George Grenidge

aka “Long-Legged George”, “Long George”

 

 

Detail from a 1938 photograph by Howard W. Frank

 

An important figure in the Golden Age of Lindy Hop, and a member of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, George Grenidge danced in three of the five feature films that were made by the group, including the ill-fated Everybody Sing, with Judy Garland. During the mid to late thirties, when the Lindy Hop grew like wildfire nationally and developed into a substantial dance form at the Savoy, Grenidge was one of the prime movers, along with Frankie Manning and Snooky Beasley. The three often vied for first place in the Saturday night competions at the Savoy Ballroom.  Grenidge and his partner Ella Gibson won the Harvest Moon Ball in 1936.

 

He was known as “Long-Legged George” at the Savoy, where there were a number of popular Georges (see Twistmouth George and Shorty George Snowden.) His specialty was Charleston steps. He created the “Long-Legged Charleston” to exaggerate even more the prodigious length of his legs by adding a slide forward and back. This gave the illusion that the kicks extended even further than they did. He also created the “Turn over Charleston” which you can see him do with the woman in front of him in A Day at the Races.
With Frankie Manning, he worked on the development of many of the airsteps, which were then brand new. He is particularly associated with the creation of the Side Flip.

Grenidge and Willamae Ricker are featured in the Dec.28, 1936 issue of Life Magazine demonstrating how to do the Lindy Hop. George also danced frequently with Norma Miller and some think he was the best partner she ever had.

Although a top dancer at the Savoy between 1935 and 1940, Long George seems to have disappeared from the dance scene by 1940 after meeting a woman and settling down into domestic life.

Films

A Day at the Races
Everybody Sing
Radio City Revels

Life Magazine Dec 14, 1236

Life Magazine 12/14/1936
George Grenidge
Willa Mae Ricker

 

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