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Famous vintage clips of Lindy Hop

Two dance couples dance the Lindy Hop in a vintage black and white photo

Watching old Lindy Hop clips from the 1930's and 40's was so inspiring it sparked off the revival in the 1980’s. Here are some of those clips that made people go goo-goo at the knees. Presented in historical order, they tell the story of Lindy Hop.

Seben, 1929

First up we’ve got Seben. These couples are dancing the Charleston, and the third couple includes George “Shortie George” Snowden, where we get the name Shorty George from. If you watch the third couple closely you can see them break away from each other, which is an early form of swing out. You’re watching what could possibly be the birth of Lindy Hop!

A Day at the Races, 1937

Eight years on, this clip features Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, the best performance troupe of the time, which later included Frankie Manning. The second couple stars Norma Miller, who’s still alive and kicking today, teaching us to dance. This clip is full of familiar jam circle moves and aerials.

Keep Punchin’, 1939

This shows off that most intimidating of floor routines, the Big Apple, choreographed by Frankie Manning. If you Lindy Hop for long enough you too will get the chance to learn it, but it’s a tough cookie!

Hellzapoppin’, 1941

The most famous clip of all, this showcases the raw power and energy of Lindy Hop in all it’s glory. It also features Frankie Manning the most famous Lindy Hopper of them all, who is in the fourth couple.

Buck Privates, 1941

The other famous Lindy Hoppers, Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan dance in this clip. Jewel McGowan had some of the greatest swivels ever! This is the most famous clip of them dancing.

Groovie Movie, 1944

A humorous take on how to swing dance!

Don’t Knock the Rock, 1956

Here you can see the beginning of how Lindy Hop started to change to fit the music of the time. The dancers here were all Lindy Hoppers, and they were used to dancing to jazz. They were asked to dance to this, so they naturally changed their style to feel what was in the music. Watch the humorous moment at 50 sec when they try to do a Lamppost that goes wrong, they laugh it off and keep dancing!

Australian Jitterbug Championships, circa 1947

And finally, a little slice of home. Here are some competitive couples strutting their stuff on stage to a bewildered commentator. Probably held in Sydney.

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Frankie Manning
Frankie Manning
Feb 18, 2019

I really like this dancin'! They have the moves! hehe!

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