It’s been almost a century since Swing dance was born in the United States. Before the crazy 20s society and dances would imitate the fashion and dance styles from Europe. The first steps were in New Orleans, but also Chicago, Kansas City or New York contributed to the rise of Swing Dance during the “great depression” times.
Swing music used the same instruments as its predecessor, Jazz, being both inextricably linked. Such is this bond, that Swing is also known as Jazz Swing. However, the biggest difference is that Swing uses biggest orchestras, known as Big Bands.
Shortly after its own dance style followed: Lindy Hop. At first, it was primarily danced by african americans in the south, but soon it would extend to the rest of the States, as well as Europe. In Germany, it became a way of opposing an oppresive goverment that would not allow anything against the party’s discipline. This can be seen in the 1933 movie Swing Kids, directed by Thomas Carter and where the choreographer Otis Sallid received the “American Choreograhy Award”.
Lindy hop is not the only dance styled tied to Swing. Shortly after the Charleston dance appeared with the song of the same name: “Charleston”, by Elisabeth Welch. It has several variations, such as Jitteburg, Collegiate Shag (or Shag), Jive or Balboa. The latter became very popular as it adapted to the crowded dancefloors of the time, as it would allow dancing occupying minimal space.
Little by little, Swing would lead space to Rock, and Rock to Pop during the 60s. Starting in the 80s, Swing would return, being present still today. If we listen carefully, we can hear Swing in radios, jingles, advertisements and in every corner of our cities. Nowadays, it is still alive thanks to the passion of the dancers. You’ll get to see them in any square of your city in what is know as “Social dance”, all full of energy and with a smile on their faces.