Introducing Frankie Manning ( 1914 – 2009 )
Today, we feature Part 3 of the Lindy Love Letter from Sing .
Read Part 1 here
In this edition, I have Li Hsien to share about Frankie Manning.
Li Hsien, 48 , runs her own business and her children’s business, sometimes other people’s business too. She started dancing since she was 6, and picked up Lindy Hop from 1997.
She met Frankie for the first time in Feb 1998, and she was most fortunate to have the opportunity to interview him for The Straits Times! She had subsequently met him in England, Sweden and several camps in the US . She also celebrated the New Year with him and the Harlem Hot Shots in Mexico.
The Straits Times Feb 1998
INTRODUCING FRANKIE MANNING
1. What were your first impressions of Frankie?
Hsien: There’s always the Frankie cackle. He leans back, slaps his thigh and laughs with his whole body. It happens a lot when you talk to him. He is a lot like the dance he teaches – he pays attention to his lady, treats her like a queen!
2. What do you like about Frankie’s dancing , when he was young and when he was older.
Hsien: When he was younger, there was just pure effortless power. When I see that, I realise how he could still carry on into the 90s..it would take a lot of wear that guy down. Even when I danced with him and he’s already past 90 – maybe the last SEAJam he was here – I can feel the strength in his lead. It feels clear and strong.
3. If you were a beginner again, what do you wish you had learnt from Frankie.
Hsien: The connection with the partner – paying attention. It is so obvious but you do not appreciate when you are a beginner, and when you learn more – you get all distracted by the dozen other things you know.
4. What was the most important thing Frankie brought to Singapore dancers ?
Hsien: He brought Lindy Hop right to our doorstep. He showed us how it was for everyone not just some people on the other side of the world. Just by showing up for Sea Jam and all our celebrations,, year after year till he couldn’t any more.
5. As an experienced dancer now, what would you ask Frankie if you could?
Hsien: May I have this dance?
6. What do you think is his legacy that we should continue to uphold in Singapore? What can we still learn from Frankie?
Hsien: He had a humility and niceness that was genuine. Lindy Hop was and is, a social dance. You get friendly – you meet people. Anyone can join, and you include anyone who wants to join.
7. How do you think Singapore dancers can relate to Frankie ?
Hsien: I think Frankie lived the ideal of giving to and living within a community and that was part of his dancing life. Singaporeans can relate to that. Lindy Hoppers here are part of a community, and I am pretty sure most of us realise the more we give, the more we live. Thank you, Frankie
Thank you Li Hsien
By Sing Yuen Lim
Write in to email@example.com to share your memories of Frankie.