What is Copper City Swing?

Copper City Swing

wants to put partner dancing, specifically Lindy Hop into the minds of Arizonans as a casual activity.

Lindy Hop is the original “swing” dance beginning approximately in the late 1920s. “The Lindy Hop community” or “Scene.” as its affectionately known by its practitioners now throughout the world, has taken a snapshot of the dance as it was originally done in its original time by its creators, the black American community in Harlem, NY.

Many people have heard about Lindy Hop, but few know it still exists and thrives as a worldwide phenomenon to this day.

Lindy Hop is NOT a hobby exclusive to “dancer” types


We at Copper City Swing do not think of Lindy Hop as a hobby exclusive to “dancer” types, but rather we want someone who might say they have “two left feet” to still go Lindy Hop on a weeknight or weekend.

Possibly your parents and almost definitely your grandparents and especially your great-grandparents went out partner dancing as a casual activity on weekends and weeknights. And not just to meet new people, or hang out with their friends, but because it's a cheap and fun pastime that ANYONE can do. Even going by yourself is fun and empowering!


As adults, many of us find it hard to make friends


So, we believe that the community that forms around Lindy Hop is a perfect place for the young and old to make friends in a semi-structured yet satisfyingly improvisational context.

To be clear. CCS is NOT a dating club. We are a community that is focused on a shared love of a uniquely American tradition. Akin to the way people gather because they love baseball for its heritage and modern expression. Lindy Hopping means we can take part in a tradition that is much older than we are. Which is rare for a lot of Americans. Many of whom do not have clear history and traditions they can identify with.

Lindy Hop is NOT clubbing


Of course, many people still go out dancing. They go clubbing, many do all kinds of Latin dancing, sometimes even ballroom dancing. Clubbing is fun, but not everyone likes clubbing. Just like how not everyone wants to go out Latin dancing or doing the Waltz, or even country dancing. We think that Lindy Hop is perfect for just the kinds of people who don’t think that “dancing” is for them.


"Hm, what should I do this weekend?"


We want to bring Lindy Hop specifically to the forefront of people's minds when they think: "Hm, what should I do this weekend?" It doesn't matter if you're single, married, divorced, or polyamorous. The Lindy Hop community is the right choice. Copper City Swing is so much more than just dancing. But it also can't be said that Lindy Hop is “just dancing” either. Frankie Manning said it best. And I'll paraphrase a quote from a youtube video: "Lindy Hop is a happy dance. You can't help but smile when you do it."


Safe LGBTQ social outlet


No matter what color you are. No matter what you’ve done, (within reason.) You can dance with anyone of any gender and of any orientation. Because all that matters is the music and connection with others.


We know dance can be pretty intimidating, especially if you’re a size that you don’t think a “dancer” “should” be, or if don’t feel like you belong anywhere, and perhaps want to be a part of something bigger than yourself, or if you want to make friends but are having a hard time, and if you want to be part of a community that takes care of its own. Lindy Hop is a great place to be.


CCS is the first and only Lindy Hop school in the east valley


We offer progressive 4-week courses. But you don’t have to take classes to learn how to Lindy Hop. We also offer structured social dance practices, so you can learn how to ask people to dance, how to say no, how to say yes, and how to listen to the music. CCS is perfect if you’re thinking about getting into dance for the first time. Or if you just want something interesting to do with your friends or by yourself.

Our goal is to be a place where you get safe, and fun social interaction while making appropriate physical contact with others and most importantly connect in a deeper way with music, each other, and the community around the world.


A short acknowledgment to the people that kept Lindy Hop alive through the years


There was a time when Lindy Hop as a mainstay of community activities essentially died. Though, many variants spawned from changes in music, legislation, and civic mood many of which survive today. Sometime in the late 80s, I believe. Revivalists had to sift through, what I believe were VHS tapes, but mostly fragments of dancing from film reels of documentaries, and the performances of Lindy Hop in some films where Lindy Hop was done. One such revivalist: Ryan Francois had to re-watch the same film repeatedly in a NY theater and take notes in order to figure out what was the technique for the 'Lindy Hop'. (Source: Planet swing -- the real Harlem Globetrotters: Ryan Francois at TEDxAlbertopolis) I share this incredibly helpful and inspiring video with a gigantic disclaimer: **Ryan makes claims that not everyone in the Lindy Hop community agrees with. He seems to be a key part of the revival of Lindy Hop. But, some people have issues with the way some of the info in this video is framed.


