Swing


There is a terrific swing dance every Saturday night at the Dovercourt House featuring a great line-up of live swing bands! The events include beginner swing dance classes before the party each week. Please visit our Swing Schedule for details.

Saturday Night Swing

Looking for something to do in Toronto on a Saturday night? Swing dancing at Saturday Night Swing is just the thing for you!

Saturday Night Swing is the main swing dance event in Toronto featuring an outstanding line up of live swing bands, DJs, teachers and classes every Saturday night! The evening begins with dance classes open to everyone including absolute beginners, 7pm to 9pm. A Swing Dance Party follows from 9:10pm to 1am. Everyone is welcome. See the Swing Schedule for schedule details.

Saturday nights also feature The Dance Ambassadors, a team of volunteers who are specifically there to welcome newcomers to the party. They’re there to invite you to dance, especially in the early part of the evening before the first band break. They also attend the 8pm dance lesson so that you’ll have a chance to meet them during the lesson rotation. The Dance Ambassadors are a Toronto Lindy Hop program run by volunteers. They are named in honour of the late great Frankie Manning who was known as the Ambassador or Lindy Hop.

About Swing Dancing

Lindy Hop is the most popular swing dance in the world today, and the most popular swing dance of the Swing Era. It is Swing Toronto’s favourite swing dance, and we dance it every Saturday night.

Lindy Hop is a joyful, playful, and improvisational partner dance. The musical universe that goes with Lindy Hop is wonderful. Lindy Hop is steeped in history and has a large, enthusiastic and mostly younger following around the world today.

Some classic Lindy Hop footage

Let’s Make Music – Dean Collins & Bertha Lee (1942?)
Hellzapoppin’ – performance in 1941 by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers of Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom in New York City
Hot Chocolate – performance by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers with the Duke Ellington band
Day at the Races – performance by a Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers group in this 1937 Marx Brothers Movie
Groovie Movie – 1944  Lindy Hip movie (note that Jitterbug is another name for Lindy Hop)
Ghost Catchers – 1944
Rip it Up – 1956

Some contemporary Lindy Hop footage

Nick Williams & Alice Mei
Kevin St Laurent & Jo Hoffberg
Sharon & Juan  –  more Sharon & Juan
Camp Jitterbug finals 2008
David Frutos & Kim Clever
Nathalie & Yuval

More about Lindy Hop

Lindy Hop is a joyful, playful improvisational dance. It is the classic dance of the Swing Era, and the most popular Swing Dance around the world today, including at Saturday Night Swing.

According to Leon James (one of the original Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers superstars): “Want to dance Lindy Hop correctly? Then don’t be real concerned about ‘correctness’!”

Lindy Hop is done in different styles/ways, and in old film footage you may see that no two of the original great Lindy Hoppers do it in exactly the same style/way, but as Malcolm X (the great black American civil rights leader, and a Lindy Hop keener as a teenager in Boston and Harlem) said: “Any two people who can Lindy Hop at all can Lindy Hop together.”

Lindy Hop was first called Lindy Hop in 1928/1927 by Shorty George Snowden (sometimes called the father of Lindy Hop) in New York City,  in celebration of the first transatlantic airplane flight by Charles Lindberg (Charles Lindberg was nick-named Lindy in front page newspaper headlines like “Lindy Hops Atlantic”). Lindy Hop became a huge craze in the Swing Era and continued to be very popular into the 1950s. Other names for Lindy Hop include Jitterbug. It went out of fashion in the dark ages of social partner dancing in the 1960s, and then began a revival in the 1980s which has spread all around the world making Lindy Hop the most popular and widespread swing dance in the world today.

Lindy Hop origins: The first Swing Dance is Texas Tommy Swing (also called Texas Tommy) created by Afro-Americans in California by 1910, partly a reworking of polka, and spreading to New York City in 1911. Charleston may have developed out of Texas Tommy steps (the name Charleston comes from a dance show called Charleston which was performed in New York City), although some believe Charleston’s origins are in the 19th century, and some of Charleston’s origin long before that in Africa. Once swing dancing reached Harlem, New York circa 1911 it developed further. In the 1920s before the name Lindy Hop was used, the swing dancing done at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom was called Two Step and Break Aways. The styles of Lindy Hop generally done around the world today are close to Lindy Hop as done in the later 1930s and into the 1940s. (1928 Lindy Hop is similar in structure to subsequent Lindy Hop, but significant modifications were made in the 1930s.) One of the great Lindy Hoppers of the 1930s is the much loved Frankie Manning who is regarded by many as the greatest Lindy Hopper of all time, and who also taught Lindy Hop around the world from about 1985 until his death in April, 2008.

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