It was the African-American community which evolved the Charleston from the late 1910s, taking its name from the harbour city of Charleston, South Carolina.
It’s popularity quickly grew, and by 1926, had been appropriated by white America and led to the biggest dance craze the world had ever seen.

It was in the 1920s, in Harlem, New York, where predominantly black dancers united the social and circle traditions of African dance with European partnered styling.
Lindy Hop was created from such early social dances as “Cakewalk”, “The Breakaway” and “Partnered Charleston”, as well as Tap.
Prestigious venues including The Savoy Ballroom, The Alhambra Ballroom and the Apollo Theatre saw the birth of Lindy Hop, a dance which swept its way across America. A joyous and defiant antidote to systemic racism, and the harsh realities of living under financial duress after the Great Depression.

Key Dancers
First wave-
– ’Shorty’ George Snowden, Leroy “Stretch” Jones, Twistmouth George, Edith Matthews, Mattie Pernell, Big Bea, Little Bea, and many more…

Second wave-
– Frankie, Manning, Norma Miller, Al Minns, Leon James, Willa Mae Wicker, Ann Johnson, and again many more…

Key Musicians/ Bands, and Singers
-Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart, and too many more to list here.

 

Video Links

‘Hellzapoppin’- 1941
Dancers– Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers- Frances “Mickey” Jones & William Downes, Norma Miller & Billy Ricker, Willa Mae Ricker & Al Minns, Ann Johnson & Frankie Manning.
Musicians– Slim Gaillard, Slam Stewart, Rex Stewart, Elmer Fane, Jap Jones, C.P. Jonstone.
‘A Day at The Races’- 1939
Dancers– Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers- Dorothy Miller & Johnny Innis, Norma Miller & Leon James, Willa Mae Ricker & Pettis Dotson “Snookie” Beasley, Ella Gibson & George Grenidge.
Singer– Ivie Anderson
‘Keep Punching’- The Big Apple Routine- 1939
Dancers– Tops Lee, Wilda Crawford, William Downes, Francis “Mickey” Jones, Joyce Daniels, Al Daniels, Norma Miller, George Grenidge, Frankie Manning, Lucille Middleton
‘Stormy Weather’- 1943
Dancers– Featuring Katherine Dunham and her Troupe
Musicians– Bill Robinson & Cab Calloway