Lindy Hop is American history, it is black history


Right away, Lindy Hop seemed to be done by all races. It can be noted, that in all reasonable probability, many of the black communities in NY did not want this. But, of course. Some did, and some were indifferent. The creators themselves have claimed that they have been dancing the Lindy Hop with all races from its inception. Recognizing the need for personal safety in a discussion of racial tensions by black Americans is something we should recognize about the past. Preferences for single-race spaces by both the white and black communities carry incredibly different weights and implications. It cannot be said that a preference for a black-only space by black people is racist. At least not how racism is defined today. Language and definitions change because we learn and grow and those definitions become more clear and concise over time.


Lindy Hop is, in a way the history of America. It is the history of black Americans specifically. So, it was the history of the people that built this country. Learning about the history and evolution of the Lindy Hop community is inadvertently learning core parts of why America was the way it was. And learning what these Americans did for fun and fulfillment. Though many know about the Harlem Renaissance and the evolution of jazz as a purely north American art form. Many people don't seem to realize who the community around the evolution of blues, rock, and jazz was, and don't realize that a core part of the music was the dances that were done alongside the music being played. And how those dances are still being done to this very day.


Appeal and the CCS treatise

For all of us at CCS, we don't want anyone to waste their time learning Lindy Hop inefficiently. Classes though helpful are not necessary to learn Lindy Hop. We will offer classes and numerous other learning opportunities, affordable and accessible for anyone who wants to learn.


We have before us in the coming post-pandemic world a rare chance to cut out of our lives everything that doesn't serve us. We can be a part of something rare. An authentically and exclusively American tradition that we can be proud of.

Lindy Hop is for all those people looking for a truly inclusive American practice. Scarce as such a notion might be.

For Copper City Swing. And the general Lindy Hop community, the dance is so much more than 'just a dance.' Dancing is often a key part of many cultures, which means dancing is never absent from politics. Where people are, politics are.

We at CCS recognize where Lindy Hop came from, and its history.

We respect its original practitioners and the unfathomable hardships in early 1930s America.

Though I/we may never know what Lindy Hop truly was for the black Americans that created this dance. We can take them at their word, and take the heart of progress with us. And we can still recognize the subsequent whitewashing of Lindy Hop into 'east coast swing', and America's underscoring it in its history books, thus softening Lindy Hop's subversive nature. Lindy Hop can NOW for us, be a rejection of authoritarianism, hegemony, of false hierarchy.

Though it might sound outlandish, finding a dependable community through reviving a widespread practice of Lindy Hop in America again, may actually one day be our greatest tool against totalitarianism. For if we can support our own through means other than the state's tools and devices. The state may never achieve total control.


Love found, and the CCS mission and vision

Though indy Hop was lost for a time, it was regained through its intrinsic enduring nature and community. Lindy Hop is more than just a dance, it is a spontaneously organized group of humans brought together by the love of the music and each other. We come to the table from all walks of life, from all over the world because we share this passion that transcends borders and brings together the laborers of every nation, the poor, the oppressed, and the outcasts. The vision for CCS is to tell all of Arizona that Lindy Hop is for the masses, not the elites. The CCS mission is to bring affordable Lindy hop instruction and live music opportunities to the communities that Lindy Hop was made by and made for.


Closing thoughts

I understand that probably most people won't become obsessed with the same things we are obsessed with here at Copper City. But, I know that some will and I want them to know that others are interested as well. I also want people who are casual about practicing Lindy Hop to know that CCS is a place for them!

I knew that people loved this dance, they loved this community and they loved this music, the movements, and the vintage styling. Whatever it is they love about the Lindy Hop scene, CCS wants to help make it a more accessible reality for those with a community, without a community, with different hobbies, with no hobbies, those with friends, those with no friends, the oppressed, lonely, and the outcasts, the popular and loved.

And while Lindy Hop isn't going to be loved by everyone, anyone can do it and find a loving, generous, kind group of people to be a part of.


We hope that you will share with us this incredible community and rich American tradition!