Safety Dance: First Aid for Lindy Hop Events

Obligatory Men Without Hats Joke

This is the first in what will hopefully become a series of posts about safety at swing dance events for community organisers that will focus on various elements of safety, emergency planning and risk management (which are sort of my day job). In this first post I’m going to look at first aid – how it links in with broader safety concerns and occupational health and safety, and then talk about training and kits for your dance events.

Though you should be taking steps to minimise accidents at your venue (through your code of conduct and appropriate instruction during your lessons, for example) falls, collisions and sprains and strains do occur. And though most swing dancers are a healthy lot you need to be ready for other medical emergencies such as asthma attacks, seizures, anaphylaxis, diabetic emergencies, heart attacks and more. First aid will help you meet these emergencies head-on, and having arrangements for first aid create flow on effects such as improving your all-round crisis response ability and helping grow a safety culture in your dance community.

A brief aside on liability

I see a lot of people raise concerns about legal liability when it comes to safety policies. While these may be well-meaning, I believe they’re wrong. To paraphrase some esteemed legal colleagues*:  If we can prevent someone from being harmed we avoid the event that creates liability. That’s where our focus should be, not on avoiding legal action after the fact. We need to be focused on doing the right thing, not avoiding liability. And if you’re letting liability concerns get in the way of doing the right thing, perhaps you need to rethink your involvement as a business owner or community organiser.

Do your WHS homework!

Being a good business means complying with Work Health and Safety (or occupational health and safety) regulations. In Australia if you’re running a dance business or community organisation, you need to comply with the regulations and your volunteers (even if they’re entirely uncompensated) are going to be considered as workers under the law.** I’m not going to go into the specifics of WHS regulations, they’re going to be different depending on the jurisdiction you’re in, but you need to check what your obligations are with regards to first aid (and other safety matters, some of which I’ll address in future posts).

Your WHS regulator where you are should be your first port of call for you to brush up what your requirements are for safety in general and first aid in particular. Even if the WHS regulations in your jurisdiction don’t cover your organisation, compliance with them is generally a good idea. For information specific to first aid check with your local Red Cross, health service, fire department or a reputable first aid organisation (such as St John Ambulance in Australia).

If there’s a non-profit or government organisation in your area that supports arts, sports or recreation businesses and non-profits they might also be a good place to check with. They may have information that’s more relevant to your circumstances. Small business associations, your local chamber of commerce and your municipal council may also have useful information.

First Aid Training

First aid is just like lindy hop – to do it well it needs some learnz. And just like lindy hop – what you see in Hollywood isn’t exactly the right way to do it.

Trained first aiders are the best way of having the right skills and knowledge to help in an emergency. If you’re having events exclusively in venues that are already staffed, you might want to talk to them about whether you can call on them to provide first aid or use their first aid kit in the event of an accident. Talk to your volunteers, teachers, DJs and other staff to find out who has first aid training and whether their certificate is current. As with other safety policies it’s good to have more than one first aider available to ensure an injured or sick person has a choice in who comes to their aid.

Even if you already have first aiders in your organisation – the more the merrier! First aid training is a very good idea to help friends, family or strangers in daily life. Look for a course by a reputable provider that runs for at least two days and includes a practical component.*** I wouldn’t recommend online training, except where it forms a component of a refresher. Whilst these courses can be pricey, there’s no substitute for hands-on experience.**** However there are more affordable options out there. You might be able to get training through your employer if you have a day job, or your municipal council, community association or fire brigade may run cheap or free first aid courses. If you have time on your hands beyond running a dance organisation you might consider volunteering with the Red Cross or other volunteer emergency organisation and receive training that way.

If you’ve taken a course in the past and if you haven’t updated your training, at the very least in the last 3 years, you should do so. Recommendations on the best treatment for various conditions and injuries changes (for example since I first trained in CPR there have been significant changes to how it’s trained in Australia, and the Heimlich manoeuvre, which has never been recommended in Australia is starting to be replaced in the USA). WHS regulations may recommend or mandate a certain frequency of refreshers and re-trainings for the certificate to be valid.

First Aid Kits

There are plenty of first aid kits on the market, and you can easily buy them online. You should consider your needs (such as the number of people you have at your events, where your event is held and whether there’s any special hazards to address) when you’re buying one. I prefer to build my own first aid kits as it helps familiarise myself with their contents and makes it easier to restock them when used*****. I’ve compiled a list below of what I’d include in a dance event kit.

You might want to include a rescue inhaler and epinephrine auto-injector for asthma and anaphylaxis, but these can be expensive, need to be replaced regularly and you may need a prescription depending on the laws in your jurisdiction. You should also only have these if you or your designated first aiders have been trained in how to identify asthma or anaphylaxis and the use of the devices.

Make sure you restock your kit every time it’s used. It’s very easy to run out of things like adhesive strips if you’re often bringing it out for blisters and small cuts. Also check the expiry date on the contents and replace them if they go out of date. It’s a good idea to print a list with the contents of the kit and put it inside to make checking it easier – you can write the expiry dates next to the contents as a handy prompt on when to replace them.

That’s pretty much all I have to say on first aid. Let me know if there’s anything you think I should add, or if I’ve left something out. Next time: Fire Safety.


* If you’re interested in the law of disasters, fires and emergencies I highly recommend Michael Eburn’s Australian Emergency Law blog and USA-based Curt Varone’s Firelaw blog.

** As far as I’m aware. This is the case in NSW and in the national model legislation, but I can’t remember if it’s been similarly implemented in all states and territories. If you’re out of Australia YMMV.

*** Ideally, you’re going to want the trainer to cover management of sprains and strains, common dance related injuries, in a practical session so you can get hands on experience in how tight to wrap a compression bandage. Ask them about this when you’re booking the course.

**** This is especially the case with CPR. To perform it properly requires lot of exertion and I’ve had some medics tell me that if you don’t crack a rib you’re probably not doing it right. This is in stark contrast to the fake CPR you see on TV and in movies where they’re not actually compressing the chest (which is for good reason – they’d seriously injure or even kill the actor if they were doing it properly)!

***** I also generally have one at home, my carry bag and in my car so a central supply to restock from is useful


First Aid Kit List

This list is based on the list from the Safe Work Australia First Aid in the Workplace: Code of Practice and has been modified to supplies that are more or less needed for a dance event. This is what I would recommend in an urban area for classes or a weekly social. If it’s a larger event, an event held in a rural area, you’re preparing food or hot drinks or where there’s special hazards I’d recommend a more extensive kit.

