Today, May 26 2010, would have been Frankie Manning’s 96th birthday. He passed away last year, just a month shy of his 95th birthday. Although he’s no longer with us, dancers old and new can still experiences his legacy and spirit. Having only been dancing for less than a year I never had the chance to meet Frankie, the legendary Lindy Hop ambassador, so I have no personal stories to share nor a vast knowledge of his biography. But a quick search on the internet can reveal fairly quickly who he was, and how he was as a person. (go on, do some Googling now)
Yes he’s a great dancer, an innovative choreographer, he’s been in movies, he’s won the Tony, he ‘invented’ the first air step in Lindy Hop, but talking to people who’ve spent some time with him it’s clear that he’s very much loved not for all that. The deep impression in people’s hearts was made because of how humble, inspiring, and full of life he was. Even friends who are strangers to Lindy were amazed when they were shown videos of interviews with Frankie – he seemed to radiate pure joy and didn’t look a day over 60 when he was already in his 90s in the interview.
I surely hope I’ll still be dancing way into my old days, just like he did.
Happy Birthday Frankie, from this Lindy Hop baby.
Dancers around the world doing the Shim Sham as tribute to Frankie on his 95th
Singapore’s present to the tribute