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    Cotton Tail-Ellington

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    bob erwig

    by bob erwig

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    Cotton Tail Ellington 1941

    The world's most famous Lindy Hoppers with the Duke Ellington Band in 1941

    How Whitey's Lindy Hoppers got their start:
    In the early 1930's, as word got around about the sensational swing dancing at the Savoy Ballroom, requests came from downtown socialites and rich folk who wanted to have Lindy Hoppers perform at their lavish parties. Whitey, who got to know the young dancers well, was able to hand pick exciting dancers who were also socially adept and reliable. They were invariably delighted to make a few dollars doing what they loved (Aren't we all?). A father figure to many of these dancers, Whitey would send them downtown to those fancy digs with the admonition, "Remember, ain't nobody better than you." This advice must have come in handy in 1937, when a group of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers stood on line to shake hands with the Queen of England! This self-respect and pride permeated the Savoy Ballroom, one of the few places on earth where Blacks and whites could meet on the dance floor as equals.
    "Remember, ain't nobody better than you."
    In time, the sensational dancing of Whitey's hand-picked dancers came to the attention of the media. When they entered the Harvest Moon Ball competition in 1935, ballroom afficianados had their heads turned by the fast, fluid new dance to swing music which incorporated African influences and jazz rhythms into the standard European social dance framework.