Since 2009, champion swing dancer, international instructor, and Jazz dance historian Bobby White has published thoughts and essays on swing-era dances, and the modern scene that loves them, here at Swungover.

Please note:

I am a White person discussing Black American Art forms like Jazz and dances based on Black American artistic and cultural values. Though I work hard to do so responsibly, I make mistakes.

As with all history, oral or written, these articles and insights are not the objective truth, but an interpretation of it, specific to a time, and place, and the resources being drawn from.

About Bobby White

Bobby is an international swing dance instructor with a sordid past in newspaper, magazine, and fiction writing. He has won championships of many different sorts, and teaches Balboa, Lindy hop, and individual jazz dance with multiple partners across the world, where he gives talks on both history and personal adventures in jitterbug history.

He is honored to to be the co-founder of the Harvest Moon Hoppers and founder of the Swung Furies, New York-based performance groups that hope to honor the Black American pioneers of performance Lindy hop such as the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, Mama Lu Parks Dancers, and Harvest Moon Ball competitors from 1935 to 1989.

If you would like to hire Bobby for his swing dancing services please email him at robertwhiteiii@gmail.com or visit www.swingbobby.com.

He coined the word “swungover” to describe the sensation he, and, he imagined, the entire swing scene, felt the Monday following Frankie Manning’s emotional and physically cathartic 95th birthday/memorial weekend in May, 2009.

To contact Swungover, please send an email to robertwhiteiii@gmail.com

About Chelsea Lee, (editor)

Chelsea edited most of the posts from 2011-2020.

Chelsea is a professional editor and swing dance enthusiast living in Washington, DC. With her partner David Lee she travels to dance weekends throughout the U.S. and Canada, teaches dance, and has won several championships in Balboa and Collegiate Shag. When she is not fixing grammar or dancing, Chelsea enjoys cultivating her personal sense of style and making post-it-note vocabulary lists of new words inside of whatever book she is reading. She is proud to be a part of Swungover.

[Author’s Note: If an entry seems free of grammar and spelling mistakes, you can be assured Chelsea Lee has edited it. If a post is full of mistakes, I guarantee Chelsea hasn’t seen it.]

If you’ve gotten something out of Swungover…

Please consider making a donation. It helps keep the site up and running.

About the header image…

This image was from one of the huge stadium-sized jitterbug contests in Southern California in 1938-39. The picture shows the reality of jazz-era dances rarely shown in “segregated” movies of the time. People of all colors and backgrounds shining and sharing swing dances with others. Yes, there were issues and problems and cultural appropriations. But there was also the Black American gift of swing and swing dance to the world. A gift that brought joy to millions. And still does.

Memory lane…

This is Swungover’s third iteration. Starting in 2009, it looked like this for two years:

Then, around 2011, we had a huge redesign, and it stayed with us until 2022, long past the expiration date of the WordPress theme:

Copyright Information

All material on this blog is copyright the year of its publication by Robert White. Though links and pingbacks to this website are welcome, you must have authorized permission before republishing any of this material in any form.

Basically, I appreciate greatly when you like something enough to send people to my site or link to an article. But please do not republish things without asking first.

35 responses to “About”

  1. Hello
    My name is Guenbin Lim of Korean swing dancer.
    I’m poor at English so sometime express wrong.
    I hope your understanding.
    I watch clip your performance with kate at ABW2009.
    It was fantastic!
    I have a faver ask of you. I can’t find song title of your performance. Let me know please.
    Have a nice day~

  2. As someone who books bands for a dancing night here in Vegas, I often get asked for feedback from the musicians. They want to play better for the dancers, but are puzzled as to how. I give them the best advice I can, always starting with a varying tempo throughout their set. But it’s a lot more complicated than that. I wonder if that’s an issue you would like to discuss in a post. A guide from a dancer to a musician who is playing a dancing gig.

    • Certainly it’s worth an entire post; and one easy enough for me to put together, so I’ll add that to the list.

      Please note that I ask that question to every band leader I’ve interviewed. Check out their responses; Glenn Crytzer, Jonathan Stout, Paul Cosentino. Josh Collazo talks briefly at the end of my video interview with him about Gene Krupa and how he kept a beat during his solos so that dancers could dance to him.

      In addition to what those guys say, my advice (spoiler to the upcoming article) is:

      (1) 3 minute and under songs, tempos vary but flow from one into the other without too far of a jump. So, no bipolar tempos changes throughout the night.

