Swing. The iconic music of the 1920s and 1930s has been rightly reborn in the US and Europe. Is it coincidence that it correlates yet again with an economic
Text: Jennyfer Bajdan, Stacy Ebenstein Photo: Francesc Sans
Old meets new in the rebirth of depression era dance
Swing. The iconic music of the 1920s and 1930s has been rightly reborn in the US and Europe. Is it coincidence that it correlates yet again with an economic crisis? Perhaps. Do we care when we’re in a dance hall jitterbugging our hearts out? Not at all, and that’s exactly what we love about it. It’s 100% pure, forget-your-troubles fun.
So, whether you’re unemployed of underpaid, there’s no better remedy to the doldrums of a Depression than a night of moving your feet to some shaking beats. Advice that’s tested and true: When hard times hit…go dancing.
Readers, tune in your radios to the sweet sounds of Harlem in the1920s and you’ll find yourselves at that critical moment in time when ‘jazz’ became ‘swinging jazz’ and the Savoy Ballroom’s block long dance floor was filled with the city’s finest bands, beats and bodies.
It didn’t take long before swing dancing caught on as the new big thing. One night at the Savoy in 1927, just after Lindbergh made history with his trans-Atlantic flight to Paris, a reporter asked one dancer what everyone was doing. It happened that a newspaper was lying on the table, open to the headline “Lindy Hops the Atlantic,” so the dancer replied “The Lindy Hop.” And voila.
It may have been born in the roaring 20s, but swing really got to do its thing during the turbulent 30s. The Jitterbug was born just in time to accompany struggling spirits through America’s Great Depression and the dark times that fell over Europe during World War II, finding its way back to happier times on the dance floor around the turn of the century.
It’s been regaining popularity ever since. The past decade seems to be riddled with wrinkles in time, where handsome youth have stepped in from another era.
Barcelona which recently was names the capital of European swing dancing. Catalunya’s rich expansive musical traditions, as well as rich history of dance makes it an obvious place for swing to prosper.
The last weekend of every month in Barcelona swing enthusiasts take over a plaza and spend the afternoon enjoying good company, music and dance partners.
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