Arts and Culture 2011

Amy Holtcamp

SOUTH CAROLINA INSIDER

 

Greenville swings at Upcountry Lindy Hop

Posted 7/2/2011 7:40:00 AM

I had to pause when I entered the ladies lounge at the Upcountry History Museum recently. For a second I thought I had opened the door to the dressing rooms at the Ziegfeld Follies.

Bevies of young women in seamed stockings crowded around the mirror, their curled hair bobbing as they penciled in their elegant, thin eyebrows and powdered their noses all in preparation for the big Friday night dance at Greenville Chic: A Thirties Affair.

These young women were donning their thirties-inspired getups at the museum because they had traveled from far and wide to be there. The dance at the museum was the kick-off to a weekend-long celebration of swing, the first ever Greenville Lindy Exchange hosted by the Greenville Lindy Hoppers.

Since my husband and I had been to a few swing dances in our day, we skipped the free dance lesson at the start of the evening. We soon regretted that decision. From the moment the first song began to play, the dance floor was filled with expert dancers, jumping, jiving and wailing. Our dancing was, at best, basic in comparison. But, as opposed to many dance floors I’ve approached in my day, the mood at the Lindy Hop was so social, friendly and welcoming that we soon got over our insecurities and joined in the fun.

There were times at Greenville Chic when I truly felt transported to a different era. Looking down on the dancers from the museum’s mezzanine and watching their expert footwork, period costumes and joyful spirits in action it was easy to believe that you were watching a group of kids from the 30s rather than a nostalgic crew of modern-day hoofers.

The Lindy Hop itself is a form of swing dancing that is said to have taken its name from Charles Lindburgh’s “hop” across the Atlantic in 1927. Derived from the frenetic Charleston, it’s fun and athletic, adding kicks, fancy footwork and sometimes even acrobatics to the basic swing steps.

Even though this year’s Lindy Exchange is over, you can still rub elbows with Greenville’s swingers if you are in town. Stop by Swingin’ at the Grill at Grille 33 @ The Channel on Mondays or head to the Handlebar for their Tuesday night swing dance. Both venues’ dances begin at 7 p.m. with a lesson for beginners and cost $5.

Click here for more information on all things swing in GreenvilleClick here for more information on events at the Upcountry History Museum.