      (2) Rhythm section has to know how to swing. REALLY swing, and be solid. The Rhythm section can’t be the weakest part of the band.

      (3) If the soloists can improvise in a *somewhat* predictable manner, it’s fantastic. By predictable I mean that they use repetition, clear phrasing, and create a narrative with their solo that a dancer can follow along to. A person who solos in a more modern style with unpredictable tangents and ryhthms can be very sophisitcated, but if the dancer can’t follow along, the dancer won’t be able to “process it” and dance with it.

      That’s the difference between dancers and listeners: a listener follows the music with their ears, a dancer follows it with their feet. A good swing musician will look for the response to their music in how the dancers are responding to it with their dancing.

      This is not saying a soloist can’t switch it up and throw down a challenge. But they can still keep the dancers in mind when they do so. For instance, if a soloist throws out a wild and tricky rhythm, we love it if they repeat that rhythm a few more times in the course of their solo to give the dancers a chance to look for it and express it in their dancing.

      (4) if it’s a django style band, it’s best if they have an instrument that can resonate notes longer than a pluck — so, if they have a clarinet or violin — so that dancers don’t have a long night of interpreting the short plucks of picking guitars. Beautiful, but melodically repetitive (in my opinion) for three sets of dancing.

      • Hi Bobby,

        I was wondering if it would be possible for you to post a link to your mainpage about a music video we are creating?

        The bands who we are doing this for are called The Speakeasy Three (all girl three part haronies) and The Swing Ninjas (3-5 part multi instrument band)

        We are shooting this on a shoe string but it hasn’t stopped us getting some
        incredible equipment (such as Arri Motion picture cameras and Cinema
        lenses. We’ve set up a kickstarter page to help us with the last push for funds (about £600) to help us with actering and other expenses like travel etc. We are enlisting the help of the local (Brighton, UK) lindyhopper community and swing/jive dancers to comprise the dancefloor routines.
        They will be a mix of professionals and amateurs. We are hoping our campaign will do well but we need as much help as possible to achieve our goal.

        here’s the page:

        Thanks for your time.

  3. Hi Swungover,

    We love your site! We enjoyed it so much, in fact, that we’ve decided to feature it in our upcoming article, “It Don’t Mean a Thing: The Web’s Best Swing Dancing Resources.” As the title implies, the article is a list of the best swing dancing resources available on the web for individuals looking to learn to dance from home. Here is a preview of what your listing will look like:

    “At first glance, Swungover might seem a bit daunting. Author Bobby White is nothing if not ambitious – with a history of newspaper, magazine, and fiction writing, he’s finely crafted an in-depth and tireless look at the world of swing dancing. If you’re looking to learn some new steps, check out his Breakin’ it Down series, in which classic swing dancing clips are broken down step-by-step so even the clumsiest of beginners can shake their shoes.”

    If you have any questions or input that you think may improve your listing, please feel free to email me anytime at christian@bestdatingsites.com.

    Writer, BestDatingSites.com

  4. Dear Mr. Swungover,

    I’m sure with your abundant experience in Lindy Hop, you have a darn good thought process in your head of how one can improve his/her lindy hop all the way from beginner to, maybe even, the professional level. So, I was wondering…have you ever sat down to write out a philosophy of a step-by-step process for improving as a lindy hopper? If so, would you mind sharing it?

    Another Lindy Enthusiast

    • You’re right that coined is specifically suited to the case.

      I’ll return the favor. Why use “is clearly” when simply “is” appears to be more accurate?

      If it was so “clearly” the more accurate term, then why didn’t I use it in the first place? “Clearly” I didn’t think it was so clear. What happened is I didn’t use my Thesaurus and remember that there was a word coined that was very specific to my needs. “Invented” worked perfectly fine until someone came along and offered a more specific suggestion.

  5. I always enjoy your blog! I have a question that I am hoping you or someone else can help me with. A friend of mine, a lead, asked me how to become a better follow in lindy. He was looking for specific tips to improve his dancing; tips to make his style more like that of a follow (or, if you’ll excuse the gender generalization, “more girly”) and less like that of a lead, for when he’s following. Now, I should be able to answer this, because I AM a follow, but I was stumped. Do you have any recommendations for things he should work on, or websites that address common problems that leads have when they’re learning to follow? Thanks!

