WHAT IS
SWING DANCING?

WHAT IS SWING DANCING?

savoy ballroom

Imagine a Ballroom where thousands of people dance on the floor every night of the week, and you can see living legends on the stage with their bands such as Chick Webb, Benny Goodman or Count Basie. This image was not unusual, at least at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem(New York) in the 1930s.

In the Swing era (1933-1947), this style of jazz was “The music” in the United States. Swing was broadcasted from the radio and the hits were known by everyone. It may be hard for us today to imagine this, but back then it would have been impossible to have a swing concert without any dancing.

But how did they actually dance at the time? How did swing dances develop?

welcome to harlem

Since the 1920s, the population of Harlem has been characterized mostly by the Afro-American community – with mainly African roots and with a number of immigrants from the Southern states –, who struggled in their daily lives in an extremely difficult political, social, and economic environment. In this community, an incredibly intense period of political and artistic creativity was present in the 1920s, and Harlem became the cultural center of the Afro-American community.

The movement attracted Afro-American artists, writers, poets, actors, photographers, musicians, scientists and many more people from all over the country. This period is what we call the Harlem Renaissance.

The revolutionary creativity of the period also made its way into the dances. There is a good chance that hundreds of swing dances were created and disappeared soon after, however, some of these have survived, such as Lindy Hop, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston.

charleston dance
bepop

From the mid ’40s, there were newer musical trends which became popular, the dance changed with the music. It evolved into other Black American social dances, like Steppin, Hand Dance, Shag, Swingout etc. But Lindy Hop was still danced in some venues, bars and especially at home within primarily the Black African American community.

Luckily, in the ’80s, a couple of enthusiastic young people started learning and researching these dances with the help of the old recordings. After visiting a few dancers who were still alive and have been active in Savoy from the 1930s (e.g., Al Minns, Frankie Manning, and Norma Miller), a new era has begun , what we call the revival of swing .

These dancers were already in their 70s at the time, yet they dedicated their last years, decades, to spreading the joy and love of Lindy Hop in the world.

frankie manning
today-events

Today, there are numerous schools, international events, camps, and more and more people are finding joy in playing swing music all over the world.
If you are interested and would like to try swing dancing in a welcoming community of friends, come and visit us!

In the meantime, here are some videos of the dances you can learn from:

LINDY HOP

LINDY HOP

COLLEGIATE SHAG

SOLO JAZZ

SOLO JAZZ

MORE THAN JUST A DANCE

COMMUNITY

We are like a big family: we know each other, we care for one another and we dance with everybody. We organize not only dance events, but other leisure activities too. Are you up for travels, board game nights, hiking, wall climbing, or beer nights? Surely, you will find some people who would be happy to join you.

LIFESTLYE

 

With time, you will get more familiar with the era, the history, the clothes, the hairstyles, and all the little details that make the experience complete.

TRAVELING TOGETHER

We are constantly organizing travels abroad to visit our foreign friends and to go to the dance festivals together with them. We may live in different countries, but we are connected by swing.

It’s fun, fun, fun

It really is fun! The music is cheerful, so is the dance. This is the activity you have been looking for in your whole life!

I’M A BEGINNER

Welcome to swing dancing

We collected a few information for you about the most frequently asked questions.

ALL You need to know about our LINDY HOP classes:

Course length: 4 x 90 minutes (4 consecutive weeks)

Price: HUF 12000 (if you are under 26, the price is HUF 9500)

You can sign up with a partner or on your own. In case you register without a partner, we will pair you up with someone.

Yes, swing is a social dance. You may sign up as a couple, but we rotate partners throughout the class, which will help you learn faster.

We highly recommend changing partners, since it is a social dance and most of the fun is coming from the individual’s creativity. If you feel uncomfortable with changing partners, we would advise you to take private classes as a couple.

It is a really energetic social dance. You will learn the basic techniques, steps, learn more about the dance itself, and we will also give you some insight into the history of the music during the classes. All of our teachers are focusing on creating a safe environment, where everybody feels comfortable, irrespective of their age, race, or gender.

You can sign up as a leader or a follower. Everybody can choose their own role. Most of the time, leaders are male dancers and followers are females, however, as you will see during our social dances, we often dance in both roles. As a start, we would suggest to pick one role and keep it for a while. If you are interested in the other role, you can join another beginner group later on.

You can join any Beginner class in the schedule.

After 1-2 months, you will know the very basic ideas of swing dancing and you will be able to join our social dances and enjoy the party!

Your beginner group will continue at the same place and at the same time after the 1st, 2nd, 3rd month etc. till the end of May. You can decide how long you would like to be taking classes, however, we would encourage you to take classes as long as you can. The payment happens on a monthly basis.

We try to adapt to the group. We teach the classes usually in Hungarian, but we can hold them in English if it is needed.

Bring a comfortable pair of shoes. Please note that outdoor shoes are not allowed in the dance rooms. You will most probably need a spare T-shirt after the class.

Unless you are put on the waiting list, you will get an email about the details of the payment after the registration. Do not worry if you did not get an immediate feedback, as our system is run manually. (There is a human sitting behind the computer. ;)) 

ALL You need to know about our SOLO JAZZ classes:

Course length: 4 x 60 minutes (4 consecutive weeks)

Price: HUF 9000 (if you are under  26, the price is HUF 8000)

No, it is a solo dance.

You will learn some classic vernacular jazz moves. You will learn more about body coordination and body awareness. You will also learn about the history and music of Jazz. We will focus on improvisation and maybe some choreographies. It’s a really fun class.

You can join any Beginner class in the schedule.

We try to adapt to the group. We teach the classes usually in Hungarian, but we can hold them in English if it is needed.

Bring a comfortable pair of shoes. Please note that outdoor shoes are not allowed in the dance rooms. You will most probably need a spare T-shirt after the class.

Unless you not put on the waiting list, you will get an email about the details of the payment after the registration. Do not worry if you did not get an immediate feedback, as our system is not automatic. We are verifying the applications manually.