Shorty George Snowden

Shorty George Snowden is well-known for his confidence on the dance floor during the late twenties and early thirties. Despite his short stature, Shorty George entertained thousands as a professional dancer and actually provided much comic relief by making fun of his height. Many believe that Shorty George Snowden invented a dance style called the Lindbergh Hop; but some critics have refuted this claim.

Top dancer of the late twenties

During the nineteen twenties and thirties blacks and whites did not dance together in the same contests or shows. Shorty George Snowden was one of the best black dancers of his time and actually drew many a white person to watch him. Despite discouraging of blacks from entering white areas, Shorty George’s reputation preceded him everywhere he went; and many paid money to watch him dance and make them laugh.

Who says short men can’t dance?

Shorty George Snowden was very short in stature, which is how he got his nickname, ‘Shorty’. He used his height to his advantage and made more fun of it than anyone else. It was all part of his show to dance with one of the tallest dancers he could find, ‘Big Bea’. She not only lifted him into the air while they danced, but even carried him off the dance floor at the end of the show. Shorty would also bend his knees to make himself even shorter—much to the laughter of the crowd.

Did Shorty invent the Lindy Hop?

During an interview, a reporter asked Shorty George about a dance he had just done—which was unlike anything the reporter had seen before. Shorty George called it the ‘Lindy Hop’ which is short for ‘Lindbergh Hop’. Frankie Manning claims to have been there when the name was coined and has attested to the fact that it was original and named by Shorty George Snowden—without any refutation from anyone standing by. However, critics have claimed that the Lindbergh Hop was not invented by Shorty George Snowden, but that it had already existed.

Whether or not Shorty George invented the Lindbergh Hop is irrelevant to the fact that a newspaper report says he did. It was that interview that gave the dance its popularity and Shorty George’s reputation that gave it its weight. To us, he left a dance that is still performed today, and we will always remember him as Shorty, the short man that could dance anyone under the table.


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