Item Quantity
Instructions for providing first aid – including Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) flow chart (although you may want to substitute having a first aid app on you and your volunteers’ phones) 1
Note book and pen 1
Resuscitation face mask or face shield 1
Disposable nitrile examination gloves 5 pairs
Gauze pieces 7.5 x 7.5 cm, sterile 3 packs of 5
Saline tubes (15 ml) 8
Wound cleaning wipes (% Cetrimide BP) 10 single wipe sachets
Adhesive dressing strips (“Band Aids”) – plastic or fabric (if you have kids at your events get some Batman ones too) Large packet of assorted shapes and sizes
Splinter probes (single use, disposable) 5
Tweezers 1
Scissors 1
Antiseptic liquid/spray (50 ml) 1
Non-adherent wound dressing/pad 5 x 5 cm (small) 6
Non-adherent wound dressing/pad 7.5 x 10 cm (medium) 3
Non-adherent wound dressing/pad 10 x 10 cm (large) 1
Sanitary pads and tampons (in addition to being handy if someone’s run out they can be useful for treating wounds) Assorted
Conforming cotton bandage, 5 cm width 6
Conforming cotton bandage, 7.5 cm width 6
Crepe bandage 10 cm 3
Non-stretch, hypoallergenic adhesive tape – 2.5 cm wide roll 1
Safety pins Pack of 20
Plastic bags – clip seal (small) 3
Triangular bandage (calico or cotton minimum width 90 cm) 5
Emergency rescue blanket (for shock or hypothermia) 1
Eye pad (single use) 4
Instant ice pack 3
Ibuprofen 1 small packet 200mg tablets
Thermometer 1

Codes of Conduct: Who’s using them now?

TL;DR – Many events in North America, Australia, the UK and even Asia have Codes of Conduct. Those in continental Europe, however have very few.

Read more [+]

Beating the Swing Flu?

A PSA from Herräng Dance CampWith the Northern Hemisphere arrival of summer it’s swing camp season and that means one thing – completely out of sync with the rest of the population it’s swing flu season. And with the swing flu season comes all sorts of remedies to ward off the lergy from Herräng’s anti-cold juice to bottles of military-grade Nyquil. But does any of this actually work?

I’m a science and evidence based policy junkie (which explains my love for the work of Ben Goldacre and also the Youtube Channel Healthcare Triage, who actually have an episode on cold remedies), so I’ve been aware of the Cochrane Collaboration for some time. This non-profit organisation scours the literature and does systematic reviews of all sorts of different medical treatments (including plenty of CAM ones too). Fortunately Cochrane has reviewed the evidence on multiple remedies for the prevention and treatment of colds, flu and flu-like illness. I thought I’d summarise their publications to just get a very brief snapshot of what the evidence actually says.

Firstly let me get this out of the way: This is not medical advice! Making health decisions based on what you saw on some blog on the internet is an incredibly stupid idea. Before you decide to take any medication, supplement or start any sort of regimen you should – talk – to – your – doctor! Ask them about the evidence, or even take along some of the reports from Cochrane.

The one thing that stands out from looking through all these reports is how flimsy the evidence base is in many of these studies. They read like a veritable index of poor trial design, suffering from inadequate blinding, small sample sizes and a host of other issues – and that’s before we even get to issues of publication bias. So even where a small effect was found in the systematic review there’s a reasonable chance it’s no more effective than placebo. In fact the only thing that appears to work well is good hygiene – so wash those hands!

Note also that these are all reports regarding healthy adults. Others examine the evidence base for those with particular conditions or in children.

Once again, in case I wasn’t clear before This is not medical advice! Talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

Remedy Prevention Treatment
Acetaminophen/Paracetamol Although widely included in over the counter cold/flu medication the research evidence for its effectiveness is poor quality. It may help reduce some nasal symptoms of common cold but does not appear effective on other symptoms.
Antibiotics Antibiotics have no benefit for common cold and can cause significant side effects.
Atrovent Nasal Spray (ipratropium bromide) This product may relieve some cold symptoms, but the existing evidence has some limitations.
Chinese Herbs There is very weak evidence that these may have similar effects to antiviral drugs at treating and preventing influenza
Drink Plenty of Fluids There is no evidence for or against the common recommendation to increase fluid intake during acute respiratory infections.
Echinacea There is no good evidence for use of Echinacea in treating colds, but it is possible there may be a small benefit.
Flu Vaccine The evidence demonstrates a modest impact on reducing symptoms and working days lost in the general population due to flu (NNT 40-70). No evidence of association between vaccination and serious adverse reactions was found.
Garlic There is some evidence to suggest that regular daily garlic can have a protective effect against the common cold, however the evidence is insufficient and of poor quality. Also we’re dancers – why would you want to smell like Garlic?
Handwashing Spread of respiratory viruses can be reduced by simple handwashing.

Learn how to do it properly!

Nasal Saline Use of nasal saline may relieve some symptoms of URTIs but the quality of the research is low.
NSAIDs (Aspirin, Ibuprofen etc.) Although the research evidence is somewhat limited, it appears that these types of drugs are somewhat effective at relieving discomfort, but do not appear to help with other cold symptoms.
Oscillococcinum (a homeopathic preparation) No evidence for effectiveness in influenza or flu-like illnesses No evidence for effectiveness in influenza or flu-like illnesses
Probiotics There is some evidence that probiotics are effective at preventing and minimising the impact of Upper-Respiratory-Tract-Infections, but the quality of the research is poor.
Steam Inhalation Studies on this treatment have had inconsistent results and the research quality is poor.
Steroid Nasal Spray There is no research evidence to support their use to relieve common cold symptoms, however there have only been a small number of studies.
Tamiflu and Relenza There is evidence of a small protective effect from prophylactic use of these drugs on influenza only, but side effects are a concern. There is evidence of a small reduction in duration of influenza and flu-like illnesses, but side effects are a concern.
Typical Cold and Flu preparations (containing antihistamines, decongestants and analgesics) These medications appear to be generally beneficial in treating the symptoms of common cold, but many people report side effects.
Typical Cough Medications There is no good evidence for or against the use of cough preparations in treating cough and the quality of the research in this area is poor.
Umckaloabo This may be effective at relieving some symptoms of the common cold but the quality of the evidence is low to very low.
Vitamin C Regular supplementation does not reduce the incidence of common cold, but it does have a small effect on reducing the length of common cold. Regular supplementation has been shown to reduce incidence in people exposed to high physical stress (e.g. skiers and marathon runners), but it is unclear whether this would extend to swing dancers. The evidence on therapeutic use of Vitamin C is limited and doesn’t suggest any benefit, but it may be worthwhile to consider on an individual basis.

