Lindyhop is an American Dance art form. It evolved on the East Coast of America in the clubs of Harlem, New York. To put it in to a wider context, Harlem was in the throws of the Harlem Renaissance. This flourished between 1918 through to the mid nineteen thirties. At this time there was an enormous creative, artistic energy eminating from the Harlem area. Dance, music, Poetry and writing all took a move forward during this time. The popular music of the time, jazz, was moving from the Dixieland style and into a more Swing style. Swing Dancing, Lindy Hop, Lindyhop, call it what you will, became the dance style for the music. The two were a match made in heaven!
Famous dancers of the day who utilised the Lindyhop Style included the Nicholas Brothers. Like many other artists of the time they were consumate tap dancers and singers. That said, their beautiful Lindy Hop dance moves were nothing short of stunning. One of the most famous and revered entertainers of the twentieth century started out as a dancer specialising in Swing, Lindyhop and Tap. The person in mind? Sammy Davis Junior, who started out as a child entertainer with his family act, the Will Mastin Trio.
Lindy Hop The Swing Bands
So who were the Lindyhop Dancers dancing to? By the late twenties there were some sensational Swing Bands playing in the New York, Harlem area. They included Duke Ellington, Fletcher Henderson, Fats Waller and Luis Russell
These band leaders, many of them superb musicians and composers in their own right, employed some of the best musicians around. Louis Amstrong worked for Fletcher Henderson and later even took over Luis Russels band. As well as small clubs in Harlem such as the Nest, the Cotton Club and Smalls Paradise, people flocked to larger venues to Lindy hop such as the Roseland Ballroom in Midtown New York. Some of these clubs would have been white people only, some would have been for black people only, such were the racial attitudes of the times. A trip up to Harlem, for musicians or dancers, is a form of pilgrimage! Just to be outside where great music was played by amazing swing bands and danced to by stunning swing dancers makes us smile!
Lindy Hop Swing Band
Mississippi Swing has one reason to exist, that is to supply Lindyhop dancers with the perfect band to dance to. As a swing band they understand all the requirements of the experienced and not so experienced dancer. They are:
- Tempo is King. Dancers like certain tempos. Mississippi Swing know these tempos and play them
- Length of songs. Dancers like a 3 and a half/4 minute song to dance to. Forget those long jazz solos!
- Repertoire. Mississippi Swing play Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glen Miller and Benny Goodman!
If you want to contact Mississippi Swing and discuss having them at your next dance, call Jeff on 07747 801471 to discuss our fees. Travel is no barrier to a performance. Often our band is asked to appear after a dance lesson, often our band is asked to appear as part of a swing dance weekender. Sometimes we work with dance companies for events and parties.