Why the music matters
Swing Dancing was born side by side Swing Music in the early 1930’s. The Great Depression had just set in the people found their joy in the music they heard on the one item a family just couldn’t bear to give up: their radio. The music they heard was that of of Benny Goodman, Chick Webb, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Glenn Miller and more. Along with this new music came new dances, like Shag, Balboa, and Lindy Hop.
In Harlem, at the Savoy Ballroom, the best Swing Dancers in the world would gather every night to dance to the greatest bands in the world, and show off their new steps. It is here that such great musicians as Chick Webb, Erskine Hawkins, and Ella Fitzgerald all got their start. Those who lived in the neighborhood lived and breathed this music, and each day they would save their pennies for a chance to experience the sheer joy that is Swing.
It was at the Savoy that famous dancers like Shorty George, Norma Miller, and Frankie Manning were creating new steps that would become that foundations of what we now call Lindy Hop, the most popular of all the Swing Dances.
Meanwhile, in sunny southern California, dancers were hearing the sounds of the same great bands on the radio, and seeing bands like Glenn Miller and Benny Goodman, The King of Swing, on their many tours through the country. Not having Facebook or Twitter, they didn’t get to see much of what the dancers in New York were doing, and started to develop their own style, which would be named after where they danced: The Balboa Peninsula.
These are just a small sample of dances that came out of this era, but all of them had one thing in common: The sheer driving joy of the music that was taking the nation by storm. Just when the country needed an escape from the troubles of everyday life, along came Swing.
Finding the perfect song to practice all your new moves to can be challenging sometimes when you don’t know where to start. That’s why we have gone ahead and put together a playlist to get you dancing! Enjoy!