In the early 1920s in homes across Harlem, African Americans danced a unique style reminiscent of their African roots but in an upright posture. It wasn’t until the opening of the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York in 1926 that this dance was introduced to the rest of the American culture. With its block-long dance floor, nightly dancing, and a raised double bandstand featuring black swing bands, the integrated Savoy attracted the best dancers in New York and became an overnight success. The hottest new dance craze, the Lindy Hop, took off like wild fire across the nation.
Though there are different versions to the story, "Shorty George" Snowden", a local dancer, is credited with giving Lindy Hop its a name. One story says, “There was a charity dance-marathon in New York City in 1928, shortly after Charles Lindbergh's (known as "Lucky Lindy") triumphant "hop" across the Atlantic. A reporter saw Snowden break away from his partner and improvise a few steps in a style that was popular in Harlem. "What was that!?" he asked. Snowden thought for a few seconds and replied, "I'm doin' the Hop...the Lindy Hop". The name stuck.” http://www.savoystyle.com/bios.html
As a first generation Lindy Hopper Shorty George aka King of Savoy helped transform the dance and made it his own by improvising and introducing the first break-away pattern. With his comedic style, playing on his almost five foot frame, Shorty George created the step named after him which involved forward motion with acutely bent knees swinging from side to side. Paired with his partner Big Bea who towered over him, Shorty George inspired all kinds of swing dancers.