by Rennie McDougall
Limbs flail as if about to fly off; feet barely touch the floor; spines bend and twist like rubber. You might not think of the Lindy hop as a frenzied dance — the original abandon would get polished away over time. Watching it today, especially in old clips like Frankie Manning’s swing sequence in Hellzapoppin’, from 1941, you can see the seeds that would later become vogue ballroom, hip-hop, krumping.
It’s often said that the closing of the Savoy Ballroom, the Lindy hop’s great cathedral until 1958, was the death of swing, at least until its resurrection in the 1980s. For the dancers of the Savoy themselves, however, swing never died. Some of the place’s legends are even still dancing.