Footage of Eight Count Lindy Hop

Interested in checking out authentic Lindy Hop? Want to see for yourself the breakaway step popularly called the swing out, that eight count basic step as danced by Harlem dancers in the depression era. Well here is the place for to look for movie and documentry titles as well as film clips that are available on the net.

Here are examples of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, the Savoy Ballroom's Premiere dancers, doing the Lindy Hop on film. If you are interested I can post more information about Whitey's or about the individual members making up the group.

Day At The Races (1937)
Big Apple (aka Jittering Jitterbugs) (1937) Short
Manhattan Merry-Go-Round (1937)
Radio City Revels (1938)
Hellzapoppin' (1941)
Hot Chocolates (Cottontail) (1942 Soundie)
Some of these are available for purchase or rental at video stores that specialize in hard to find movies, or mailorder pruchase online (a search will reveal numerous sources) and has some clips available for download.

By including the release dates I hope that anyone who thinks that the swing out is some sort of modern innovation will realize that lindy hop has a rich and broad history... and this is only a smattering of commercial clips of Harlem dancers (with the exception of Cottontail) before WWII.
Thanks!! I'll try to look into these in my copious amounts of spare time that grad school will afford me :wink:

YAY for movie clips!! Where could I find more soundies-- I've really liked the few I've seen a few years back. Are they really readily available?
Not to turn this into a commercial thread but SavoyStyle has a pretty decent list of tapes for sale. Including a compiltion or two. Documentries are usually the way to go if for no other reason that you'll get a cross section of different clips and they will be given some context by some of the people in the clips themselves. An excellent primary source, the original dancers from the 30's and 40's discussing the dance and music and footage of them dancing back in those days to provide a visual archive of their dance.


d nice said:
Here are examples of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, the Savoy Ballroom's Premiere dancers, doing the Lindy Hop on film.
I'm going go ahead and say those movies you named don't answer the biggest part of the "8-count as a basis of Lindy Hop" debate:

Black Sheep in the 'Magic Pill Flyer' thread said:
5) What about the Eight count Lindy?
Ans: No such animal; Eight count steps can be incorporated in the
Lindy, but they are either shim sham type steps, Charleston steps or the Big Apple steps like the Suzy Q, Shorty George, or the Boogie Woogie all which are individual moves that are used as breaks in the Lindy but are not part of the integrity of the Rhythmic Savoy Lindy structure. These 8 count moves are easy to stick into the Lindy and in the 1950's in Hollywood we always used these eight count moves part of exhibition dances as Precision routines dancing side by side or facing each other. Eight count moves are fun and easier to incorporate into the Savoy Lindy, but they are not Savoy Lindy.
So here's a few videos of non-performances, which you can find on
Social dancing at the Savoy Ballroom, Harlem, NY. A ppre-1950 Home Video (and a post 1950 interview), featuring mainly Charlestons, Swingouts, and other great swing dancing. The last part is the Big Apple routine, not applicable to this discussion.
Social dancing at Savoy Ballroom in the 1950's. Notice again the same rhythmic intergrity behind the majority of the dancing. Note: the second half is a performance practice, followed by arials done in the Havest Moon Ball, so is not applicable.
1939-1940 New York World's Fair (Newsreel), social dancers from all over the country coming for the Fair. Noice the broad range of rhythmic values, which if you had to count out falls into 2s, 4s, 6s, 8s, 12, 20s, etc. But the main basis of rhythm danced -on this clip- could be broken into 8's, especially the large amount of Charleston's and Lindy Hop Swingouts.

If you want to see more of these types of clips, and the really excellent ones Damon has named so far, the best thing to do is get the large screen, higher quality video tapes from stores like

Also, is a great source for free, small cuts of dancing from movies and Home videos of the 1920's-1980's (Soundies, Hollywood productions, social clips from NY and LA, and more). You have to register to see the catalogue, once you do the link is on the right side, halfway down the page.

Those are excellent points and references FF. Thank you this is exactly the kind of thing I was hoping this thread could be used for, directing interested parties to films, video and internet clips tyhat show various examples of the lindy hop. The social and performance aspects are important, I was planning on giving some documentries next that involve discussions of lindy hop as well as showing clips of social dancing or social/non-performance demonstrations. I'll do this shortly.

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