Album Review: Glenn Crytzer’s Savoy Seven – Uptown Jump

Disclaimer: Glenn Crytzer asked me to do this review and would have given me a copy of the album for it, had I not already been on the kickstarter.

Buy it on Bandcamp and CD Baby. You can also support Glenn on Patreon.

Uptown Jump is composer, guitarist and bandleader Glenn Crytzer’s sixth release and I believe the first since his move to New York City. He has brought together a stellar line up of musicians in the Savoy Seven, his newest group, including Mike Davis on Trumpet (a regular at Mona’s who also plays with Baby Soda and Gordon Webster) Evan Arntzen on reeds (also with Baby Soda, plus Naomi Uyama’s Handsome Devils), Dan Levinson on reeds (a member of Vince Giordano’s Nighthawks and one of the most “in-demand reedmen” around), Jesse Gelber on piano (bandleader of the Swing Doctors), Andew Hall on Bass (who plays with Tamar Korn, and Gordon Au’s Grand Street Stompers) and Kevin Dorn on drums (also plays with Baby Soda and Gordon Au).

This is a full length album of entirely original music (though you can get a version of Tuxedo Junction with Shim Sham breaks on the bonus tracks) and with this release Glenn’s writing has clearly further matured. All of these tracks sound like they could have been dug up from the vaults of Colombia or Vocalion or from sheet music found in someone’s attic. Although Crytzer is far from the only contemporary swing musician who is writing and arranging new tunes, his intensity of activity sets him apart from everyone else. As a DJ and a dancer new music is incredibly important in keeping the lindy hop scene growing and creative, especially as old unheard of gems are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

It’s on the instrumental compositions such as Uptown Jump, Hop on the Mop and The Lenox that Glenn’s composing hand really shines. The band is tight and each of the musicians’ solos inspired. I’m not the biggest fan of Glenn’s vocals and the heavy double entendre is kind of getting a little old, but that’s mostly a matter of personal preference. I would play any track on this album for dancers, even with the tempos topping out at a blistering 316 beats per minute yet there are plenty of tracks that are right in the pocket for some great lindyhopping.

If you’re used to listening to contemporary swing bands (where musicians are individually miced) the audio quality may be disappointing. Crytzer makes a number of choices in his recording methods that hark back to the way swing music was originally recorded, which he goes into in a blog post here. This has the effect of making the recording sound less ‘crisp’ (but in my opinion much warmer) than some other contemporary recordings and it may not perform as well as other contemporary music on some of the shitty audio equipment many of us Swing DJs are forced to use. But on decent equipment this album will kick ass!

Buy this CD – you won’t regret it.

Codes of Conduct: Who’s Using Them?

A redditor asked about anti-harassment codes of conduct, prompted by Lindy Focus putting up their policy. It reminded me of a recent post on dogpossum that touched on the subject.

And it got me wondering – just how many swing dance events actually have codes of conduct that address things like discrimination and harassment?

Let me point out that while codes of conduct are great, they’re not sufficient on their own  – they need to be part of a broader commitment to creating a safe space for dancers, organisers, volunteers and the community at large and part of a plan for dealing with actual cases of harassment, unacceptable behaviour and safety issues. Thus the events using them shouldn’t necessarily be seen as examples of best practice, but rather on the road there.

But even without that additional action, with all the information that’s out there online (and many codes of conduct are made available to use under creative commons licenses), there’s really no excuse for events not to put one up on their website. It’s an important statement that places everyone’s safety first and clearly communicates that harassment is not tolerated. More event organisers need to take a proactive stand against the sort of bullshit that occurred at the last CSC (and for which they were very publicly called out on) and continues to occur in our community.

There’s a tonne of resources out there, much of the stuff in the nerd/geek convention community is quite good such as this 101/FAQ and the stuff on Geek Feminism. Mobtown Ballroom in Baltimore has a great CoC (that addresses liquor consumption as well as harassment). There’s also the Safety Dance Facebook Group.

Events using Codes of Conduct

I have also found a number of fusion and blues events with CoC and other policies. I was also going to make a list of events that don’t yet have a code of conduct, but it turns out that would be everyone else including pretty much all the major lindy hop events worldwide.

As far as I can tell it’s just the two listed above (though a number of regular venues/dance schools also have policies). I think this needs to change – and will be writing to events I plan to attend encouraging them to develop a code of conduct as a first step towards broader policies and practices to ensure dance events are safe welcoming spaces for all. I ask you to join me.

A Lindy Hop Bibliography

[Updated for works published to June 2017]

SwingNation featured a new thesis on the Savoy Ballroom on a recent show and it led me to wonder what other scholarly work on Lindy Hop is out there. So I went looking.

It turns out that there’s a surprising amount of scholarship out there about or using Lindy Hop. Much of it is by key figures in the community who were important during the ‘revival’ period or are active in scenes across the world today.

Many of these are behind the paywalls of academic journals, so unless you’re a university student or academic or are willing to fork over exorbitant fees you’re probably not going to be able to access them.* I’ve added hyperlinks where a work is publicly available.

I’ve mainly concentrated on scholarly works and books, generally more reliable in terms of their accuracy. I’ve steered clear of blogs, but I should include Jerry Almonte’s Artistry In Rhythm series which I would say probably has the same (or more) amount of work found in a typical masters thesis.

I’ve grouped the works into some basic categories and ordered them alphabetically by author.

If you’re aware of any other works I haven’t included, or you have published one yourself, please let me know in the comments and I’ll update it.


Fuhrer, Margaret. 2014. American Dance: The Complete Illustrated History. Voyageur Press.
Giordano, Ralph G. 2006. Social Dancing in America: A History and Reference, Volume 2, Lindy Hop to Hip Hop, 1901-2000. Westport, Conn: Greenwood.
Kealiinohomoku, Joann. 1970. “An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance.” Impulse 20: 24–33.

Manning, Frankie, and Cynthia R. Millman. 2007. Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop. Temple University Press.

Miller, Norma. 2009. SWING, BABY SWING!. Self published.

Miller, Norma, and Evette Jensen. 2001. Swingin’ at the Savoy: The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer. Temple University Press.

Nott, James. 2015. Going to the Palais: A Social and Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918-1960. Oxford University Press.

