The Savoy Ballroom - which opened March 12, 1926, and closed July 10, 1958 - has been described by the New York times as “block-long rhythm factory that set New York's jazz-fueled tempo in the 1930's and 1940's.” Occupying part of the space where Savoy Park now stands and was called the “heartbeat of Harlem” by Langston Hughes. On any given night, thousands would pack the ballroom, dancing the Lindy Hop, The Flying Charleston, Jive, Snakehips, and many more. The Savoy was distinguished by its no-discrimination policy; patrons were only judged on their dancing skills and not on the color of their skin. The one requirement for entry was: do you dance?
The Lindy hop originated in Harlem during the 1920s and 1930s, with roots in dances like the breakaway, the Charleston, the Texas Tommy, and the hop. The Savoy-style Lindy Hop - performed by African American dancers at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem in the 1930s and 1940s - is characterized by a high energy, acrobatic style, standing in contrast to the “smooth-style” Lindy Hop of the west coast.
The Harlem Renaissance was an important 20th century literary, artistic, and intellectual movement that helped to define African-American identity. Spanning from the 1920s to the mid-1930s, the movement drew black writers, artists, musicians, photographers, poets, and scholars to Harlem, many of whom came from the South. Notable names from the Harlem Renaissance include Langston Hughes and Claude McKay, Countee Cullen and Arna Bontemps, Zora Neale Hurston and Jean Toomer, Walter White and James Weldon Johnson.
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