[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.
Manning, Frankie, and Cynthia R. Millman. 2007. Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop. Temple University Press.
Miller, Norma. 2009. SWING, BABY SWING!. Self published. http://www.blurb.com/b/1160083-swing-baby-swing.
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.
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.
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.
Emery, Lynne. 1972. Black Dance in the US from 1619 to 1970. Palo Alto, CA: National Press Books.
Jackson, Jonathan David. 2001. “Improvisation in African-American Vernacular Dancing.” Dance Research Journal, 40–53.
Malnig, Julie. 2009. Ballroom, Boogie, Shimmy Sham, Shake: A Social and Popular Dance Reader. 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:
History of Lindy Hop
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. http://www.scribd.com/doc/36181005/The-Lindy-by-Margaret-Batiuchok-NYU-Masters-Thesis-16-May-1988-History-of-Swing-Dancing.
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.
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.
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.
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. http://diginole.lib.fsu.edu/undergradresearch/33.
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 – +.
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.
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.
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
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. 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
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.
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.
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. https://www.cla.purdue.edu/academic/idis/american-studies/documents/unruh_603_paper.pdf
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. http://dspace.mit.edu/handle/1721.1/33207.
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.
dogpossumOctober 7, 2014 at 03:16
Here are a couple more I dug out of my phd (Carroll, Samantha. Hepfidelity: Swing dance and the role of digital media in embodied practice. 2006). I have a few published conference papers as well, but buggered if I know how to find them now.
Is Jess Gordon on this list somewhere? She was doing a phd on dance stuff. And Anais Sekind probably has some work too.
Back, Les. “Nazism and the Call of the Jitterbug.” Dance in the City. Ed. Helen Thomas. London: Macmillan, 1997. 175 – 97.
Card, Amanda. “The ‘Great Articulation of the Inarticulate’: Reading the Jazz Body in
Australian and American Popular Culture in the 1960s.” Journal of Australian
Studies 58 (1998): 18 – 28.
[This one is closely related to lindy hop stuff, except it’s about jazz dance on stage in Australia. Amanda Card teaches a unit at USyd which discusses the Af-Am history of jazz dance (including lindy hop).]
DeFrantz, Thomas. “The Black Male Body in Concert Dance.” Moving Words: Re-
Writing Dance. Ed. Gay Morris. London and New York: Routledge, 1996. 107 –
[Tommy DeFrantz has written great stuff about the black history of lindy hop and hip hip.]
Emery, Lynne Fauley. Black Dance in the United States from 1619 to 1970. California:
National Press Books, 1972.
[A really good history of black dance in the US, including lindy hop.]
Friedland, LeeEllen. “Social Commentary in African-American Movement Performance.” Human Action Signs in Cultural Context: The Visible and the Invisible in Movement and Dance. Ed. Brenda Farnell. London: Scarecrow Press, 1995. 136 – 57.
[A discussion of tap dance, which references other work on black American dance.]
Gilroy, Paul. “Exer(or)Cising Power: Black Bodies in the Black Public Sphere.” Dance in the City. Ed. Helen Thomas. London: Macmillan, 1997. 21 – 34.
[Gilroy references black dances like lindy hop, but his work is based in the UK, where he talks about black diaspora – it’s super useful and important for engaging with issues of appropriation, etc. He has a radical political approach which is quite exciting. He also tweets.]
Gottschild, Brenda Dixon. Digging the Africanist Presence in American Performance.
Connecticut and London: Greenwood Press, 1996.
—. “Stripping the Emperor: The Africanist Presence in American Concert Dance.”
Looking Out: Perspectives on Dance and Criticism in a Multicultural World. Eds.
David Gere, et al. New York: Schirmer Books, 1995. 95 – 121.
[Gottschild discusses all sorts of black dance. More radical black politics, which I think most of the modern lindy hop scholarship sorely needs.]
Griffin, Sean. “The Gang’s All Here: Generic Versus Racial Integration in the 1940s Musical.” Cinema Journal 42.1 (2002): 21 – 45.
[I can’t remember whether this references lindy hop exactly, but I found it super useful for talking about things like why the Hellzapoppin scene with Whitey’s LHs is ‘segregated’ from the film’s broader narrative.]
Hazzard-Gordon, Katrina. “African-American Vernacular Dance: Core Culture and Meaning Operatives.” Journal of Black Studies 15.4 (1985): 427-45.
—. Jookin’: The Rise of Social Dance Formations in African-American Culture. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.
[More radical black politics discussing dance (including lindy hop): this is an important author.]
Jackson, Jonathan David. “Improvisation in African-American Vernacular Dancing.”
Dance Research Journal 33.2 (2001/2002): 40 – 53.
[More politics, with lindy hop references. I’m including these guys because I really worry about research into lindy hop which doesn’t address issues of cultural and historical context, particularly in light of all the blackface/anti-semitism bullshit that’s been getting around lately.]
Kealiinohomoku, Joann. “An Anthropologist Looks at Ballet as a Form of Ethnic Dance.”
What Is Dance? Readings in Theory and Criticism. Eds. Roger Copeland and
Marshall Cohen. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1983. 533 – 49.
[This is THE reference for talking about dance and ethnicity. It is SO important in dance sociology.]
Knight, Arthur. Disintegrating the Musical: Black Performance and American Musical Film. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2002.
[More references to Hellzapoppin’ and other lindy hop sequences on film.]
Lamche, Pascale, dir. Sophiatown. Film. 2003.
[A documentary film featuring footage of South African lindy hoppers in the 1950s.]
Malone, Jacqui. Steppin’ on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance.
Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1996.
