What is this thing called swing dancing?
“Get down! Get low! Get sassy! Stay low to the ground! Don’t be afraid to bend your legs! Lower! This ain’t no Riverdance, people!”
On the surface, swing dancing is the name that encompasses the many different and varied dance styles that came out of the 'Swing era' in the 30's and 40's. However, these styles all share commonalities and all ties back to their jazz roots and the black American culture they were born from.
Today, the most popular and widespread type of swing dancing is the 'Lindy Hop.' It's joyful and playful, meant to get your body 'swinging'. Grounded to the music and connected to a partner, its a truly unique form of spontaneous self expression. Lindy hop danced from New York to Amsterdam, London to Adelaide and all the way down here in New Zealand too.
Like all forms of dancing, swing dancing has evolved over the years to become what it is today. However, there is still the strong connection to the African-American roots that inspired it in the early 30's. Today, swing dancers have the privilege of being able to take joy from a dance form that was born in a place where black Americans were denied dancing in the same spaces as white Americans. Swing dancing (in particular blues dancing), was born from a culture of oppression, and we are fortunate enough to be able to keep it alive today.