Whitey's Lindy Hoppers
was a Swing dance troupe employed by one, Herbert White, who exploited for
financial gain the dance created at the Savoy in the late 20's known as the
Lindy-hop. He also exploited the swing dancers he employed and exerted his
control and dominance over his troupe (and anyone else in Harlem who tried
to perform the dance for money) for as long as he could.
In her book "Swingin' At The Savoy; The Memoir Of A Jazz Dancer"
Norma Miller recalls a rift between Whitey and drummer Chick Webb at the
time of this famous big band music battle of the bands. The rift occurred
when a conversation between dancers discussing the incoming Basie band was
miscommunicated to Webb. Quoting from her book, Temple University Press;
he heard it, it sounded like the kids were saying he didn't have it anymore,
and that the sound the Basie band was bringing would run him off the
bandstand. Of course when Chick heard this he responded in typical Chick
Webb fashion "I don't give a good Goddam what those raggedy Lindy Hoppers
think or say. Who needs 'em? As far as I'm concerned they can all go to hell.
And their Mammies too."
"The surprise came later that night. As we entered the ballroom, Whitey met
us and told us when Chick got on the bandstand, all dancers were to leave the floor."
Whitey's Lindy Hoppers may have been a fairly small group of swing
dancers compared to the masses (especially on this night) at the Savoy.
However, when one corner of the room housing some of the most experienced,
colorful, and acrobatic Lindy-hoppers kept taking their seats when the Chick
Webb big band began playing; writers sent to cover this event, unaware of
the "behind the scenes" rift, would have undoubtedly taken note.
Understandable how the Basie big band would have been perceived as a
favorite of the Swing dancers at the Savoy Ballroom on this night.
Webb patched things up with Whitey soon thereafter and Whitey's Lindy
Hoppers were again soon performing to the sounds of the swinging Chick
Webb big band.
Fortunately ballot boxes at the door give the ratings of the bands more