Helzapoppin & Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers | 1941
Arguably one of the greatest dance sequences ever filmed….featuring Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers from the film Helzapoppin.
The History of Lindy Hop begins in the African American communities of Harlem, New York during the late 1920s in conjunction with swing jazz. Lindy Hop is closely related to earlier African American vernacular dances (e.g. Charleston, Tap) but quickly gained its own fame through dancers in films, performances, competitions, and professional dance troupes. It became especially popular in the 1930s among the general population.The dance is considered a cultural phenomenon that broke through the race barrier when segregation was still the norm.The popularity of Lindy Hop declined after World War II, and the dance remained dormant until revived by European and American dancers in the 1980s.
ABOUT WHITEY’S LINDY HOPPERS
The Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers was a professional performing group of Savoy Ballroom swing dancers, started in 1935 by Herbert “Whitey” White. The group took on many different forms, with up to 12 different groups performing under this name or one of a number of different names used for the group over the years, including Whitey’s Hopping Maniacs, Harlem Congaroo Dancers, and The Hot Chocolates. In addition to touring both nationally and internationally, the group appeared in a number of feature films and Broadway productions and counted Dorothy Dandridge and Sammy Davis Jr. among their celebrity regulars. The group disbanded in 1942 a year before the Savoy closed its doors.
Of all the members of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, Al Minns, Leon James and Frankie Manning are amongst the most famous – Minns and James in part for their role in the research of Jean and Marshall Stearns’s influential book Jazz Dance, Minns for his work with The Rhythm Hot Shots during the 1980s’ swing revival, and Manning for his role, starting in 1986, in contributing to the swing and Lindy Hop revival after Minns died in 1985. Manning and Norma Miller were among the few members of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers still alive during the 1990s and 2000s and were some of that era’s most influential Lindy Hop performers and instructors. With Manning’s death in April 2009, Miller alone remains to teach and lecture at dance workshops and Lindy Hop conventions.