Lindy Hop: That Crazy Energetic Dance
Have you heard of the Time Warp series on Discovery Channel?
They took a teacher from MIT, Boston, and paired him with a high speed camera expert. Expect only fireworks! With camera shots at 20,000 frames per second, making a 1-second shot last as long as 8 minutes, they explain the principles of physics in simple everyday activities.
Anyways, I saw one episode where they focused their high speed camera wizardry on one specific dance style: the Lindy Hop.
The Lindy Hop is really really fast-paced! People are jumping around, throwing each other and tapping their feet faster than you can click your mouse. They pull each other and gain momentum to do all their stunts. Well, it’s more than just stunts!
Really, you must see this dance for yourself! Possibly one of the more famous Lindy Hop scenes in Hollywood, this 2:23 minute video is from a 1941 movie called Hellzapoppin’:
Did you count the number of times their feet left the ground?
A History of the Lindy Hop
It turns out that the Lindy Hop is named after one character – Charles Lindbergh – who cross the Atlantic in a single flight in 1927. Now we all know how difficult it is to get a branch of knowledge named after you (even the Russians couldn’t make cosmonauts a household term). But hey, if you’re the first person to fly non-stop across the Atlantic sea (from New York to Paris), you’re the man!
Anyways, this trend started in Harlem, New York and fused many dance styles prevalent at that time. That was in the 1920s, the Swing Era.
Lindy Hop went through a resurgence in the 1980s, started appearing in movies and commercials, and continues till today. There’s even an international competition in Sweden that brings together the world’s best Lindy hoppers.
Back to the Time Warp video. It features this woman rotating left to right to left to right to a full circle, while going down on one foot. This woman, it turns out, is pure genius.
You know, Carla Heiney
A few more YouTube searches for the genius that is Carla Heiney results in some awesome gems. The following 2:43 minute video is considerably slower than what you saw in Hellzepoppin’, but is exciting nonetheless. Do note the guy’s funky pants:
Dude! Look at the male dancer’s perspective in the above video. You get to wear funky maroon pants, jump around like you’re really having fun and, most importantly, have Carla Heiney crawling all over and under you – without touching the ground.
Yes, yes, the Time Warp Video
I thought you almost forgot and won’t even ask! Tch tch tch, don’t worry readers. Discovery channel has the video archived online, though only a short clip of it. (You wouldn’t have watched the whole show, anyway!)
After the painful 15 second ad that you must bare, do check out the Discovery Channel: Time Warp: Lindy Spin video.
This Lindy Hop sure looks like fun. That is, after you can do it!
Happy Lindy Hoppin’
(Photo: The Killer Dillers)