New generation keeps swing dancing alive

HOUSTON -- From Lindy Hop to East Coast Swing, a new generation is ushering in a fresh wave of swing dancing. Millennials are using Lindy Hop's twists and triple-steps to reach back into the past and step away from today's technology-filled, fast-paced world.

Alyssa Thomason started swing dance classes in Boston while in college, and picked them up again after moving to Houston for medical school.

"I think people are looking for ways to connect to people," said Thomason. "This is a low stress environment. You can just come dance and meet new people."

For others like Peter Vu, who started taking classes this year, it's about the personal connection that social dances offer.

"I like how you can build a connection with whoever you're dancing with, and with people in general," said Vu.

The Lindy Hop was created nearly a century ago in the dance halls of Harlem. The first Lindy Hop era began to fade in the 1950s, when jazz moved from ballrooms to lounges, but the genre began to make a resurgence about a decade ago. Now places across the country, like the Houston Swing Dance Society offer weekly classes for people of all ages and backgrounds.

"A lot of people that come are engineers, in medicine, teachers, so they have sort of a cerebral day job, so they come and get to release in this fun and expressive environment," said Alexis Strickland, President of the Houston Swing Dance Society.

The Houston Swing Dance Society meets every Sunday at the historic Eldorado Ballroom on Elgin. They offer several levels of Lindy Hop classes, including a beginners' crash course and a practice dance after class.

"It gets you out and moving. It's a safe environment where you can meet new people. People who are different from us," said Strickland.