Pugh, Megan. 2015. America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk. Yale University Press.

Stevens, Tamara, and Erin Stevens. 2011. Swing Dancing. ABC-CLIO.

Willis, Cheryl M. 2016. Tappin’ at the Apollo: The African American Female Tap Dance Duo Salt and Pepper. McFarland.

X, Malcolm. 1966. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. London: Hutchinson.

African American Dance History

Anderson, Jervis. 1983. This Was Harlem: A Cultural Portrait, 1900-1950. Farrar, Straus, Giroux.

DeFrantz, Thomas. 1996. “Simmering Passivity: The Black Male Body in Concert Dance.” In Moving Words: Re-Writing Dance, edited by Gay Morris, 107–20. London and New York: Routledge.

Dinerstein, Joel. 2003. Swinging the Machine: Modernity, Technology, and African American Culture Between the World Wars. Univ of Massachusetts Press.

Emery, Lynne. 1972. Black Dance in the US from 1619 to 1970. Palo Alto, CA: National Press Books.

Gilroy, Paul. 1997. “Exer (or) Cising Power: Black Bodies in the Black Public Sphere.” In Dance in the City, edited by Helen Thomas, 21–34. London: Macmillan.
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. 1996. Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance: Dance and Other Contexts. Greenwood Press Westport, CT.
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. 1995. “Stripping the Emperor: The Africanist Presence in American Concert Dance.” In Looking Out: Perspectives on Dance and Criticism in a Multicultural World, edited by David Gere, 44:95–121. New York: Schirmer Books.
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. 2002. Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era. 1st Palgrave paperback ed edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. 2005. The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool. 1st edition. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Griffin, Sean. 2002. “The Gang’s All Here: Generic versus Racial Integration in the 1940s Musical by Sean Griffin.” Cinema Journal 42 (1): 21–45. doi:10.1353/cj.2002.0021.
Hazzard-Gordon, Katrina. 1985. “African-American Vernacular Dance Core Culture and Meaning Operatives.” Journal of Black Studies 15 (4): 427–45. doi:10.1177/002193478501500405.
Hazzard-Gordon, Katrina. 2010. Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture. Temple University Press.
Humphries, Skye. 2006. “Liberating and Regimenting the Body: Taming the ‘Animal’ Dances.” Washington DC: George Washington University

Jackson, Jonathan David. 2001. “Improvisation in African-American Vernacular Dancing.” Dance Research Journal, 40–53.

Knight, Arthur. 2002. Disintegrating the Musical: Black Performance and American Musical Film. Duke University Press.

Malnig, Julie. 2009. Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader. University of Illinois Press.

Malone, Jacqui. 1996. Steppin’on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance. University of Illinois Press.

Marsh, Lucile. 1935. “A Survey of the Social Dance in America.” The Journal of Health and Physical Education 6 (9): 34–62. doi:10.1080/23267240.1935.10625734.

Martin, Carol J. 1994. Dance Marathons: Performing American Culture of the 1920s and 1930s. Univ. Press of Mississippi.

Stearns, Marshall, and Jean Stearns. 1994. Jazz Dance: The Story Of American Vernacular Dance. 2nd edition. New York: Da Capo Press.

Stovall, Maya. 2015. “African American Cultural Technology: The Lindy Hop, the King of Pop, and the Factory Worker’s Experience.” Journal of the Association of Black Anthropolgists 23(1): 1-13. doi:10.1111/traa.1204

History of Lindy Hop

Back, Les. 1997. “Nazism and the Call of the Jitterbug.” In Dance in the City, edited by Helen Thomas, 175–97. London: Macmillan.

Batchelor, Christian. 1997. This Thing Called Swing: A Study of Swing Music and the Lindy Hop: The Original Swing Dance. London, UK: Original Lindy Hop Collection.

Batiuchok, Margaret. 1988. “The Lindy.” New York: NYU.

Brown, Tamara. 1998. “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Harlem Swing: Social Dance and the Harlem Renaissance.” Afro-Americans in New York Life and History 22 (1): 41.

Card, Amanda. 1998. “The ‘great Articulation of the Inarticulate’: Reading the Jazz Body in Australian and American Popular Culture in the 1960s.” Journal of Australian Studies 22 (58): 18–28.

Crease, Robert P. 1988. “The Lindy Hop.” Proceedings of the International Early Dance Institute 1 (1): 1–11.

Crease, Robert P. 1995. “Divine Frivolity: Hollywood Representations of the Lindy Hop, 1937-1942.” In Representing Jazz, by Krin Gabbard. Duke University Press.

Given, William. 2015. “Lindy Hop, Community, and the Isolation of Appropriation.” In The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Theater, edited by Nadine George-Graves. Oxford University Press.

Jones, Chris. 2001. “The Lindy Hops the Atlantic: The Jitterbug and Jive in Britain.” In Cord 2001: Transmigratory Moves: Dance in Global Circulation: Conference Proceedings, 174. New York University, New York, New York: Congress on Research in Dance.

MacDonald, J. Frederick. 1972. “‘Hot Jazz,’ the Jitterbug, and Misunderstanding: The Generation Gap in Swing 1935–1945.” Popular Music and Society 2 (1): 43–55. doi:10.1080/03007767208591000.
Milkowski, Bill, and Tim Hauser. 2003. Swing It: An Annotated History of Jive. Diane Pub Co.

Miller, David, Nicole Zonnenberg, and Rebecca Strickland. 2013. “Lindy Hop and Jitterbug: The Development of American Swing Dance in the United Kingdom.” Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence, January.

Monaghan, Terry. 2004. “Remembering ‘Shorty’ – A Few Thoughts on the Beginnings of Jive and Lindy Hop on George Snowden’s Centenary.” Dancing Times 94 (1127): 49 – +.

Monaghan, Terry, and Mo Dodson. 2003. “Fractured Legacy: Why Did the Irish Contribute So Much to American Tap Dance and So Little to the Lindy Hop?” In 2003 Society of Dance History Scholars Conference. University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland: Society of Dance History Scholars Conference.

Skinner, Jonathan. 2012. “Globalization and the Dance Import-Export Business: The Jive Story.” In Dancing Cultures: Globalization, Tourism and Identity in the Anthropology of Dance, edited by Helene Neveu Kringelbach and Jonathan Skinner, 29–45. Berghahn Books.

Spring, Howard. 1997. “Swing and the Lindy Hop: Dance, Venue, Media, and Tradition.” American Music 15 (2): 183–207. doi:10.2307/3052731.

