1. Promoting the Lindy Hop by Answering These Questions
- Do I actively recognize that Lindy Hop is a Black art form? Is that recognition and acceptance represented in the way that I run dance events, classes, and overall dance scene?
- Am I comfortable dealing with or discussing race matters? If not, am I in a partnership with someone else that is?
- Do I look for, consider, or hire qualified bands or orchestras that are led by or include Black musicians and singers?
- Do I look for, consider, or hire qualified Black instructors on all levels?
- Do I look for, consider, or hire qualified Black DJs for my events or to cover band breaks?
- Does my event’s attendance (instructors, bands, audience, dancers) reflect the diverse populations of the world? If not, do I have a plan in place to make my event more welcoming to people of diverse backgrounds?
- Does the way that Lindy Hop is danced in my community look and feel like the original?
- Do I want to gain knowledge and do I seek out understanding about the African American experience? What about the dance history?
- Do I hire staff that have been vetted for non-discriminatory practices in the scene?
- Do I invite constructive responses for policy and programs to address racial inequities within my events?
- Do I invite local dance communities of non-whites to events?
- Do I share resources with my community about the origins of the dance, Black history, biographies of the original dancers, jazz musicians, music collections, etc.?
- Do I encourage my students to take field trips to venues or historical sites that represent the African American history or experience, especially those cities that are rich with the history?
- Am I committed to the long-term message of Black history and recognition, not just when the topic is trending?
- Do I lead by example as a dance instructor by including history lessons as an integral part of my classes? For example; mentioning during class lessons Lindy Hop Historical facts. Northern racism impacted our dance scene early on. Did you know that the Cotton Club was not an integrated ballroom? Black dancers could only perform there, but the Savoy prided itself on being an integrated ballroom.
- Do you invite lindy hoppers from earlier generations to participate and tell their history at your events? Ex: Mama Lou Parks Dancers, Harvest Moon Ball Competitors, and Savoy Dancers
- Do I pledge to welcome everyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identification, age, body type, physical ability, and mental ability?
- Do I encourage my students and fellow dancers to be open to dancing with everyone and to actively ask people of all kinds to dance? Especially those that might not get asked to dance very often? There should be no wallflowers!
- Do I encourage mentorships, trainings, or extra tutelage for any new Black dancers in my scene? Do you offer any financial sponsorship for African American students to your attend your events or participate in other events?
- Am I willing to accept and embrace change even though it may change how I originally experienced the Lindy Hop community?
- Do you pay Black instructors equitable to non-black dancers? Is there equity in your hiring/payment practices?
Read the full blog post here.
2. Promoting the Lindy Hop through Scene Building
It was Frankie Manning’s dream for Lindy hop to spread all over the world. In his later years he experienced considerable fulfillment of his dream, traveling and teaching throughout the United States, Western Europe, Australia and Asia. There was no finer ambassador for Lindy hop than Frankie Manning himself.
Dancing the Lindy hop and learning its history has continued to grow since Frankie’s passing. Today it is a strong presence in many Eastern European, Asian, and Latin American countries and it is making incursions into Africa.
Lindy hop is spread by people who love it. They learn through trial and error how to build a new lindy hop scene and how to preserve and strengthen a scene that has been around for a while.
We encourage scene builders to share their successes and even valiant failures with other dancers through your social media platforms, and in person at local and international dances, camps, and workshops.
3. Promoting the Lindy Hop through Media Coverage
Here is a recent example of a network news story on the joys of swing dancing that appeared nationally in the USA:
4. Promoting the Lindy Hop through Education & Resources
Archiving, research, preservation, and education are important components in spreading Lindy hop around the world. The Frankie Manning Foundation is part of ongoing collaborations. Please follow the blog and our Facebook page for updates.