I recall, it was very much akin to a single time swing, with a " bounce " action , going from a close hold, to a "release" action, a modified Whip, if you will. Back "Drops" were also very common ,
  18. tangotime

    tangotime Well-Known Member


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