Tuesday, April 28, 2009


I want to begin by saying that even though I didn't get the chance to meet him, Frankie Manning made a positive impact on my life by making others aware of the joys of swing dancing. He taught someone who taught someone who taught someone and it eventually came down to all of us here in the Atlanta area that are dancing up a storm.
Last night I went out to Hot Jam, saddened by hearing that Frankie had passed away early that morning, but still looking forward to dancing and getting some exercise. It was amazing! We danced for 2 hours to some of Frankie's fav music, then sat down on the dance floor and had sort of a memorial for him. Nima set up the projector and we got to watch some clips of him dancing in the 40s film "Hellzapoppin" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTg5V2oA_hY&feature=related) and a Q & A session from a few years back where he talks about the first arial moves of Lindy Hop. He was such a great story teller! Then they passed the mic around and dancers got to tell about the times they got to meet Frankie and how cool he was. I haven't gotten to know everyone at Hot Jam yet, so as sad as the occassion was, it was a great time getting to know them by hearing them talk about what they had learned from Frankie. It was a celebration of his life and how he blessed each of us by what he did when he was our age in the 30s and 40s.
When everyone had finished speaking, we did a Shim Sham dance in his honor, followed by a Big Apple dance (I just watched that one because I haven't learned it yet.) and then some of our REALLY good dancers did a group Lindy Hop dance, the name of which escapes me just at the moment. Then we all got in a circle and jammed for another 20 min or so before breaking out into open dance for the remainder of the evening. I danced with absolutely every lead who was there, and it was SO much fun. I'm sore all over from pushing muscles that don't want to be pushed, but it was worth it! I can't wait til next Monday's Hot Jam and I am so glad that I have Swing Soulstice on Thursday to go to in the meantime.Frankie Manning will be greatly missed. 94 years was so short a time, but meant the world to us who carry on and keep his legacy alive. He may be gone, but he will never, ever be forgotten.
RIP Frankie Manning 1914-2009

No comments:

Post a Comment