[Extensive references to lindy hop and other black jazz dances.]
Martin, Carol. Dance Marathons: Performing American Culture in the 1920s and 1930s.
Jackson: University of Mississippi, 1994.
Morris, Gay, ed. Moving Words: Re-Writing Dance. London and New York: Routledge, 1996.
Murray, Albert. Stomping the Blues. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1976.
Pond, Steven F. “Jamming the Reception: Ken Burns, Jazz, and the Problem of ‘America’s Music’.” Notes 60.1 (2003): 11-45.
[For an approach to critiquing representation of jazz in pop culture – this one prob doesn’t mention lindy hop at all, but it’s fascinating for its critique of Burns, race, and creativity.]
Puri, Rajika, and Diana Hart-Johnson. “Thinking with Movement: Improvising Versus Composing?” Human Action Signs in Cultural Context: The Visible and the Invisible in Movement and Dance. Ed. Brenda Farnell. London: Scarecrow Press, 1995. 158 – 85.
[Improv v choreography much?]
Szwed, John F., and Morton Marks. “The Afro-American Transformation of European
Set Dances and Dance Suites.” Dance Research Journal 20.1 (1988): 29 – 36.
Thomas, Helen, ed. Dance in the City. London: Macmillan, 1997.
Usner, Eric Martin. “Dancing in the Past, Living in the Present: Nostalgia and Race in Southern California Neo-Swing Dance Culture.” Dance Research Journal 33.2 (2001/2002): 87 – 101.
Villa, Raul H. “The Right to the City in Los Angeles: Discourse and Practice of a Chicano
Alternative Public Sphere.” Masses, Classes and the Public Sphere. Eds. Mike
Hill and Warren Montag. London: Verso, 2000. 41 – 61.
[the BEST piece about the ‘zoot suit riots’]
X, Malcolm. The Autobiography of Malcolm X, with the Assistance of Alex Haley.
London: Hutchinson, 1966.
lindypenguinOctober 7, 2014 at 21:56
I’ve added a number of the papers into the (slightly better organised) list and tracked down some of Anais’ writings.
There’s a number of other people working on PhDs (like Harri Heinila for example), but I haven’t been able to find anything they or Jess Gordon have published.
Kendra UnruhOctober 7, 2014 at 04:29
I wrote my dissertation about Lindy Hop: “‘Jubliant Spirits of Freedom’: Representations of the Lindy Hop in Literature and Film from the Swing Era to the Swing Revival.” The first chapter has been published in the Journal of Pan African Studies and can be found here: http://www.jpanafrican.com/docs/vol4no6/4.6-12FromKitchen.pdf
lindypenguinOctober 7, 2014 at 21:57
Thanks! I’ve added it in.
PaulinaSeptember 6, 2017 at 23:40
I was interested in reading your dissertation but unfortunately I wasn t able to go to the link .. I was sent to a blank page. Is there any way to acess to it ?? thanks a lot, Pauli
gallloglassOctober 11, 2014 at 18:24
Dunno if you’re interested in more practical/less academic things, but I’ve also got the following (via http://www.lurklurk.org/lindyhop/books.html):
Simon Selmon, “Let’s Lindy”, Dance Books (1993), ISBN 1852730390
Simon Selmon, “Swing Dancing”, Connections Book Publishing (2002), ISBN 1859060935
Skippy Blair, “Contemporary Social Dance: Disco to Tango and Back”, Golden State Dance Teachers Association (1978), ISBN 0932980015
Craig Hutchinson, “Swing Dancer v1.12”, Potomac Swing Dance Club (1988,1993), ISBN 0962061700
TigerDaphnaJanuary 8, 2016 at 18:58
It might be worth noting that for pdfs hidden behind journal paywalls, you can use #icanhazpdf along with the link to the paper and someone will likely send you the document (if you don’t have a connection to someone inside a university directly.
AnaïsDecember 15, 2016 at 15:33
Christopher Wells has finished his PhD dissertation on Chick Webb and the Savoy. I recommend it!
Wells, C. (2014). “Go Harlem!”. Chick Webb and his Dancing Audience during the Great Depression. Music. Chapel Hill, NC, University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, NC. Ph.D.
Markus M.December 30, 2016 at 15:41
Hello Lindy Penguin,
if the subject of the European Swing Kids & Jazz Culture during the 1940s, is also of interest for your bibliography, I can recommend Anton Tantner’s thesis.His webpage links a pdf-version of it, albeit in German: http://tantner.net/schlurfs/schlurfs.html
But there is also a short article in English published in ISHA Journal, 1994:
I can highly recommend reading it, as it sheds some light on the Austrian Schlurfs (aka working-class Swing Kids) and their subculture.
All the best, Markus Mogg
PaulinaSeptember 6, 2017 at 23:32
Hi everybody !
I am a student in Argentina and I am currently writing about the LIndy and topics related to it. I have been trying to find this thesis “Liberating and Regimenting the Body: Taming the ‘Animal’ Dances” By HUmphries Skye, but I havent had any luck…. WOuld you let me know if I can access to the paper somehow ? I even wrote to GWU but they don t have access to this paper.
Any help would be appreciated !
Thanks a lot !!
AnaïsNovember 29, 2017 at 16:55
You can get it through your university library. That’s how I was able to have access to it. However, I know Skye is not too keen on having people reading it for understandable reasons.
AnaïsNovember 29, 2017 at 16:58
My dissertation in French will be soon available. Anaïs SEKINE, « Les mondes du Lindy Hop. Appropriation culturelle et politiques de la joie ». PhD, sociology, Université de Montréal, 2017. Anyone can also just contact me to get it.