Tucker, Sherrie. 2014. Dance Floor Democracy: The Social Geography of Memory at the Hollywood Canteen. Durham: Duke University Press Books.
Unruh, Kendra. 2011. “From Kitchen Mechanics to‘ Jubilant Spirits of Freedom’: Black, Working-Class Women Dancing the Lindy Hop.” Journal of Pan African Studies 4 (6).
Unruh, Kendra. 2012. “‘Jubilant Spirits of Freedom’: Representations of the Lindy Hop in Literature and Film from the Swing Era to the Swing Revival.” Purdue University.

Wallace, Claire, and Raimund Alt. 2001. “Youth Cultures under Authoritarian Regimes The Case of the Swings Against the Nazis.” Youth & Society 32 (3): 275–302. doi:10.1177/0044118X01032003001.

The Savoy

Abdoulaev, Alexandre. 2014. “Savoy: Reassessing the Role of the ‘World’s Finest Ballroom’ in Music and Culture, 1926–1958.” BOSTON UNIVERSITY

Engelbrecht, Barbara. 1983. “Swinging at the Savoy.” Dance Research Journal 15 (2): 3–10. doi:10.2307/1478672.

Monaghan, Terry. 2005. “The Chicago and Harlem Savoy Ballrooms.” In Proceedings: Twenty-Seventh Annual Conference, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, 17-20 June, 2004; Twenty-Eight Annual Conference, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 9-12 June, 2005, 155. Society of Dance History Scholars.

Moran, Delaney. 2014. “‘Never Looking at Your Face, Only at Your Feet’: Race Relations at the Savoy Ballroom: 1926-1958.” Concord Review 24 (3): 13–38.

The Rendezvous Ballroom

Delaney, Jeff. 2007. Newport Beach’s Balboa and Balboa Island. Arcadia Publishing.

The ‘Revival’ and Contemporary Lindy Hop Culture

Carroll, Samantha. 2006. “The Lindy Binge: The Social and Cultural Functions of Lindy Exchanges.” Continuum 20 (4): 447–56. doi:10.1080/10304310600987262.

Carroll, Samantha. 2006. “Hepfidelity: Swing Dance and the Role of Digital Media in Embodied Practice.” La Trobe University.

Carroll, Samantha. 2007. “Hepfidelity: Digital Technology and Music in Contemporary Australian Swing Dance Culture.” Media International Australia, no. 123 (May): 138–49.

Carroll, Samantha. 2008. “The Practical Politics of Step-Stealing and Textual Poaching: YouTube, Audio-Visual Media and Contemporary Swing Dancers Online.” Convergence 14 (2): 183–204. doi:10.1177/1354856507087943.

Doane, Randal. 2006. “The Habitus of Dancing Notes on the Swing Dance Revival in New York City.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 35 (1): 84–116. doi:10.1177/0891241605280585.

Hancock, Black Hawk. 2007. “Learning How to Make Life Swing.” Qualitative Sociology 30 (2): 113–33. doi:10.1007/s11133-007-9059-8.

Hancock, Black Hawk. 2008. “Put a Little Color on That!” Sociological Perspectives 51 (4): 783–802. doi:10.1525/sop.2008.51.4.783.

Hancock, Black Hawk. 2013. American Allegory: Lindy Hop and the Racial Imagination. University of Chicago Press.

Humphries, Skye. 2007. “Progressive era progressions: dancing and parading in a modern imperial age” Washington DC: George Washington University

Lakes, Kimberley D., Shesha Marvin, Jessica Rowley, Malia San Nicolas, Sara Arastoo, Leo Viray, Amanda Orozco, and Frances Jurnak. 2016. ‘Dancer Perceptions of the Cognitive, Social, Emotional, and Physical Benefits of Modern Styles of Partnered Dancing’. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 26 (June): 117–22. doi:10.1016/j.ctim.2016.03.007.
Lin, Han-Wei. 2014. “Exploring Relationships between Happiness and Stickiness: Swing Dance as an Example.” Masters Thesis, Taipei: National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

Michalowski, Raymond Joseph. 1997. “Swing Dance as Subculture: Managing Symbolic Crisis in a (post)modern Age.” Arizona State University.

Monaghan, Terry. 1999. “New-York Celebrates Lindy-Hop and Tap (Highlights of Performances at National-Tap-Day Commemorating the Birthday of the Late Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson While Frankie Manning’s Birthday Was Marked by Lindy Enthusiasts).” Dancing Times 89 (1067): 1004–5.

Monaghan, Terry. 2001. “Why Study the Lindy Hop?” Dance Research Journal 33 (2): 124–27. doi:10.2307/1477810.

Monaghan, Terry. 2002. “Stompin’at the Savoy–Remembering, Re-Enacting and Researching the Lindy Hop’s Relationship to Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom.” In Dancing at the Crossroads: African Diasporic Dances in Britain: Conference Proceedings. London, UK: London Metropolitan University.

Monaghan, Terry. 2003. “British Dance Company Lindy Hop All the Way to the USA (Jiving Lindy Hoppers).” Dancing Times 93 (1112): 39–39.

Monaghan, Terry, and Mo Dodson. 2001. “Fusion: Globalising the Local and Localising the Global – The Case of the Lindy and Other Fusion Dances/Musics.” In Cord 2001: Transmigratory Moves: Dance in Global Circulation: Conference Proceedings, 220. New York University, New York, New York: Congress on Research in Dance.

Parish, P. 1999. “The Lindy-Hop – A Revival in Full Swing (The Signature Dance of the 1930s Is Back in Style).” Dance Magazine 73 (9): 50–52.

Park, JB. 2014. “Dressing the Alter Ego: Swing Dancers with Day Jobs.” International Journal of Costume and Fasion 14 (1): 47–62.

Renshaw, Scott W. 2002. “Postmodern Swing Dance and the Presentation of the Unique Self.” In Postmodern Existential Sociology, by Joseph A. Kotarba and John M. Johnson, 63–85. Rowman Altamira.

Renshaw, Scott W. 2006. “Postmodern Swing Dance and Secondary Adjustment: Identity as Process.” Symbolic Interaction 29 (1): 83–94. doi:10.1525/si.2006.29.1.83.

Samuels, S. 2001. “Love, Life and the Lindy Hop (Jenny Thomas and Ryan Francois).” Dance Magazine 75 (2): 53–53.

