Known as the ambassador of Lindy Hop, and a vital character in the swing dance world, Frankie’s radiant spirit lives throughout our classes & community.
Probably the most famous swing dancer of them all Mr Frankie Manning. Frankie frequented the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem in the 1930’s & became one of the top dancers and competitors. In 1935 he and his partner Frieda Washington created the first air step during a competition against Shorty Snowden George who was the inventor of the term ‘Lindy Hop’ and since then ‘air steps’ or ‘aerials’ have been a vital part of Lindy Hop.
In 1935 Frankie became part of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers & lead & choreographed the first professional Lindy Hop troupe who toured around the world and appeared in several films such as Hellzapoppin – Dancing starts at 2.43min and Day at the Races (View links here and here) . The troupe disbanded during WWII and Frankie himself served in the US Military. It wasn’t until after the war in 1947, when Frankie decided to create another performance troupe ‘The Congaroos’ to showcase the Lindy Hop. In 1955 the troupe disbanded and Frankie hung up his dancing shoes and began to work at the post office.
It wasn’t until 27 years later in 1982 that Al Minns, a former member of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers began teaching Lindy Hop at the Sandra Cameron Dance studio and before he died in 1985, informed his students of Frankie Manning. Frankie Manning was contacted and began to teach and help revive the Lindy Hop! Frankie taught a number of people from around the world and thus the spread of Lindy Hop began.
At age 75, Manning co-choreographed the Broadway musical Black and Blue, for which he received a 1989 Tony Award. In 2000, he was a recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the United States’ highest honor in the folk and traditional arts.
Frankie taught at many Lindy Hop festivals around the world right into his 90’s, alongside his son Chazz Young.
Jiveswing’s founder, Joseph was fortunate to learn from Frankie and also teach alongside him at various festivals. Jiveswing celebrates Frankie’s legacy by educating students on the history of the dance and teaching Frankie’s classic moves.
Frankie passed away one month before his 95th Birthday on April 27, 2009, aged 94. His legacy continues throughout the swing dance world.
Why not read Frankie’s book and delve more into the history of the swing dance world: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Frankie-Manning-Ambassador-Lindy-Hop/dp/1592135641/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=frankie+manning&qid=1580219828&sr=8-1