If you are a fan of swing dancing and its rich history, you must have heard about Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. This group of African-American dancers took the world by storm in the 1930s and 1940s with their electrifying performances that redefined swing dancing. In this article, we will take a closer look at who Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers were and the movie they starred in.
Who Were Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers?
Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers was a dance troupe formed by Herbert “Whitey” White in the late 1920s in Harlem, New York City. The group consisted of some of the best African-American dancers of that era, including Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Al Minns, and Leon James. The troupe was known for its high-energy performances that incorporated acrobatics and aerials into swing dancing, which was a new concept at that time.
Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers became an instant sensation after they won a dance competition at the legendary Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. The group continued to perform at various venues across the United States and Europe, spreading their unique style of swing dancing.
The Movie – Hellzapoppin’
In 1941, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers got their big break when they starred in the Hollywood movie “Hellzapoppin’.” The movie was based on a popular Broadway musical of the same name and featured some of the best swing dancers of that era.
The plot of “Hellzapoppin'” revolved around two comedians who get trapped inside a haunted house with an eclectic mix of characters. The movie featured several musical numbers and comedy skits but what stole the show were the electrifying dance performances by Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.
One particular scene from “Hellzapoppin'” featuring Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers has become iconic in swing dancing history. The scene shows the dancers performing a high-energy routine to the tune of “Jumpin’ at the Woodside” by Count Basie. The routine includes several aerials and acrobatic moves that were unheard of in swing dancing at that time.
Legacy of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers
Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers paved the way for African-American dancers to gain recognition in the entertainment industry. The group broke down racial barriers with their performances, which were appreciated by audiences of all races.
The legacy of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers continues to this day, with many swing dancers around the world incorporating their signature moves into their routines. The group also inspired the formation of other dance troupes, such as The Harlem Hotshots and The Rhythm Hot Shots.
In conclusion, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers were a group of African-American dancers who revolutionized swing dancing with their high-energy performances. Their contribution to the entertainment industry cannot be overstated, and their legacy continues to inspire new generations of swing dancers.