2022 – World Swing Dance Council Hall of Fame Inductee
“The Fred Astaire of Lindy Hop”
– Frankie Manning
Leroy “Stretch” Jones is almost always listed as one of the ‘original / first generation’ Lindy dancers, along with George “Shorty” Snowden; and was part of the famous Savoy Ballroom Lindy scene of the late 1920’s – early 1930’s.
Leroy was almost a foot taller than his partner, “Little Bea”, and was often comically compared to their friends, the very short Snowden and his very tall partner, “Big Bea”.
Upon leaving the Savoy scene, Leroy joined the Shorty Snowden Dancers, wherein the dancers danced as couples in films such as “After Seben” (typically in a contest or a dance challenge setting); and they had a permanent job at the Paradise Ballroom in downtown NYC, where the Paul Whiteman Orchestra was playing for white dancers. Some felt that performing the same routines, and to the orchestra’s smoother music affected his dancing, causing many Lindy performers to vow to always continue to social dance. He later became part of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, when they were performing in the Broadway Show, “Hot Mikado.”
He was known for his grace and easy style of the Lindy, with flashy movements, flowing from one move to another regardless of tempo, with improvised breakaways and difficult syncopations; and putting his partner, Little Bea, through tricky patterns. Leroy was an inspiration to the next generation of Lindy dancers, with the famous Frankie Manning often calling him ‘the Fred Astaire of Lindy Hop.”