Ambassador of Lindy HopCynthia R Millman
In the early days of swing dancing, Frankie Manning stood out for his moves and his innovative routines; he created the "air step" in the Lindy hop, a dance that took the U.S. and then the world by storm. In this fascinating autobiography, the choreographer and Tony Award winner (Black and Blue) Frankie Manning recalls 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," a group that appeared on Broadway, in Hollywood musicals, and on stages around the globe. Manning brings the Swing Era vividly back to life with his recollections of the crowded ballrooms, and of Lindy hoppers trying to outdo each other in spectacular performances. His memories of the many headliners and film stars, as well as uncelebrated dancers with whom he shared the stage, create a unique portrait of an era in which African American performers enjoyed the spotlight if not a star's prerogatives and salary.
With collaborator Cynthia Millman, Manning traces the evolution of swing dancing from its early days in Harlem through the post-World War II period, until it was eclipsed by rock 'n' roll and then disco. When swing made a comeback, Manning's 30-year hiatus ended. He has been performing, choreographing, and teaching ever since.
"On behalf of all of the Hoofer’s, we thank you and salute you for every moment of truth, love and dedication translated to us all through your art form, your dance. Thank you Frankie Manning. I Love You!"
"A poet of the dance floor. This book is a must read for anyone who loves the dance, amateur or professional. What a life he has lived, and thank God he remembers it all!"
—Bette Midler, student and fan
"Dance writer and swing dancer Millman conducted extensive interviews with Manning for a vivid account of his career... the first-person accounts of Manning's life capture his vibrancy, humor and charm...this vivid memoir by one of swing dancing's innovators and stars is a must for lovers of dance, jazz and African-American history."
"Sit down with the book and you will feel you’ve sat down with Frankie in person to hear the wonderful story of his life."
—Swing Dancer Magazine
"Frankie Manning's story, a labor of love and commitment, makes a magnificent contribution to the history of the Lindy Hop from its beginnings in the Savoy Ballroom to its resurgence as an internationally celebrated jazz artform.... (E)ssential reading for anyone interested in this rich period in the development of America's indigenous dance and music."