During the ’90s in a West Coast Swing Competition when John Lindo stepped on to the stage with his partner Deborah Szekely, people were not expecting much because of his large size.
Then, both he and his partner went on to become the winners of this West Coast swing Jack and Jill competition. This was one of the moments that helped him earn his name and the recognition he has today.
Lindo is a true joy to watch. He has been a dancer for more than two decades, getting his start in the genre of country-western. He then moved to West Coast Swing dancing, where he has found great success.
West Coast Swing involves two partners dancing together in perfect harmony. As the name suggests, the type of dance got its start on the West Coast of the US. With a nod to the Lindy Hop, West Coast Swing hit the scene in its current form in the 1960s, as is mentioned in the history of West Coast Swing.
There is something about West Coast Swing that makes dancing in this style and watching it a very enjoyable experience. It can be danced to many types of music (almost any music written in 4/4 time) but its music origins can be traced back to the swing era of jazz. The style is versatile. Dancers can incorporate a great array of moves and combinations even from other dancing styles in their West Coast Swing routines. It is a style that has evolved and continues to evolve with new music.
According to the Social Dance Community, the real origins of West Coast Swing are quite “blurry.” Some historians have doubts about its conception back in the 1930s and disagree about what other researchers say about how the dance started but most of them agree about one thing: it was borne out of Lindy Hop, a style that originated from New York in 1928. The name was a tribute to the famed aviator Charles Lindbergh, who was also known as ‘Lucky Lindy.’ The dance style around the time he “hopped the Atlantic” in 1927.
Early Lindy Hop dancers would dance to jazz, but they did not use jazz moves exclusively. They would incorporate other dance styles that were popular at the time like tap and Charleston. As jazz music evolved in the early 1930s, so did the dance. Lindy Hop dancers combined steps of partner dancing with more improvised solo dance moves. African-American dancers of Savoy Ballroom in Harlem were the geniuses behind the new moves. The Social Dance Community says that historians agree that Lindy Hop was the first and most popular swing dance. Between the 1930s to the 1940s, there was some evidence that there were swing dancers in the west coast such as San Francisco and San Diego.
The dance style was called different names like ‘western swing’, and the ‘Jitterbug’ until the 1960s came along. The reason the name ‘western swing’ did not stick was because it was often confused with Country Western Swing, a whole different type of dance, as per the Social Dance Community.
John Lindo (whose last name now makes us wonder if it had anything to do with his love for the dance) has earned championships in both Strictly Swing and Jack and Jill competitions. In Strictly Swing, dancers get to choose their own partner. Conversely, Jack and Jill competitions pair you with a random partner.
Lindo also boasts first-place finishes in the Grand Nationals, the U.S. Open, and the Phoenix Champion of Champions finals, according to his website.
Lindo lives and breathes West Coast Swing. Besides being a dancer of that dance style, he is also a competition judge, a deejay, a choreographer, and an event director. While dancing on stage is his first love, the New Jersey-based Lindo also teaches dance courses, judges various competitions, and helps other dancers to choreograph their routines. Lindo is so popular that he has traveled all around the globe spreading the love for this type of dancing. According to his website, his most upcoming event is the Countdown Swing Boston, a New Year’s event slated from January 1st to January 3rd, 2021 celebrating West Coast Swing.
One particular Jack and Jill competition video has already been watched by over six and a half million viewers, making it a true testament to Lindo’s fame. In this clip, Lindo and his partner Deborah Szekely take to the stage to dance the classic West Coast Swing style.
His partner for this particular routine we see in the video, Deborah Szekely, has a pretty impressive portfolio herself.
According to her website, Szekely has been dancing since the age of 3. She was formally trained in jazz and ballet and when she was just 16, competed on FOX’s reality TV show So You Think You Can Dance. It was in 1995 when Szekely was introduced to the West Coast Swing. Just one year later, she started competing in the swing circuit. She has been competing in the dance style ever since and currently holds eight grand national titles. Like Lindo, Szekely is not just a performer. She is also an instructor, a judge, and a coach of West Coast Swing.
Not only did they put up an entertaining performance, you can tell that they were enjoying every second of it as well. Both Lindo and Szekely had their smiles on the whole time and it made the performance that much more fun to watch.
Viewers flocked to the comments section to say just how much of a joy it is to watch the pair in action. “Watching him dance just makes my heart smile,” says one Alley Rae. “This guy’s brilliant! “ wrote one Deborah Myles. “Just shows you, you can do anything if you really want to !
But this is not even his most popular video. Another video of Lindo’s dancing has garnered close to nine and a half million views since it was posted in 2008.