1 – After Seben 1929
Baring the uncovering of some archival footage (which is possible, film shot at the 1928 Harlem dance marathon – where Lindy was supposedly invented – exists in a vault in South Carolina) this film from 1929 is the earliest example we have of Lindy Hop and features the legendary ‘Shorty’ George Snowden. With comments from Bobby White:
2 – Hellzapoppin – 1941
The most famous Lindy Hop routine on film. You can also watch the full movie here.I like this version with the musical introduction featuring the genius of Slim and Slam which illustrates the call and response features of jazz.
3 – The Spirit Moves
The most important video documentary of African American vernacular dance. Mura Dehn filmed a bunch of the greats from the Savoy, including Al Minns and Leon James, amongst many other dancers tracing the changes in dance styles across the 20th century. This is just a preview of the DVD (if you’re serious about this shit you should buy yourself a copy). There’s videos on youtube of various lindy hop related scenes that you can search out as well.
4 – Mad Dog 2002
Badass! was a quality missing during the neo-swing and groove phases that contemporary lindy hop went through – but it’s not missing in this routine. It’s was pretty influential (I wasn’t around then, but those who were still talk about it) and a great example of a throw down everything balls-to-the-wall jam.
5 – Max and Thomas 2007
Max and Thomas of the Ninjammerz showing us how it’s done. This routine is actually a parody of a routine done originally by Carla Heiney and Kevin St. Laurent which you can watch here.
6 – Skye and Frida “24 Robbers” – 2007
No list of lindy hop videos is complete without a performance from the power couple of Frida Segerdahl and Skye Humphries. This is one of their more iconic routines (and one of my personal favourites).
Jerry Almonte has a lengthy post about this routine that is well worth reading – in fact if you really want to get yourself schooled on the recent history of lindy hop (and have some time to kill – it’s about 70 pages long) check out his Artistry in Rhythm series.
7 – I Charleston Japan – 2009
You’ve probably seen an I Charleston video (there’s more than 40 now) but this one started them all.
8 – The Last Bounce – 2010
Lindy Hop in an arena spectacular? Where else but Sweden of course. The Harlem Hotshots wow the audience in this section of The Last Bounce.
9 – Black Coffee – 2011
There’s now a bunch of Lindy Hop videos made by Lindy Hoppers which have rather high production values. This was one of the first I saw and remains a favourite:
10 – What is Lindy Hop? – 2013
It only took 8 years but there’s finally a video on You Tube that actually explains what Lindy Hop is (aside from the misleading references to newspaper headlines). Put together by Yehoodi for this year’s live broadcast of ILHC it’s something you can send to relos and non-dancing friends.
Bonus – Evolution of Lindy Hop – 2010
Karen Turman and Andrew Thigpen’s ILHC routine references a tonne of choreography from classic Lindy Hop videos. You can read about the thought process behind it in a series of guest posts (again on Jerry’s blog), Ben Yau has an analysis of all the videos and there’s also a compilation here.