Four part Swing Era lecture at The Juilliard School!


Swing! Swing! Swing!

From the 1930s through the early 1940s, America was swept off its feet by a transformational period known as the Swing Era. On one hand, the nation’s collective conscience was coming to grips with the harsh reality of the Great Depression. On the other, the masses were introduced to the red-hot sounds being broadcasted from opulent ballrooms that featured the likes of Fletcher Henderson, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Benny Goodman. At the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, African American dancers developed a new couples’ dance alongside this new music. The Lindy Hop (named in 1928 in honor of Charles Lindberg’s solo flight across the Atlantic) was also known as the Jitterbug and/or Swing. It contained many ingredients of the Charleston, but involved new developments in dance, such as the “breakaway,” where the partners split apart, as well as spectacular lifts and throws where the women were tossed in the air. Swing dancing and music spread from the Savoy and other ballrooms to the white mainstream across the nation and then out to the world as an international craze. In this class, we explore both the music and the dance of the Swing Era. We listen to the recordings and highlight the elements that defined this period in musical history, and watch videos that show the popular dance forms that were enjoyed during this time—and are still practiced today. The last three sessions will taught by the dynamic dance historian Melanie George.

Wednesdays 5:30 – 7pm

8 weeks

September 25 – November 13

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