Shorty George dance to the song "Tiger Rag."
Known for his comically intricate footwork, George Snowden reigned as
the top dancer at the Savoy Ballroom from its opening in 1927 until
the mid-1930s. His frantic, improvisational dance style brought him
immense popularity—as well as the title “King of the Savoy.”
small stature (he was barely five feet tall) was the genesis for that
not-too-original moniker, “Shorty George.” His signature
move was to bend his knees and swing them from side to side, exaggerating
the fact that he was close to the floor. Big-band pioneer Count Basie
honored Snowden’s distinctive style of dance with the tune “Shorty
Snowden formed a dance troupe called the “Shorty George Trio,”
which performed at the Cotton Club, Smalls' Paradise, and other music
meccas throughout Harlem. This sudden leap to professional status
inspired many fellow dancers to organize troupes of their own. The
clear standout among them was Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, credited with
bringing swing dance to movie screens—and to the masses—in
Like drummer Chick
Webb, he was referred to as the "King of the Savoy."
He danced regularly at the Savoy
Ballroom, the top dance venue of its time.
He is credited with naming and popularizing
the Lindy Hop.
His dancing sparked the formation
of troupes like Herbert
White's Lindy Hoppers.