May 12

Frankie Manning & the Savoy Ballroom

Category: blog

As you’ll often hear from our community, Frankie Manning was one of the founding fathers of the Lindy Hop….he definitely inspired many of us. Sadly he passed away a few weeks before his 95th Birthday…which was about 3 years ago. Anyhow, we want to keep his spirit alive by letting people know how awesome he was…So we offer you some history lessons with a series of videos that we found. The first, is Frankie retelling his story about the first aerial…(there are many video interviews with Frankie, we hope you explore them and get to know Frankie & his dancing).

The second is from a documentary on the Savoy Ballroom, which is part of a series, there are more on YouTube if you want to explore more…(this one has a brief interview with Frankie).

This is the amazing choreography from Hellzapoppin that shows Frankie & Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers at their peak, tearing it up…Frankie can be seen at about 1:15 in overalls and he’s the guy getting kicked in the butt…always a comic, Frankie used to tell the story of how his butt hurt for a few days after they did so many rehearsals of this high energy routine…

And sort of related, we have some really interesting and primitive footage from a Savoy Ballroom pavillion/exhibit at the 1939 World’s Fair which was held in New York. The footage was shot using a home movie camera of the time and unfortunately, they didn’t have sound. It’s still fascinating to watch. There are many social dancers and as is still common with a lot of dances there are more women than men, so there are a lot of gals dancing with gals…(and this is before a lot of the guys shipped out for WWII).

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