LINDY
The Man And The Dance
Kurt Lichtmann
Faculty, Ithaca College & Cornell University, Ithaca NY
"The opinions expressed are my own, and not to be construed as official posiitons or opinions of either above institution."


Charles Lindbergh

Swing music and dance were felt to epitomize the American cultural ideals of the '30s and '40s. This was the official mass media point of view. Big band swing, freedom of expression, and patriotism walked hand in hand (Benny Goodman said so!) And in the early '30s, Americans were delighted to have the name "Lindy" or "Lindy Hop" for their beloved dance craze. Not only a dance, but even steets and entire towns had been named after world famous pioneer/hero Charles A. Lindbergh.

The first man to boldy fly across the Atlantic Ocean in his plane The Spirit of St. Louis, "Lindy" (as he was affectionately called by all) was honored by every nation. He received numerous large monetary awards, which he invariably returned, with the request that they be donated to charities. Charles A. Lindbergh was an international hero.

So how come... by the late '30s, the media and vast majority of dancers outside of New York City had adopted JITTERBUG as the generic name for ALL forms of swing dance? JITTERBUG was a new name, NOT a new dance. Why was LINDY dropped like a hot potato? Even Harlem orchestras like Chick Webb and Cab Calloway (who coined the new name) recorded songs plenty of songs about JITTERBUG, and almost nothing about LINDY? WHY?








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