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Swing 101 — 20 Original Lindy Hoppers Every Beginner Should Know (Or At least See Dance)

February 25, 2014

Chances are most beginner dancers will hear the name Frankie Manning at some point in the first couple of months of their dancing. But how long will they dance before they hear the names Jewel McGowan, Lenny Smith, Jean Veloz, or Leon James? Or, more importantly, see them dance?

In my opinion, the sooner a beginner dancer sees the great dance voices of the past, the sooner they can get excited and draw inspiration from those great voices. (Hence, it’s not all that important that a beginner dancer know all the names — just that they see the amazing but different things Lindy Hop meant to all these great individuals in the dance.)

And that’s what this video is for, which doesn’t even cover all of the 1930s & 40s dancers of note and hardly any of the post WWII generation’s. Hence, it’s just a starting point. But don’t worry, there’s a “20 More…” list coming.

The 20 (Okay, there are more than 20) dancers are:

1. Shorty George
2. “Big” Bea
3. Frankie Manning
4. Ann Johnson
5. Jewel McGowan
6. Dean Collins
7. Leon James
8. Norma Miller
9. “Snookie” Beasely
10. Willa Mae Ricker
11. George Greenidge (invented a lot of the Lindy Charleston moves)
12. Arthur Walsh
13. Jean Veloz
14. Lenny Smith
15. Al Minns
16. Pepsi Bethel
17. Irene Thomas
18. William Downes
19. Mickey Jones
20. Hal Takier
21. Betty Takier
22. Gil Brady

Other dancers mentioned are Ella Gibson, Sugar Sullivan, Alice Scott & Chuck Saggau — all also good dancers in their own right. Sugar still teaches today.

The clips are, in order of appearance:

After Seben

See Uncle Sol

Hellzapoppin

Keep Punching “The Big Apple”

Frankie Manning Montage

Buck Privates

The Powers Girl

Hi Neighbor

Bobby McGees Dance Party

Day At The Races

Helzapoppin (again)

Norma Miller’s Lindy Hoppers

Groovie Movie

Swing Fever

Twice Blessed

Jean Veloz Dancing

Helzapoppin (Again)

Tranke Doo from The Spirit Moves

The “Playboy Clip”

The Spirit Moves

Al Minns in NY

Swing Shift Swing

Grovie Movie (again)

Irene Thomas dancing at Bobby McGees

Helzapoppin (again)

Twice Blessed (again)

Bobby McGees Dance Party (again)

Don’t Knock the Rock

Rock That Swing

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Shannan Brown permalink
    February 26, 2014 2:04 am

    Love your work mate.

  2. April 29, 2014 2:12 am

    What a delightful collection! i can’t stop watching Jean, she just blows me away and for me, it the quintessential jitterbug! I love her young, but watching older Jean and the way she still moves is stunning! Thanks for putting to together and sharing!

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