Lindy Hop, East Coast Swing, Jitterbug - Semantics

To Joe Lanza aka Black Sheep,
I read your Black Sheep material with interest. So many people use the terms Lindy (or Lindy Hop), East Coast Swing, and Jitterbug, interchangeably, including many dance teachers. To me they are very different. As one who was there, how would you define these terms and are they different as I suggest or the same as so many others hold?

Gary Van Meter
Resource Development Coordinator
Ventura College

Four hundred years ago, Shakespeare had the answer to you questions, "A rose by any other name is still a rose."

In August 1935 Benny Goodman at the Palomar Ballroom in Hollywood, California brought down the house with his new brand of Swing Music, and Jitterbug came to be called Swing Dancing. The dance form did not change one iota overnight; the only thing that changed was the 'NAME' from Jitterbug to Swing only on the West coast. But New Yorkers, and I was one, kept on calling the dance the Lindy Hop even after WW II. The Lindy Hop has had various names since it's origination in the 1920's'; Charles Lindbergh's flight over the Atlantic in May 22, 1927 was the inspiration for the new Savoy ballroom dance being named the 'Lindy Hop'.
I stopped dancing in 1962, and returned to dancing in November 1999, and the only significant difference I saw in today's Swing /Lindy compared to our dancing the Swing/Lindy in the 1950's was that our style was as smooth as silk, and we strove never to break rhythm or lose a beat, no matter how complicated the aerial or dance combination; this style of dancing takes a lot more practice and technical knowledge. Our best example or this type of 1950's Lindy Hop style in Southern California today is Min Vo, and a close second is Anthony Wynn.
Last Friday night May 16th, Rusty, one of our better Lindy/ Swing dancers was resting in a chair next to me, and he opened the conversation with, "You know Joe, I like to cause a ruckus also"; which brought out an unexpected laughter from both of us. His 'ruckus' was caused when he got into a heavy discussion on 'Styling', being the only one opposed by a small group of dissidents. Although my commentaries weren't meant to cause a 'ruckus', evidently some of them have, because I have been threatened three times with physical violence, been called a 'big mouth' who gets his facts wrong, been accused of spreading 'hate', been informed by one of the leading Venue hosts that I was 'blackballed' by all the ladies, and was even aggressively shoved in the chest by a married man who quickly disappeared behind his wife before any possible repercussions were possible to his blotched nose job by a 1980's plastic surgeon.
So the questions Gary posed are basically the source of much of the controversy that is going on in Southern California since I came out with my commentary comparing West Coast Swing (WCS) with East Coast Swing (ECS).
However, I believe I pretty much covered defining dance terms in general in a Commentary, 'Dance Definitions' (5-2-03) . But at the risk of encouraging more violent threats and calumnious attacks, I will 'Revisit' this controversial question if there any other questions on this subject.

Black Sheep

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