The Lindy Hop
is an African American dance
, based on the popular Charleston
and named for Charles Lindbergh
's Atlantic crossing in 1927. It evolved in New York City
in the 1920s and '30s and originally evolved with the jazz
music of that time. Lindy was a fusion of many dances that preceded it or were popular during its development but is mainly based on jazz
. It is frequently described as a jazz dance
and is a member of the swing dance
Lindy Hop entered mainstream American culture in the 1930s, gaining popularity through multiple sources. Dance troupes, including the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers (also known as the Harlem Congaroos), Hot Chocolates and Big Apple Dancers exhibited the Lindy Hop. Hollywood films, such as Hellzapoppin' and A Day at the Races began featuring the Lindy Hop in dance sequences. Dance studios such as those of Arthur Murray and Irene and Vernon Castle began teaching Lindy Hop.
Social lindy hop dancing (social meaning unchoreographed) varies in each city and country, with each local scene having its own unique dance etiquette and social conventions. Generally, lindy hop is danced by a lead and follow partnership, with the lead most frequently being a man, and the follow being a woman. Social lindy hop not only involves partners dancing unchoreographed dances, but also a range of other traditions and activities. Jam circles, are a tradition dating back to the 1930s and earlier in African American vernacular dance culture, and have much in common with musical cutting contests in jazz. Malcolm X describes 'jam circles' in his autobiography as a loose circle forming around a couple or individual whose dancing was so impressive it captured the attention of dancers around them, who would stop and watch, cheering and clapping. This tradition continues in most lindy hop communities today, with other couples interrupting, joining, or replacing the original couple in the cleared 'circle'. Dancers usually leave or enter at the end of a musical phrase. Lindy Hop today is danced as a social dance, as a competitive dance, as a performance dance, and in classes, workshops, and camps.