"Now You Has Jazz" is choreographed and performed by Denver-based Lindy Hoppers and swing dancers, Tiffiny Wine and Ceth Stifel. The music in this performance is Louis Armstrong's "Now You Has Jazz." Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning provides the opening quote, describing the first time he went to the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.
We specialize in vintage Lindy Hop, a dance form under the umbrella of Swing Dance – which has character, humor, energy and rhythm, simultaneously participatory in and fueled by vintage jazz. These are the same sounds that swept the nation in ballrooms, night clubs and airwaves in the late '30s and '40s. Count Basie is known to have wished to record with dancers in the studio because the nature of the dance and the music is completely symbiotic. Similarly to radio, the dance itself is for us, first and foremost, an auditory experience.
Of course as dancers, we take that experience a step further, interpreting it into our bodies to create the art that then unfolds. Broken down into only the audible, what is left of the dance? Here is the short list: the rhythm of footwork, the energy of flight and the literal landings of air-steps on the dime of a break, as well as the cat-calls, the chatter and scats of one dancer to another, a dancer to the band, or of an open audience heckling the dancer, to inspire, challenge and intensify the swingin' out of happy feet.
If you watch the seminal film clips of Whitey's "Lindy Hoppers in Hellzapoppin'" (1941) or "A Day at the Races" (1937), listen behind the music and you'll hear the claps, the hoots and the exploding energy of the performers. For a time, our dance wasn't good for the radio – it was the radio – and it unfolded, unseen, across the hearths of the nation.
One couldn't help but dance.
We chose Louis Armstrong's "Now You Has Jazz" because of Armstrongs' indelible sonic mark on our cultural landscape, and because this song has the rhythmic energy and vitality inherent in the dance we love, the Lindy Hop.