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Inspirational Dance Clips: Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan

Posted By: Shani Brown | Filed under: Swing Dancing | Jan 25, 2012

California Swing meets the Lindy Hop and creates sweet sweet magic in the form of Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan.  Let’s get inspired by their dynamic connection, powerful aerials, and undeniable stage presence! 

So a few months back we put together some clips of swing and lindy hop that you might have forgotten about or never seen before.  However, the vintage videos we’re about to show you of this unique dance partnership serves as a core base of our knowledge about how original SoCal lindy hoppers danced and looked in their prime.  In the late 1930s, Dean moved from New York (through New Orleans) to Los Angeles bringing his own unique brand of Lindy Hop he honed in the Savoy Ballroom.  In LA, he met Jewel McGowan, a local ‘swing’ dancer, and together they blended Dean’s dynamic lindy with Jewel’s elegant and circular swing styling.  The result was a distinctive aesthetic…your eyes can’t help but be drawn to them as they dance.  His powerful swingout and her swivels are like visual eye candy!

These social dancers turned professional for the cameras of numerous Hollywood films from the 1940s onward; thanks again to film preservationists and the research of passionate dancers, we are able to share and study these clips in an ongoing attempt to masters the subtleties of Dean and Jewel’s dancing.

I find most people can learn a lot just by watching vintage dance clips, but if you’re interested in learning more about Dean Collins, Jewel McGowan and their ‘Lindy’ then check out the links below!

Dean Collins and Jewel McGowan: California Lindy 1941-1945

Hold That Tiger (1940) – (on the right 2:07-end)

 

Buck Privates (1941) – (:28-:36, 1:45-2:10)

The quintessential Dean & Jewel clip!  Dean and Jewel are featured in the dance sequence of this Abbott & Costello film.

 

Jazzy Joe (1941) – (:12-:22, 1:48-1:51, 1:55-1:58, 2:02-2:18)

 

Hi, Neighbor (1942) – (:45-:51, 1:02-1:04, 1:18-1:22)

 

Rings on Her Fingers (1942) – (:38-42, :46-1:38)
Dean get’s to speak, “Hey buddy, you’re in low gear!”

 

Chool Song (1942) – featured dancers

 

Glen Grey and his Casa Loma Orchestra (1942) – featured dancers

 

Ride ‘Em Cowboy (1942) – (2:02-2:10, 2:28-2:41)

 

Talk of the Town (1942) – (4:17-4:40)
Dean throws in some ‘balboa/LA Swing’ moves!

 

The Powers Girls (1943) – In front with the umbrella (1:44-1:51)

 

Young Ideas (1943) – (:8-:13, :21-:23, 1:01-1:08, )
Another clip featuring Dean doing some LA Swing moves!

 

“The Baby Boogie” from Let’s Go Steady (1945) – couple on the left

 

 

History of Dean, Jewel and the Lindy They Loved

Dean CollinsDean Collins

Jewel McGowanJewel McGowan

Dean and Jewel: The Legacy

The Thing About Dean

The Whip Story

Swively Swivels

Savoy Style vs. Hollywood Style

 

For those of you in the Southern California Area…

You have a unique opportunity to join us at Atomic Ballroom in Irvine for a Dean & Jewel Workshop with Instructor Nick Williams.  Nick has spent many years mastering the subtle techniques necessary to look and feel like Dean and/or Jewel.  Check out the event page for Saturday’s event schedule and more.

There is something bewitching about the feeling of following (and leading I would assume) a ‘Dean Collins Whip’ and doing ‘Jewel’s Swivels’ that will keep you on the dance floor night after night.  Don’t pass up this opportunity to draw inspiration from this unique style of lindy!!

About the author:

Shani Brown discovered swing dancing in the late 90s as she eased out of gymnastics into a new physical activity. When she moved to Orange County in 2000, she discovered a whole new world of Balboa and Lindyhop - and she's been obsessed ever since! When she's not hitchhiking to dance events across the country, she's probably got her nose in a book...And when she's not dancing, she's probably talking about dancing or watching dancing and being a typical dance-geek.

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