Forum: General / Ballroom / Swing

Roots of Swing
By dancesmith Comments: 30, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Tue Feb 10, 2009 03:05 PM

Malaika has said she's going to miss Frankie Manning's 95th birthday celebration since she'll be in Nairobi. Perhaps not a totally inappropriate excuse.

One of my favorite books on dance is "Jazz Dance: The Story of American Vernacular Dance" by Marshall and Jean Stearns. The first chapters have a fascinating story about how certain steps from Africa are very recognizable to steps found in Lindy. Even though it was generations removed, those same steps reemerged in Harlem in the 30's to become the Lindy.

Malaika, maybe the swing scene in Nairobi is bigger than you might think, just an early version!

2 Replies to Roots of Swing

re: Roots of Swing
By Malaikamember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 1923, member since Thu Jul 11, 2002
On Tue Feb 10, 2009 03:34 PM
Huh - that's interesting. I don't know a whole lot about the origins of swing/lindy further back than about mid-1920s, but I'd imagine that the African dance that lindy originated from is more endemic to West Africa, since that's where most slaves originally came from.

My favorite swing book is probably Stompin' at the Savoy, Norma Miller's autobiography. I should learn more about the dance and its origins in order to really appreciate it - taking a class on the progression from Louis XIV's ballet to modern circus performance made a lot of conventions seem more meaningful, and I can imagine it would be a similar thing for swing. The book you mention sounds interesting!
re: Roots of Swing
By dancesmith Comments: 30, member since Tue Oct 28, 2008
On Wed Feb 11, 2009 06:28 AM
I really enjoyed Norma Miller's book also. Thanks for bringing it up. It was very interesting to compare it with Frankie Manning's Ambassador of Lindy Hop. They relate some of same stories, but from somewhat different perspectives. I would be hard pressed to say which was my favorite. I think they complimented each other, in more ways than one.

The documentary, Norma Miller: Queen of Swing, that's available on DvD is just great!