(If you haven’t written your swing essay yet, you may read this, but you still have to research on your own:)
Swing dance is really a group of dances developed for the style of Jazz music being played at the time (1920s – ‘40s.)
One of the most well known swing dances, Lindy Hop (possibly named for Charles Lindbergh’s crossing of the Atlantic), came about in the late ‘20s.
Developed in Harlem, New York, and possibly based off of one of these dances: The Charleston, The Texas Tommy, The Breakaway, and The Hop. Lindy includes influences from: Jazz, Tap, Breakaway, and Charleston.
The early years of Lindy are commonly associated with “Shorty” George Snowden, Bid Bea, Leroy Stretch Jones, and Little Bea.
Lindy Entered Mainstream American Culture in the ‘30s through a couple of sources, such as movies. One of these movies was A Day at the Races, staring the Marx Brothers. The Lindy Hop sequence featured: Frankie Manning, Al Minns, and Norma Miller (some of the most famous Lindy Hoppers at the time.)
Moving forward in time a little, we come to the 1940s and the East Coast Swing (My style of choice. Well, Single-step Swing that is…)
East Coast Swing came out of Lindy Hop with the help of The Arthur Murray dance studio, and styled after the swing music of the 1940s. This style first was designed for instructional purposes at the Arthur Murray dance academy, but was later codified to allow for competitive dancing. It’s been said that there is no wrong way of dancing East Coast Swing; that said, certain styles are considered as the “correct form”.