Nobody can define the day or the hour, in which the Lindy Hop or any other one of the swing dances was born. However, it is agreed that the decades between the two world wars were the cradle of a new and intense musical culture in the United States, in which African Americans played the main role.
All swing dances developed in response to an exciting musical novelty: Jazz. Breaking with the heavily normatised principles of classical music and dance, jazz incited a significant cultural liberation. One of the legendary scenes was the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York - famed for the greatest bands and visited by the best dancers, who were all African American. Since there were no "right" or "wrong" moves, dancers would copy from each other and mash up different styles, which is why all swing dances are characterised by creativity and playfulness.
Despite the Savoy being in a black neighbourhood, young white people soon started visiting as well, lured by the excellence of the featured bands. Eventually, the Savoy became the first inclusive venue across the United States, which was unique in a time of strict racial segregation. Regardless of skin colour, people would engage in a vibrant social exchange on the dancefloor. Still today, acceptance and sociability are core values of the swing dance community.
No introduction text could ever do credit to the dazzling world of jazz without skipping or oversimplifying. This is why we encourage you to take a deep breath, dive in and explore by yourself. Below, we have listed some of the styles we dance and teach. Simply hover over the images for a brief characterisation and click for a video to give you a better idea. We are certain that what you find will speak for itself.
I'm intrigued. What should I do next?
If you would like to try out swing dancing, we recommend taking a crash course at the next swing dance party in your area. Not only will you learn some cool moves to keep you dancing for the whole night, but you will also experience the joy of social dancing! Check our event calendar for upcoming dates.
If you want to make swing dancing your new hobby, you can sign up for one of our beginner classes. Simply find your preferred town on our homepage. The link will take you straight to the local swing dance association, where you can complete your registration.
Do I need a partner to take dance classes?
You don't need a partner to sign up for a dance class. Swing dances are social dances, so there will be partner changes during class. Not only will you improve your dancing skills and flexibility, but also you will be able to dance with everybody.
Changing Partners? How does that work?
During class, we usually rotate partners 1 - 2 times per song. This is to practice leading and following skills, since every partner feels a little different.
On the social dancefloor, it is common to dance 1 - 2 songs with the same partner. Feel free to actively ask someone for your next dance - it doesn't matter whether you're a lady or a gent!
What should I wear for dancing?
In dance class, it is most important for you to be comfortable. Flat shoes with a smooth sole, flexible trousers and a t-shirt should do just fine. If you tend to sweat a lot, you might want to bring an extra t-shirt or a towel. Make sure you're a pleasant partner to dance with - this includes personal hygiene like deodorant and a fresh breath.
For a swing dance party you may come as you are, or you may bring out those vintage-y outfits and dress up a little! Many dancers like wearing smart slacks or a pretty dress. Top it off with a bow tie or a flower in your hair, and you're ready to party like it's 1929!
When will I be ready for my first swing dance party?
You are ready ANYTIME.
Back in the 1930s swing dancing classes didn't exist. If someone wanted to learn the Lindy Hop, they went out to one of the many ballrooms and tried to copy what everyone else was doing. Sometimes, they would also come up with a new move... Almost 100 years later, this still works! You can go to a social dance anytime, anywhere - there will always be someone who's happy to show you a move or two, if you ask nicely.
In the end, there is only one way to learn dancing: by going out and dancing!