Through the 1920s, 30s, and 40s, swing dancing dominated dancehalls throughout the United States.
Generally developed in African American communities, genres of swing dancing (like the Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston) became common to see around town.
The developing dances were tied to the popular music of the times. For example, Western Swing developed alongside jazz-influenced country music of the 40s, while the rise of Boogie-woogie developed with its corresponding boogie-woogie music, as well.
Though swing dancing at one point encompassed more than 100 styles, the most popular surviving swing dance is the Lindy Hop— and trust me when I say few do it better than Joanna and Henric Stillman.
Hailing from Västerås, Sweden, Joanna and Henric Stillman are staples in the swing dancing world.
Both are talented dancers, having danced since they were young. Now, as a married couple, they compete and teach.
Johanna and Henric each studied a wide variety of dances during their youths. When they perform together, they bring a mixture of energy, love, and enthusiasm to the craft. In 2007, they were even named the World Champions of the Lindy Hop.
Aside from awards, the couple’s impressive footwork and stage presence have led them to international teaching opportunities. They’ve taught in places like Singapore, Washington, and Paris— and once you see them dance together, it’s easy to understand why!
A few years ago, Joanna and Henric participated in the Happy Stomp Festival in Spain.
The festival is specifically for Balboa, Blues, and Boogie Woogie dancers— so, as you can imagine, they were right at home.
For their performance, the two chose to dance to “Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard. Clad in 50s-style costumes, Joanna and Henric proceed to give the crowd an unforgettable show.
Putting their skills on display, the couple showcases impressive swing dancing moves with a spicy, modern flair.
They nail every single movement; their bodies flowing with ease. Watching them is literally experiencing a blast from the past. The movements, the outfits, the music— everything is dead-on.
When the couple’s finished, the crowd starts to roar.
Since being uploaded to YouTube, the video of the performance has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. It’s easy to fall in love with the choreography— and of course, everyone has their own favorite part!
“When his hat fell and he kicked it back. DAMN, THAT WAS SO SMOOTH.”
“I so want to do the knee-drop. Girls never did that. You two are the most authentic couple. You represent us and our time so well!”
“I could watch this all day. Love the routine, music and just everything about this video. Well done, guys!”
“Fantastic! You could watch this over and over again.”
Watch the incredible performance below!
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