Monday, May 25, 2009

Lindy Hop !

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx photo/ Ralph Gabriner/ 1980's

FRANKIE MANNING/ MAY 26,1914- April 27,2009
Frankie Manning was known as the Ambassodor of the Lindy Hop. The leading dancer at Harlem's legendary Savoy Ballroom, he revolutionized the Lindy Hop in the 1930's. He appeared around theworld with Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie,
Cab Calloway, and Duke Ellington.
He performed in numerous films including Hellzapoppin. He was also highlighted in Ken Burn's documentary, "Jazz".
When the Swing Era ended, he took a job in the Post Office, where he worked for 30 years, until the revival of swing when he was rediscovered by a new generation of enthusiasts. Since then he has been teaching, choreographing, and performing around the world. In 1989 he won a Tony Award for "Black and Blue",and served as a consultant to Spike Lee's Malcom X. His life has been chronicled in many articles and dozens of programs.
In honor of his 85th birthday in 1999, he danced with 85 partners at the Roseland Ballroom, his name on the marquee, where he had been turned away in the 1930's because he was black.

xxxxx Whitey's Hopping Maniacs, at the Moulon Rouge, Paris, 1937


Frankie Manning died a few days short of his 95th birthday. He was planning on celebrating at a 5 day Birthday Festival in New York. Organizers have gone ahead with the schedule, set for May 21- 25, now his memorial.

Frankie Manning on tour
with Lucille Middleton,
in 1938

Steel/ Auckland
If you can, upload the Frankie Manning "Hellzapoppin"
YouTube video. To see him dance, oh my!!
I would if I could, but my computer is
now inhabited by gremlins!!


Linda S. Socha said...

Thanks Lyn
I love this post. What wonderful info. I totally love the Lindy but did not know this history....I spent 5 years of working at learning various swing dances...only to come away with a knee injury...but it does not deter the love of dance


Tess Kincaid said...

Lovely tribute. 95?! So unusual for someone in the business. What an icon of hop!

Lyn said...

Hi Linda-
Thank you..I never quite had the daring to try the "real" swing..good for you..
Yes, he was the tops! If you can catch his special on PBS...

Hi Willow-
Imagine, 95..he seemed to be totally in watch him, he was gifted in so many ways!

Unknown said...

Hi Lyn,

Your tributes always manage to feature people of considerable age, which suggests that not all geniuses (genii) die young.

Unknown said...

Wow is right. Awful that he wasn't allowed to perform because of color. Seems to me that dancers live to be a ripe old age and 95 is sure that. Wonderful tribute Lyn.

Lyn said...

Hi Derrick-
Let's hear it for "old" genii! Maybe living a life of joyful purpose has something to do with longevity!!

Lyn said...

Hi Gaston-
Well, let's just keep on dancing!! Can only help!!

Jeane Myers said...

isn't it interesting how fads come, go and then return stronger then ever? a wonderful tribute, Lyn ;)

Lyn said...

Hi Jeane-
The good things are never gone...
everything old is new again!!

Kat Mortensen said...

It's too bad he missed his birthday celebration by only 5 days!

I have an award for you Lyn.


Lyn said...

Hi Kat-
Dancing in Heaven!!!
Thank you so much! I did check and left a comment!!

A Cuban In London said...

I was going to comment on this post the other day and completely forgot about it. I saw a documentary a few years ago on his life. It was screened at the South Bank where they had an all-day event chronicling so-called 'black dance' (you can see I struggle with labels). Lindy Hop was given a good chunk of the programme. Many thanks for honouring such an artist.

Greetings from London.

Lyn said...

Hi to a Cuban-
He was a pioneer..started a movement, went away, and returned to even greater acclaim. I saw a documentary about him last week..I knew he was giving lessons, always thought I'd sign up..anyway..that beaming face, till the end!


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