QUEEN OF SWING

Norma Miller

Norma Adele Miller danced from a very young age, performing in theatres and in shows age 5. In 1929 Norma and her family moved to an apartment overlooking the Savoy Ballroom and there ignited her love for swing. Norma would watch the dancers from her fire escape and practise all the steps she saw.

In 1932 she had her first taste of dancing at the Savoy when dancing outside, too young to enter, Twist Mouth George Ganaway, “the greatest dancer at the Savoy,” was impressed with her dancing. He gave her a Coca-Cola and asked her to dance in the ballroom for the first time, before she was escorted back outside!

Norma Miller Joseph Sewell Jiveswing.com
Norma Miller Jiveswing.com

In 1934, along with her high school dance partner, Sonny Ashby, Miller won the Savoy Lindy Hop Contest, held at the Apollo Theatre. The next day, Herbert “Whitey” White, the dance master at the Savoy, hired Miller as the youngest member of his dance troupe, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers alongside Frankie Manning.

The troupe toured the world, appeared in films and theatre. Norma left the troupe in 1942 shortly before they disbanded due to WWII.

From then on Norma had her own troupes. The Norma Miller Dancers and Norma Miller and Her Jazzmen, both of which included Frankie Manning‘s son Chazz Young as well as her long-time partner Billy Ricker. In 1954, her group toured nationally with Count Basie as well as working with all the famous artists of the time such as Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

Norma began to focus on comedy and movies from 1956 changing the course of her career. During the 80’s she was a vital part of the Swing revival, sharing knowledge and history.

Norma Miller Jiveswing.com

Jiveswing’s Joseph and Charlotte have been fortunate enough to have spent a lot of time with Norma since 2002, building a very close friendship with her. Joseph would bring Norma to the UK each year to his home and festival GNSH from 2006, where she would share her knowledge and passion with dancers from all over the world. Joseph & Charlotte have been lucky enough to spend hours talking about history and personal life with Norma, plus taking private dance lessons from her to discover her steps

Joseph was honoured to have Norma’s last public social dance in Italy in 2014.

In 2013 Joseph introduced Norma to his friends Maurizio & Roberta, who wanted to create a backing track for Norma to sing on.

This resulted in Norma creating her own band and wrote her own songs with the support of Maurizio, Roberta & The Billy Bros Band in Pescara, Italy.

Norma was ever the professional, and performed and toured up until she turned 99 years old. Joseph, Charlotte, Roberta & Maurizio were all at Norma’s side when she passed away at her home in Florida, May 5, 2019.

Joseph Sewell & Norma Miller Jiveswing.com
William Weaver GNSH (1 of 11)_WEB

Norma’s legacy lives on in the music that she created, the history she shared with us, the books she wrote and the steps we learnt from her. Jiveswing do their utmost to spread this history around the world.

As Norma would always say ‘Don’t Forget Us’.

Buy Norma’s books here and read more about not only the history of the dance, but the era itself:

© Jiveswing.com | Website Design & Maintenance - LucyStandbridge.co.uk | Most Professional Images - Steve Merchant Photography | Other Graphic Illustrations - Becky Wood & Collected Objects Ltd
en English
X