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“Mama” Lu Parks // Mama’s Stew!

June 3, 2012 | Filed Under: Videos | Tagged: Lindy Hop mama lou parks Swing Dance

“I’m a street teacher. Lindy Hop is Street dancing basically, it’s not a classical work of art, it’s something you got to love to do inside your heart and want to pass on to the next generation.” -“Mama” Lu Parks

“Mama” Lou Parks, whose real name was Louise Parks Duncanson, watched all of the dancers at the Savoy Ballroom when she was young and learned many of the classic routines by the legendary Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers and in 1959 opened her own dance company to teach a groups of dancers in New York City how to dance the classic Afro-American dances such as Cake Walk, Snake Hips, Solo Jazz Dance, tap, and Lindy Hop.

Unfortunately I really don’t know too much about “Mama” Lu and her dancers. All I have is the stories I have heard and the videos that are left behind. I have recently found a documentary posted on YouTube called Call of the Jitterbug. It was made in the 1980’s and is a wealth of knowledge and video clips. Interview by some of the great such as Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, George Lloyd, Sugar Sullivan, and other great Lindy Hoppers. But by far it was being able to hear “Mama” Lu speak about the dance and her views on why she does it. Right now I am making it my mission to seek out the film makers and bug them to high hell about letting me see any other parts of the interviews that didn’t make it to the final 30 minute documentary.

For some reason, “Mama” Lu has been sticking out in my head for the past few months now. I have only now begun to research further into her life and contributions to dance. Like did you know she was a big reason why the Twist was so popular?! Yeah I know right?!

So I have compiled all the videos I could find into one tribute video for your viewing pleasure! I hope you enjoy and help to carry on the culture of Lindy Hop.

and just so you have something to laugh at, here is Laura Keat, Jeremy Otth, Karen Turman, and Mikey Pedroza performing at the Jump Session Show at Camp Jitterbug 2008. This is our surprise performance featuring the early 2000’s Lindy Hop trend of ultra micro musicality. Then, BAM! We hit them in the face with some Mama Lu Parks Lindy Hop!