Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop

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Temple University Press, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 286 pages
In the early days of swing dancing, Frankie Manning stood out for his moves and his innovative routines; he created the "air step" in the Lindy hop, a dance that took the U.S. and then the world by storm. In this fascinating autobiography, choreographer and Tony Award winner (Black and Blue) Frankie Manning recalls how his first years of dancing as a teenager at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom led to his becoming chief choreographer and a lead dancer for "Whitey's Lindy Hoppers," a group that appeared on Broadway, in Hollywood musicals, and on stages around the globe. Manning brings the Swing Era vividly back to life with his recollections of crowded ballrooms and of Lindy hoppers trying to outdo each other in spectacular performances. His memories of the many headliners and film stars, as well as uncelebrated dancers with whom he shared the stage, create a unique portrait of an era in which African American performers enjoyed the spotlight, if not a star's prerogatives and salary. With collaborator Cynthia Millman, Manning traces the evolution of swing dancing from its early days in Harlem through the post-World War II period, until it was eclipsed by rock 'n' roll and then disco. When swing made a comeback, Manning's 30-year hiatus ended. He has been performing, choreographing, and teaching ever since.

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Master of Swing!

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If you have not had the chance to meet Frankie in person this is a great way to get to know the man who many swing dancers as myself has grown to love and admire. In person you would not see a 93 year ... Read full review

Frankie Manning: ambassador of Lindy hop

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

"I never thought I was anything special. I just had a lot of ideas that I liked trying out." So says Manning, now 92, in this recounting of his experiences dancing at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, NY ... Read full review


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About the author (2007)

Lindy hopper Frankie Manning won a 1989 Tony Award for his choreography in Black and Blue, was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with a National Heritage Fellowship, and served as a consultant for and danced in Spike Lee's Malcolm X and Debbie Allen's Stompin' at the Savoy. Frankie's choreographic contributions to the lindy, his professional dance career with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers and the Congaroo Dancers, and his vital role in the swing dance revival have been widely chronicled in the news media, books, and documentaries, including Ken Burns's Jazz and an ABC News 20/20 profile. Now in his nineties, Frankie travels the world teaching the Lindy hop and sharing his riveting memories of dancing through the swing era.

Cynthia R. Millman taught dance and performed for over twenty-five years, including five years with the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers. She has studied and partnered with Frankie, and lectures with him on the history of the Lindy. A librarian at The Town School in Manhattan, Cynthia has contributed articles to Dance Magazine and The International Encyclopedia of Dance, and has served as a dance consultant on several documentaries.

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