  6. I am a high school teacher in the USA (Indiana) and I teach a unit on Nazi Germany centered around the Swing Kids. Can you tell me when the photo was taken showing the German kids in someone’s apartment listening to records? Is that from the 1940s or sometime later????? Thanks! Dave Moore – Fairfield High School – Goshen, IN USA

  7. I’d love to see some description/contrasts of the different swing styles. I’ve heard/read about East Coast, Lindy, West Coast, Shag, etc. I like the shag style I’ve seen but wondered if other styles might be similar so I can find more classes in my area.

  8. Love your site. Question: Do you have any knowledge of what they mean in Downtown Strutters Ball when the say “Dance all over my shoes”? Is there a meaningful historical context?

  9. Dear Bobby and Kate,

    I wanted to share an opportunity for New York music lovers and dancers, that I think you will find intriguing. I am the Songbird and Bandleader of the 1940s band, Fleur Seule, a Manhattan based band that is reviving classic songs of the Big Band Era to great acclaim. I would appreciate your helping us spread the word to those who are interested in trying something new and different.

    Our new concept: LATIN SWING!


    It’s West Side Story! Join us for a night you’ve never had before!

    Fleur Seule unveils our new concept, LATIN SWING, for an evening of Mambo, Cha Cha, Swing, Samba, Rumba, Lindy Hop, Tango, and more!

    We want latin dancers to try swing and swing dancers to try old school latin dances to expand their repertoire of steps and styles, while staying true to Fleur Seule’s genre of the 1940s and 1950s.

    You can try dances that had the latin beat with swing moves.
    Think West Side Story in the gym: “Mambo!”

    There will be a FREE DANCE LESSON every week:

    Week 1 – Mambo
    Week 2 – Cha Cha
    Week 3 – Swing
    Week 4 – Rumba

    Iguana is a 3 story Salsa club located in midtown Manhattan with an excellent Tex/Mex fare and specialty drinks to enjoy as we take over the entire lower level dance floor and private bar for this exciting new night! 21+ with valid ID.

    $15 Cash Cover for Music, Lesson, and Dancing all night.
    Iguana – 240 West 54th Street btwn 7th/8th Ave. Entrance is street level. Doors open at 8:00pm.

    Thank you for helping Fleur Seule on our mission to revive great old music we believe cannot be forgotten.

    Please visit our website for more information: http://www.fleurseule.com

    I can be reached at any time for questions or further details. You are of course most welcome to join us!

    All the best,

    Allyson Briggs, Fleur Seule

  10. Hey Bobby, great website. Thought a great piece to write on might be the history and evolution or de-evolution…hehe of lindy hop to west coast swing. It seems Skippy Blair is the one who coined west coast, west coasters tend to say Dean is their founder, yet Dean said it all came from Lindy. Kind of interesting. Seems a huge amount of the ballroom influenced swing dancers, dancing w the stars get up in arms when you try to tell them they are basically doing just a fraction of lindy hop. Any thoughts? Would really be interested in what you would dig up? Thanks again for such a great website. PS, met you briefly in Anchorage for the Bal event their. I was the Fairbanks friends with Augie. Cheers!

  11. Hi Bobby,
    My name is Orchid Bae. I am the organizer at Shanghai Swings. I’d like to ask for your permission to translate the article Swing Scene vs. Max into Chinese.

  12. You’ve done a good job of calling out some of the disgusting behavior in the swing scene, but I’ve noticed that some of the more popular people get a free pass. Do you think people like this should be banned from events like Lindy Focus? Or is it different because you work with him? https://pasteboard.co/Hej6oLQ.png

    • Hello there,

      I do not think anyone responsible for dangerous behavior should be given a free pass whether I know them or not.

      I am sending your comment and picture onto the authorities at Lindy Focus, for what it’s worth.

  13. Love this website! I think one of you should contact me regarding some of the wonderful artists who obviously fascinate you, as they do me. One of them is Jewel McGowan. I knew her husband, K.F. “Truck” Krone. He was the playback man at Columbia Pictures on The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again, and later a top ABC lighting director. It was at Columbia that he met and fell in love with Jewel, when she was a Jack Cole dancer working on numerous Columbia films.

  14. Hey Bobby, Great website!

    I work in “Moreshet”, AvHolocaust education and research institute
    In the upcoming mothns, we are working on an educational platform for youth that will deal with the subject of the rise of Nazism and the every-day life of people under the Nazi regime from 33` until 39`. As part of our search for visual materials, I came across your essay on “Swing-kids”.

    is there any way can get your permission (or who is the owner of the pictures) to use some of the footage that you published on your website?

    Rottem Bar Israel

    Educational coordinator – Moreshet institution,

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