Sekine, Anais. 2011. “T’ain’t What You Do It’s the Way That You Do It – Body Representations and Transculturality in Lindy Hop Dance.” In International Conference on Body Image and Identity in Contemporary Society. CUNY, New York, USA.
Sekine, Anais. 2013. “In the Footsteps of the Jazz Patriarchs: An Intersectional Analysis of the Lindy Hop and Jazz Dance Revival as Interpreted by Women.” In NWSA 34th Annual Conference. Cincinnati, OH.
Sekine, Anais. 2013. “The Worlds of Lindy Hop—Cultural Appropriations and the Politics of Joy.” In NOFOD/SDHS 2013 Proceedings. Norwegian University of Science and Technology: Society of Dance History Scholars.
Strickland, Michael. 2014. “Swing Dancing: How Dance Effectiveness May Influence Music Preference.” Florida State University.

Tiegel, E. 1997. “Steps from a Bygone Era + Lindy Hop and Jitterbug.” Down Beat 64 (12): 60–60.

Unruh, Kendra. 2009. “Swingin ‘Out White: How the Lindy Hop Became White.” West Lafayette, Indiana.

Usner, Eric Martin. 2001. “Dancing in the Past, Living in the Present: Nostalgia and Race in Southern California Neo-Swing Dance Culture.” Dance Research Journal, 87–101.

Vale, V., and Marian Wallace. 1998. Swing!: The New Retro Renaissance. V/Search.

Wade, Lisa. 2011. “The Emancipatory Promise of the Habitus: Lindy Hop, the Body, and Social Change.” Ethnography 12 (2): 224–46. doi:10.1177/1466138111398231.


Bennett, B. Cole. 2011. “Swing Out, Studios, and Safety: Writing as Dance.” Academic Exchange Quarterly 15 (4): 83.

Broth, M., and L. Keevallik. 2014. “Getting Ready to Move as a Couple: Accomplishing Mobile Formations in a Dance Class.” Space and Culture 17 (2): 107–21. doi:10.1177/1206331213508483.

DeMers, Joseph Daniel. 2012. “Frame Matching and ΔPTED: A Framework for Teaching Swing and Blues Dance Partner Connection.” Research in Dance Education 14 (1): 71–80. doi:10.1080/14647893.2012.688943.

Research Utilising Lindy Hop

Gentry, Sommer. 2005. “Dancing Cheek to Cheek : Haptic Communication between Partner Dancers and Swing as a Finite State Machine.” Thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Gentry, Sommer, and E. Feron. 2004. “Modeling Musically Meaningful Choreography.” In 2004 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 4:3880–85 vol.4. doi:10.1109/ICSMC.2004.1400950.

Gentry, Sommer, and E. Feron. 2004. “Musicality Experiments in Lead and Follow Dance.” In 2004 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 1:984–88 vol.1. doi:10.1109/ICSMC.2004.1398432.

Hsu, Eugene, Sommer Gentry, and Jovan Popović. 2004. “Example-Based Control of Human Motion.” In Proceedings of the 2004 ACM SIGGRAPH/Eurographics Symposium on Computer Animation, 69–77. SCA ’04. Aire-la-Ville, Switzerland, Switzerland: Eurographics Association. doi:10.1145/1028523.1028534. and video here

Lukšys, Donatas, and Julius Griškevičius. 2017. ‘Quantitative Assessment of Dance Therapy Infulence on the Parkinson’s Disease Patients’ Lower Limb Biomechanics’. Science – Future of Lithuania / Mokslas – Lietuvos Ateitis 8 (6): 583–86. doi:10.3846/mla.2016.978.

Selbach-Allen, Megan, Kevin McIlhany, and Sommer Gentry. 2011. “Optimization and Pose Selection for a Lindy Hop Partnered Spin.” In 2011 American Control Conference, 3831–36. New York: Ieee.

* Though there are other means such as using #ICanHazPDF on twitter, emailing the author or asking a friend at uni that you could have luck with, though book chapters might be more tricky.

Classic Lindy Hop Music – The Hottest 100

User Shadowpoga on reddit asked about classic songs for DJing at a lindy hop dance. Whilst I gave my two cents in the comments, I didn’t actually post any song suggestions.

That’s what this post is for.

I went through my own collection and picked out the 100 best tracks from the 30s through to the early 60s. I may get around to picking out a top 10 or something and talking a bit about each, but given my track record it’s not likely. 🙂

I’m not claiming that this represents any sort of objective top 100, which would require some sort of voting system – and some way of resolving what to do about all the covers, alternate takes and recordings of the same song by the same artist in different sessions. There’s a number of notable exceptions (such as Willie Bryant – A Viper’s Moan and Roy Eldrige – Jump Through the Window) missing from this list. Despite having a collection that would take 3 weeks of continuous listening to get through, there’s still some ridiculously popular songs that I don’t have.*

In order of artist they are:

Name Artist BPM Year Duration
Davenport Blues Adrian Rollini & His Orchestra 139 1934 3:17
Wham (Wham, Re, Bop, Boom, Bam) Andy Kirk and His Twelve Coulds of Joy 198 1940 3:05
Back Bay Shuffle Art Shaw and His Orchestra 190 1938 3:16
Hop, Skip and Jump Artie Shaw and His Gramercy 5 177 1945 2:58
Just Kiddin’ Around Artie Shaw and His Orchestra 153 1941 3:24
The Grabtown Grapple Artie Shaw and His Orchestra 192 1945 2:57
Traffic Jam Artie Shaw and His Orchestra 261 1939 2:17
Big John’s Special Benny Goodman 185 1938 3:08
Goody, Goody Benny Goodman 194 1936 2:32
Swingtime in The Rockies Benny Goodman 231 1936 3:10
King Porter Stomp Benny Goodman and His Orchestra 184 1951 3:08
Let’s Dance Benny Goodman and His Orchestra 203 1939 2:34
Stompin’ at the Savoy Benny Goodman Orchestra 153 1954 3:15
Forty Cups of Coffee Betty Miller with Sid Phillips & His Band 134 3:04
Are You All Reet? Cab Calloway 155 1941 3:04
A Chicken Ain’t Nothin’ but a Bird Cab Calloway 161 1940 2:53
The Jumpin’ Jive Cab Calloway and His Orchestra 176 1939 2:51
Boo-Wah Boo-Wah Cab Calloway and His Orchestra 199 1940 2:52
Afternoon Of A Moax (Shake, Rattle ‘n’ Roll) Charlie Barnet 131 1940 3:23
Wild Mob Of The Fish Pond Charlie Barnet 133 1940 3:15
Cherokee Charlie Barnet 174 1939 3:20
Flying Home Charlie Barnet 183 1940 2:55
The Last Jump (A Jump To End All Jumps) Charlie Barnet 244 1939 2:41
The Dipsy Doodle Chick Webb and His Orchestra 188 1937 3:10
Splanky Count Basie and His Orchestra 121 1957 3:36
Georgianna Count Basie and His Orchestra 165 1938 2:35
Shorty George Count Basie and His Orchestra 206 1938 2:46
Jumpin’ At the Woodside Count Basie and His Orchestra 237 1938 3:10
All Right, Ok, You Win Count Basie – Joe Williams 133 1955 3:05
Roll ‘Em Pete Count Basie – Joe Williams 178 1955 3:12
Corner Pocket Count Basie and His Orchestra 139 1955 5:17
Blues in Hoss Flat Count Basie and His Orchestra 140 1959 3:14
Four, Five, Six Count Basie and His Orchestra 142 1962 4:39
Swing, Brother, Swing Count Basie and His Orchestra 154 1937 1:50
9:20 Special Count Basie and His Orchestra 196 1941 3:12
Swingin’ the Blues Count Basie and His Orchestra 223 1960 3:15
Every Day I Have the Blues Count Basie Big Band 109 1956 5:11
One O’Clock Jump Count Basie Octet 192 1950 2:53
Take the ‘A’ Train Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 166 1941 2:57
The Gal From Joe’s Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 166 1938 2:58
Exposition Swing Duke Ellington and His Famous Orchestra 219 1936 3:12
Ridin’ and Jivin’ Earl Hines and His Orchestra 154 1939 2:42
Smooth Sailing Ella Fitzgerald 118 1951 3:06
Mack the Knife Ella Fitzgerald 139 1960 4:39
Lindy Hopper’s Delight Ella Fitzgerald 195 1939 2:45
On the Sunny Side of the Street Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie 105 1963 3:44
Shiny Stockings Ella Fitzgerald and Count Basie 126 1963 3:34
The Frim Fram Sauce Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong 106 1946 3:13
Solid as a Rock Ella Fitzgerald with Sy Oliver and His Orchestra 149 1950 2:59
Tuxedo Junction Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra 155 1939 3:14
Your Feets Too Big Fats Waller 119 1931 2:58
Dark Eyes Fats Waller 163 1931 3:22
The Yacht Club Swing Fats Waller 172 1938 3:11
Christopher Columbus Fletcher Henderson and His Orchestra 186 1936 3:08
Pennsylvania 6-5000 Glenn Miller 148 1940 3:15
Jeep Jockey Jump Glenn Miller & The Army Air Force Band 204 1943 2:15
Little Brown Jug Glenn Miller and The Andrews Sisters 170 1939 3:11
Two O’Clock Jump Harry James 154 1955 3:00
Bottom’s Up Illinois Jacquet and his All Stars 198 1945 2:58
Jacquet in the Box Illinois Jacquet Sextet 157 1946 2:56
For Dancers Only Jimmie Lunceford And His Orchestra 149 1937 2:43
‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s The Way That You Do It) Jimmie Lunceford And His Orchestra 158 1939 3:05
Posin’ Jimmie Lunceford And His Orchestra 191 1937 3:01
Harlem Shout Jimmie Lunceford and His Orchestra 197 1936 2:56
Kansas City Jimmy Witherspoon 128 1959 3:10
Good Rockin’ Tonight Jimmy Witherspoon 150 1963 2:43
Bucket’s Got A Hole In It Kid Ory’s Creole Jazz Band 121 1953 2:51
On Revival Day LaVern Baker 142 1958 3:16
Hey, Ba-Ba-Re-Bop Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra 132 1945 3:21
Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra 132 1949 3:24
Lavendar Coffin Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra 137 1949 2:47
Flying Home, No. 2 Lionel Hampton and His Orchestra 162 1944 3:07
Ain’t Misbehavin’ Louis Armstrong 171 1955 4:01
Don’t Get Around Much Anymore Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington 109 1961 3:35
I’m Beginning To See The Light Louis Armstrong & Duke Ellington 148 1961 3:39
A Fine Romance Louis Armstrong with Ella Fitzgerald 174 1957 3:51
Caldonia Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 165 1945 2:43
Choo Choo Ch’boogie Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five 171 1946 2:44
Just a Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody Louis Prima 127 1956 4:44
Jump, Jive An’ Wail Louis Prima 208 1956 3:29
Let It Roll Again Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra 125 1950 2:58
Shout, Sister, Shout Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra 141 1941 2:44
Apollo Jump Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra 147 1941 3:26
Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well? Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra 163 1944 3:00
Savoy Lucky Millinder and his Orchestra 191 1943 3:26
Bugle Call Rag Metronome All Stars 262 1941 3:16
The Fox Ray Anthony and His Orchestra 162 1951 2:33
All the Cats Join In Roy Eldridge and His Orchestra 182 1946 2:40
Viper Mad Sidney “Pops” Bechet with Noble Sissle Swingsters 178 1938 3:05
Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho Sidney Bechet and His Blue Note Jazzmen 178 1949 3:20
Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me Sidney Bechet and His Hot Six 142 1951 5:44
The Ball Game Sister Wynona Carr 140 1952 3:06
Look Out Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart 195 1939 2:55
Jump Session Slim Gaillard & Slam Stewart 163 1938 2:37
We Cats Will Swing for You The Cats and The Fiddle 182 1939 2:38
Gang Busters The Cats and The Fiddle 192 1939 3:07
Yes Indeed Tommy Dorsey 131 1941 3:29
Opus One Tommy Dorsey 169 1944 2:57
Well, Get It Tommy Dorsey 189 1942 3:03
Keep On Churnin’ Wynonie Harris with Todd Rhodes Orchestra 144 1952 2:54

* And given my current self-imposed music buying restrictions isn’t likely to be corrected anytime soon.

The Evolution of Swing Dance (in a flowchart)

From my lindy hop population post I discovered the swing dancing subreddit. During a discussion about a swing dance evolution infographic someone threw down the gauntlet to make an improved evolutionary tree and I (perhaps foolishly) picked it up.

Here’s the result (click on the image to load a viewer for the chart – complete with hyperlinks for most of the dances):

Swing Evolution

Click on the pic to launch the launch the viewer

I’ve got mixed feelings about this chart. Whilst it’s an improvement over what’s currently out there it’s still rather reductionist. I know the real Lindy Hop historians are unlikely to be impressed, hence one of the reasons why I’ve gone to some lengths to emphasise on the chart it’s inaccurate nature.

