Wednesday, May 8, 2013

"This Is Not Lindy Hop!" And Other Nonsense

Recently I've read a debate about what is and what isn't Balboa and what it should be etc. It reminded me of a discussion that I've often heard in Lindy Hop - about what is and what isn't Lindy Hop. As with all articles in the nonsense series I want to offer a new approach to it.

The Discussion

To quickly outline the discussion for people that haven't been involved in it I'll mark the extremes. One group of people wants to evolve the dance and they keep experimenting with its parts. The other group wants to preserve lindy hop as it was danced back in the days by keeping new influences out. According to them there are things that are lindy and things that are not.

Preserving Lindy Hop

If we back up one step, we get to the question - What is Lindy Hop? While Lindy Hop is hard to describe there is one part I think is regularly overseen. Back in the day inventing and adding new things to the dance was part of the dance. Swivels and aerials for example weren't always part of the dance. They got added throughout the years. Two things we consider completely part of it it nowadays. Imagine someone walking up to Frankie after he pulled the first aerial and told him: "This is not lindy hop, I don't want to see you do this again in a competition or call it Lindy hop". This is ridiculous!

If we want to preserve Lindy Hop - I certainly do - this part has to be beared in mind as well. Let us preserve lindy hop by evolving it!

Self-Correcting

Does this turn anything into Lindy Hop? No, it doesn't. It opens the possibility for new things to be looked at, tried out and once evaluated either be refused or integrated into the dance. It removes the fear of "not doing lindy hop", when we try out our ideas.

I believe that dances are self-correcting. Some new things will be included whilst others won't. Lindy Hop changed already quite a lot back in the days, at some point it had changed so much it got a new label and in Europe we call it Boogie Woogie. It happened again afterwards, and it became known as Rock'n Roll. I don't think we need to artificially keep things out and attack people for inventing things. Let us sometimes back off a step before telling people they aren't lindy hopping, and just see if it could match in some way, maybe it will be the new swivel or aerial of lindy hop.

Read more in the nonsense series.