Is Lindy on the Endangered species list?

#1
Lindy lovers,
Subject: Is Lindy on the Endangered species list?
In 1946 I was living in make shift dormitories at the University of Miami which happened to be a former Army Air Force airport. It was just after WW II, and we war veterans ironically were still living in the abandoned barracks from the war. We only had to walk a hundred yards or so to get to the airport terminal to guzzle our nightly beers.
Every night for the three semesters I attended the University, the airport terminal was full to capacity with Puerto Ricans waiting for their flights in route to New York.
When I had returned to New York after the war in 1945, the End of the War Celebrations lasted for weeks with everybody dancing the 'Lindy Hop' in the cordoned off streets for the Block Parties. Lindy was danced almost exclusively by the millions of New Yorkers in 1945.
When I again returned for my parent's 50th anniversary in 1951, the Lindy Hop was still very popular, but the Latin dances began to make significant incursion into the dance crowd's popularity. As I returned each year thereafter, the Latin dances increased in popularity until by 1955 or so, in New York the Lindy Hop was history.
Can the Lindy Hop become history in Southern California? Not necessarily! But there has to be a long term strategy if Swing/Lindy is to hold on. I know I am repeating my self when I offer a strategy to nurture our American National Dance, the Lindy Hop, a strategy which I will repeat with the hope that some of those Venue Hosts hear the voice in the wilderness. What happened in New York in the 1950's with the massive migrations of Puerto Ricans into New York has been happening with the massive Latin immigrations into Southern California. They come into this country like all immigrants with a great desire to become culturally Americanized.
The Lindy Hop is about as American as apple pie. Why not make it easy to learn Swing/Lindy so that we can begin to convert the new comers into Lindy Hopping dancers? If our American cultural treasure, the Lindy Hop/Swing is to survive, we have to nurture this American sport in any way possible.
One solution is to start hiring Swing teachers who will focus on a few basic steps with simple combinations concentrating on the syncopated rhythm, and agile footwork so the students can feel the sensation of moving rhythmically with the music instead of teaching fancy combinations that have students walking around in mind boggling patterns like robots that are forgotten by the time the student hits the street. All these ultra fancy swing combinations that too many teachers use on their lessons may be impressive to the novitiates, but very often are not even leadable.
There is a common saying that holds true in any learning school of endeavor. And I hope no one takes it personal, but like a good Sicilian might say, "I don't mean this in a bad way, but 'Keep It Simple S _ _ _ _ _!'"

See you at the Suzy Q on Fridays where Tise and Nick 'Keep it simple'.

Black Sheep
 
#2
I am a hardcore lindy hopper, organizer, and dj on the national scene (I also do WCS and Argentine Tango for fun.). Lindy hop is stronger now in a lot of ways than it was before the resurgence of swing back in 1997. It just isn't in the mainstream as much. We take a grassroots approach where I am from. We all got caught up in a lot of national combination events (lindy/wcs/hustle) in the last few years and Lindy has mutated a bit as a result of music exposre. A lot of us are trying to keep an eye on where it came from by hosting all - Lindy camps and comps ( Lindy Summit in L.A. is going to be great, btw.). Don't worry about Lindy Hop. There are plenty of us out there who love it and are making sure we share that love on a local level while dancing throughout the world.
 

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