What Is Lindy Hop

The Lindy hop

Is an American dance that evolved in Harlem, New York City, in the 1920s and 1930s and originally evolved with the jazz music of that time. It was very popular during the Swing era of the late 1930s and early 1940s.

Lindy hop today is danced as a social dance, as a competitive dance, as a performance dance, and in classes, workshops, and camps. In each, partners may dance alone or together, with improvisation a central part of social dancing and many performance and competition

the 2009 Strictly Come Dancing final the Lindy hop was performed by the two remaining contestants. In the eighth season of the US version of Dancing with the Stars, it was added to the list of dances along with the Charleston

In its development, the Lindy hop combined elements of both partnered and solo dancing by using the movements and improvisation of black dances along with the formal eight-count structure of European partner dances – most clearly illustrated in the Lindy’s basic step, the swingout. In this step’s open position, each dancer is generally connected hand-to-hand

There was renewed interest in the dance in the 1980s from American, Swedish, and British dancers and the Lindy hop is now represented by dancers and loosely affiliated grass-roots organizations in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

Lindy hop tends to be concentrated in small local scenes in cities in each of these countries, although regional, national, and international dance events bring dancers from many of these scenes together. Local swing dance communities in each city and country feature different local cultures. The concept of a Lindy exchange, a gathering of Lindy hop dancers in one city for several days to dance with visitors and locals, enables different communities to share their ideas with others.


In the 1980s, American and European dancers from California, New York, Sweden and London went about “reviving” Lindy hop using archival films such as Hellzapoppin’ and A Day at the Races and by contacting dancers such as Frankie ManningAl MinnsNorma MillerJewel McGowan and Dean Collins. In the mid-to-late 1990s  and A Day at the Races and by contacting dancers such as Frankie ManningAl MinnsNorma MillerJewel McGowan and Dean Collins.

In the mid-to-late 1990s the popularity of neo swing music of the swing revival stimulated mainstream interest in the dance. The dance was propelled to wide visibility after it was featured in movies such as Swing Kids in 1993 and in the “Kakhis Swing” television commercials for GAP in 1998.

The popularity led to the founding of local Lindy hop dance communities in many cities.


The Lindy hop was born in African American communities in Harlem, New York, in the United States, from about 1927 into the early 1930s.

Frankie Manning was part of a new generation of Lindy hoppers, and is the most celebrated Lindy hopper in history. Al Minns and Pepsi BethelLeon James, and Norma Miller are also featured prominently in contemporary histories of Lindy hop. Some sources credit Manning, working with his partner Freida Washington, for inventing the ground-breaking “Air Step” or “aerial” in 1935. One source credits Al Minns and Pepsi Bethel as among those who refined the air step.

An Air Step is a dance move in which at least one of the partners’ two feet leave the ground in a dramatic, acrobatic style. Most importantly, it is done in time with the music. Air steps are now widely associated with the characterization of Lindy hop, despite being generally reserved for competition or performance dancing, and not generally being executed on any social dance floor.