Truth be told I’m not sure you could ever draw a decently accurate evolutionary tree. Even if you could pin down dates and names there are two obvious problems:

  • Firstly there would be way more edges in the graph. All the dances being danced by the same people at the same time in the same place would have obviously influenced each other and movements of people around the United States and the world would have moved them around. How would you measure the influence of one dance on another – what would qualify as a link?
  • Much of what’s written down and documented (aside from folk like Mura Dehn and Marshall Stearns – and even they aren’t necessarily 100% reliable) comes from (white) dance teachers who often invented simplified versions of steps that they saw in the ballrooms, gave them fancy names, and got their picture in the newspaper – but it’s unclear how many people actually danced these forms. What’s the criteria for including a dance in the first place? EDIT: I also don’t think I make clear that many of the ‘evolutions’ of dance forms involved the appropriation of Black vernacular forms by white dancers for profit – making them less cultural evolution and more cultural theft. The lines in the infographic should in no way be interpreted as neutral or natural – they obscure what was often dastardly conduct.

But enough from me – I’m no historian. So I’d welcome comments from those who are, tearing this apart. 🙂


Welcome Loyal Readers!

For improved customisation and hosting of various things (see my next post) I’ve migrated over to a custom wordpress install. Everything should be more or less in the same spot and I’ll be making some enhancements over time. In the meantime why not take the opportunity to read through some of the archives. 🙂



PS. Hope to see some of you in Herrang – I’ll be getting there this Friday.

How Many Lindy Hoppers are There

I’ve been wondering about this question for a while but with a little free time I finally got around to having a decent crack at working it out with some GIS and statistics.The short answer: by my estimation about 120,000. Read on for the longer answer.

Where are people Lindy Hopping?

This is actually a somewhat difficult question. Scenes are constantly starting and folding – such as scenes in college towns in the US and those where expats are the primary drivers and consumers.* Plus the advent of the travelling lindy hopper has led to many camps being held in places that don’t have a regular scene. For this purpose a “scene” is a location that actually has some form of regular Lindy hop be that classes, social dancing or some other organising activity.

Herrang only has dancing 5 weeks out of the year – that doesn’t count. (photo by Rikomatic)

My starting point was the World Lindy Hop Map which I supplemented with maps for countries and smaller scenes including the LA Lindy Hop Map, The Lindy Hop Map Australia, Lindy Hop and Swing Dance in Italy, and the UK Lindy Map.

Next was quality control.

I ended up removing a whole bunch of points. There were plenty with incorrect geocoding (e.g. suburbs of cities that were coded to small towns, country entries sitting in the middle of nowhere etc.), I also did a fair bit of checking to ensure currency of schools, events, etc.** Finally I did a bunch of research to add new venues, website links and cover as broad a geography as possible.

The final result was 827 organisations, dance schools or other evidence of regular lindy hop activity in a particular location. I’m sure I’ve missed plenty of organisations in local areas – but my mission was to see if a location had lindy hop, not how many dance schools/societies were there.

Guess the map projection and you get a gold star.

As I don’t plan on keeping this updated I’m not going to put it on google maps. However here is the data in kmz and shapefile format for those who wish to use the data in your own projects and maps. I’ve made my best effort with this data, but it’s necessarily incomplete and the locations are rather approximate – don’t use this for driving directions or holiday planning without further research!

How many Lindy Hop scenes are there?

Obviously, these locations aren’t all individual scenes. Recognising that some scenes are supported by 1 large organisation and others by many smaller ones I wanted to get at the number of geographically independent scenes.

First I gathered venues to the nearest urban locality (using data from Geonames) – all those that were within about 15-20km I considered to be part of that locality. I merged a number of these together where the localities were separated by less than 30km – considering that this is probably the maximum distance (as the crow flies) for there to be enough mixing amongst venues for them to be

The answer – 463 scenes spread across 58 countries (or 59 depending on how you count Taiwan) and a range of self governing territories (e.g. New Caledonia, Hong Kong and the Åland Islands).

From this we can see that Lindy Hop is an activity for the relatively wealthy in the world – here is a chart of lindy hop prescene graphed against the Human Development Index***:

How many lindy hoppers are there?

Given the data I’ve generated here’s a related question: How many people could lindy hop if they wanted to? To assess geographic access (leaving aside demographic and cultural factors that affect access) to the above listed venues I applied the World Population Layer to determine the number of people living within 15km of a lindy hop venue. The result: about 308 million people.

Now onto the number of lindy hoppers. Rather than try and guess the average scene size (which can be tricky) I’ve applied some fancier statistics and a Monte Carlo simulation to get a bounded guess. There’s a more complete explanation and the code I used in a short R script I wrote here.

The assumptions I made are:

  • The size of lindy hop scenes are lognormally distributed. (Not bad – but without any data on actual scene sizes is untested)
  • The largest scene size is 5000. (This has been oft quoted in relation to the size of Seoul‘s lindy hop scene but London and LA/Orange County could also have sizes somewhere in this vicinity)
  • The median scene size is somewhere between 50 and 150.
  • The total number of scenes are 463.

The Monte Carlo simulation generated a stochastic set of 50,000 international lindy hop communities by randomly sampling the median scene size (from a uniform distribution) and then randomly sampling individual scene sizes (from the lognormal distribution) to get a total population of each. This then allowed statistics to be generated

This gives a median of 118,000 and a 90% chance of the “true” number being being between 82,000 and 153,000.****

Only 2% of lindy hoppers made it to Frankie 100. (Photo by hoptothebeat)

So now it’s over to you. Can anyone else come up with a better answer?

* South Asia is a great example. I know of Lindy Hop being taught at one stage or another in Kathmandu, Mumbai, Dhaka, Chittagong, Bangalore, Dharamsala and Delhi at one time or another but combining short ex-pat contracts with a culture where partnered dancing is highly unusual it typically hasn’t stuck around.

**It doesn’t help that there are literally hundreds of dance schools and other organisations out there whose websites seem to have been created back when geocities was popular and left unchanged (except for content updates). Seriously people, if wordpress is too hard for you spend the money on a web designer.

*** And in those countries with Medium Human Development the lindy hop tends to be located in wealthier cities. This is probably also the case with lindy hop in countries with High and Very High Human Development.

**** The average and the mode were also about 118,000.