The Hog Town Hep Cats

Hog Town Hep Cats are...


Lindy Hop


We share a love and respect for the dance, its tradition, culture and values. In particular, we see Lindy Hop as a gentle social dance that emphasizes deep connection with partner and music. We appreciate authentic music and support live traditional musicians. We strive to be always humble, considerate and courteous toward other dancers, and we practice safe and healthy dancing.

We have public practice sessions, support teachers who value Lindy Hop traditions, and attend appropriate dance and music events. We also conduct intensive study and training activities. We are available for demonstrations and performances.

In May of 1997 We made a video (Swing Baby) with Big Rude Jake, about which we have very mixed feelings. It demonstrates how today's film makers (fail to) understand music and dancing. (Similar things are illustrated by films such as "Malcolm X" and "Swing Kids".) It also shows that "it don't mean a thing" even if it calls itself "swing".

Our dances are primarily social dances, for the pleasure of the dancers, not stage dances, for the pleasure of an audience. Although some of our performances are pre-choreographed ensemble routines, we want to present Lindy Hop on stage as a dance that is improvised, syncopated, and choreographed spontaneously. When we perform, we hope to inspire audiences to want to learn our dance, and share our pleasure.

We are the only group of dancers in Toronto who mean Swing Era style Jazz when we say "swing music", and Lindy Hop when we say "swing dancing". We make it very clear that Swing music is Jazz, and that when Swing was popular music, it was definitely considered Jazz, and that when Jazz was popular music it was definitely considered dancing music. And Jazz is music that was developed mainly by black folks, drawing on European as well as African traditions. Just as Lindy Hop was developed mainly by black folks, drawing on European and African dance traditions.

We know that there are other folks who don't mean Jazz when they say Swing. (There are even folks who don't mean Swing when they say Jazz.) Their "swing" includes Rock&Roll music from the 50's, Rock music from the 60's and 70's, Disco music from the 70's, and popular music from the 90's, as well as R&B music from all over. Rockabilly. Jump Jive. Some even go for that industrial or "punk-rock-swing" music. Those dances may have names such as Country&West-Coast-Hustle-Swing, or Ballroom-Jive-East-Coast-Swing. We don't dance Lindy Hop to those kinds of music, since we feel that the dance evolved together with Swing Era Jazz, in the late 20's and the 30's -- music that is sweet, hot, joyful, and playful, and that swings in a way that the popular music from the mid-40's onward doesn't.

Our favourite local musicians include

Here are our Music Guidelines for Swing Jazz Dance Bands. We welcome comments on these from musicians and dancers. Call 323-1300 or check the Toronto Traditional Social Dance Calendar.

Dancing.Org Peter Renzland Toronto (416) 323-1300 Peter@Dancing.Org