Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 49 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts    H3'ed 5/20/09

Frankie Manning: The Ambassador of Lindy Hop

By       (Page 1 of 4 pages)   5 comments, 2 series
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Meryl Ann Butler
Become a Fan
  (82 fans)

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

Born May 26, 1914, in Jacksonville, FL, Legendary Savoy ballroom dancer, Tony-award winning choreographer and Lindy Hop ambassador, Frankie Manning, brought enthusiasm, joy, and innovation to changing the course of swing dancing during his career.

His most popular dance sequence is the one he choreographed and performed in for “Hellzapoppin’.

Manning died of pneumonia just a month short of his 95th birthday at New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital, on April 27, 2009.

Raised by his laundress mother, the family moved to Harlem when Frankie was 3. He tagged along when his mother danced at “rent parties” – neighborly fundraisers held to help friends pay the landlord.

The LA Times said, “Manning's chief innovation was popularizing the thrilling "air step" move in which a female partner is tossed in the air and lands in time with the music. After introducing this choreographic accent, sometimes called an "aerial," he and fellow Lindy hoppers developed dozens of others in which partners fling each other around, over and between various limbs. Manning created the over-the-back air step in 1935 at a weekly dance competition at the Savoy (in Harlem), and it became a sensation.”

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

Manning and partner Freida Washington won a dance contest at the Savoy contest by including his first acrobatic partner-toss. It’s thought that these dramatic flying moves, coming at the time of Lindbergh’s famous flight, inspired the name “Lindy Hop” because of their airborne qualities.

Some of the Savoy's finest dancers, including Manning, were recruited to join Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, a dance performance team that offered the pinnacle of swing dance. Manning toured the world with them from 1936-1943, becoming unofficial choreographer for the group.

(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

The detail above shows Whyte's Hopping Maniacs performing with "Le Cotton Club de New York" at the Moulin Rouge in Paris, summer 1937.

As part of the team, Manning played The Cotton Club and shared stage billing with performers like Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie, Cab Calloway, and others.

The team performed before King George VI of England in 1937.

The Archives of Lindy Hop at says:

In the early 1930's, as word got around about the sensational swing dancing at the Savoy Ballroom, requests came from downtown socialites and rich folk who wanted to have Lindy Hoppers perform at their lavish parties. Whitey, who got to know the young dancers well, was able to hand pick exciting dancers who were also socially adept and reliable. They were invariably delighted to make a few dollars doing what they loved (Aren't we all?). A father figure to many of these dancers, Whitey would send them downtown to those fancy digs with the admonition, "Remember, ain't nobody better than you."

This advice must have come in handy in 1937, when a group of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers stood on line to shake hands with the Queen of England! This self-respect and pride permeated the Savoy Ballroom, one of the few places on earth where Blacks and whites could meet on the dance floor as equals.

Next Page  1  |  2  |  3  |  4

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Meryl Ann Butler Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)

Related Topic(s): , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

CEO Ridiculed for Raising Minimum Wage to $70K Has the Last Laugh

The Bizarre Theft of Dr. Stanislaw Burzynski's Miracle Cancer Cure

Mysterious Bayou Sinkhole Continues to Cave In: Radiation, Hydrocarbons Detected

Tips for Avoiding Coronavirus

Relentless Bayou Corne Sinkhole Nearly 30 Times Original Size (UPDATED with Cave-In Video)

Sex, Love, and Jesus: A Few Surprises in the Easter Basket

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend