Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

♫The Ambassador of Lindy Hop♫

The transition from the Roaring 20s into the Swinging 30s underwent massive change as life transformed from an economic boom of the Jazz Age into the twin horrors of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression. Yet within bouts of depression arrived the lively social style of dancing considered both hip and cool in which a dancer often lifts, spins and flips his or her partner. It all started in the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem with the original swing dance known as the Lindy Hop

When it looked like it couldn't get any better, a young dancer named Frankie "Musclehead" Manning created the first airsteps in 1935, and the Lindy Hop soared.  
Welcome into the Spotlight...

Frankie Manning doing a squat Charleston, circa late 1980s.
Photo credit: Ralph Gabriner

Frankie "Musclehead" Manning: swing dancer extraordinaire

The spirit of legendary Lindy hopper Frankie Manning lives on in the hearts and feet of swing dancers around the world. Frankie's vital role in the history, as well as the revival, of swing dancing is remembered and revered along with his radiant and charismatic personality. His legacy is hugely important and widely influential. One of his deepest desires was for swing dancing to live on and on. 
Swing dancer extraordinaire Frankie Manning was a leading dancer at Harlem's legendary Savoy Ballroom where, in the mid-1930s, he revolutionized the course of the lindy hop with his innovations, including the lindy air step and synchronized ensemble lindy routine. [Source: FrankieManning.com]
Frankie Manning (May 26, 1914 – April 27, 2009)

When the swing era met its demise, Frankie Manning took a job with the Post Office where he worked for thirty years until a new generation of swing dancers emerged in the mid-1980s revitalizing the man and the dance. Frankie's fascinating life story is revealed in his autobiography, including his childhood, dancing at the fabulous Savoy Ballroom, performing on stage and screen with Whitney's Lindy Hoppers, seeing active duty in World War II, running his own post-war troupe, The Congaroo Dancers, and being rediscovered by a new generation of Lindy hoppers after working in the post office for thirty years.

In the early days of swing dancing, Frankie Manning stood out for his moves and his innovative routines. This is his autobiography, recalling 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'.

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times...