The First Swing Dance!

The word Swing was first related to dance in San Francisco in the Barbary Coast area. Shortly after the 1906 earth quake a new dance was being done and swelled in popularity. By 1910 Texas Tommy Swing was a featured dance in the Barbary Coast with references being made in dozens of newpaper and magazine articles. Particularly interesting was the Russian Ballet's Prima Donna, saying how unique the dance was, energizing, and was going to bring it back to Russia and teach it to her troupe.

This is the birth of the word Swing in reference to dancing. A genre of dances done to a specfiic kind of jazz music.

The Texas Tommy Swing is the precursor to the lindy hop, and as such uses the break away and jazz steps from the popular dances at the time, that later become trademarks of the lindy hop.

Swing Music had been played across the country more than twenty years before Benny Goodman ever started touring the West Coast. The Texas Tommy Swing became known as Texas Tommy and simply Swing as the years went on evolving becoming more and more centered around the open figures. Mixed with regional styles in Southern California Swing became an independantly popular dance before Benny Goodman's trip.

The idea that Lindy hop was the only dance being done is just not accurate. The idea that what was called lindy hop in new york after very important structural changes have been made, is not accurate. The idea that two dances evolved from the same root dance don't bear striking resembalance to each other, and are capable of dancing together is not accurate.
Texas Tommy Swing was the dance of the day in the Barbary Coast. One of the greatest places for it was Lou Purcell's So Different. Located midway down Pacific St. In SF on the North side of the street between Columbus and Montgomery.

This dance hall was home to the California Poppies, an interracial Texas Tommy Swing team. It was members of this team that were taken on tour introducing the dance to the country, and finally ending up in New York City.

Here is a Picture of some friends in front of the site of Lou Purcell's So Different, during a mini-tour of the Barbary Coast's historical sites I gave during the San Francisco Lindy Challenge weekend.

From left to right: Johnny Lee, Bethany Certa, Peter Loggins, Ria DiBiase, Damon Stone (me).

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