Frankie Manning, to swing dancers, is nothing but legendary. Hailed as the most influential lindy-hop dancer of all time, this American dancer, innovator, and choreographer comes to teach a weekend of lindy-hop workshops here in Saratoga Springs.
Born on May 26, 1914, Frankie Manning grew up in Harlem, NYC. Here he developed his forte during what has since been dubbed the Harlem Renaissance. Frankie danced at the Savoy Ballroom on Lenox Ave in the 1930's, often to the live sounds of Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald. He also danced on Broadway with the sounds of Benny Goodman and Louis Armstrong.
Frankie introduced the first air-steps ever performed in swing dancing and as a result, was featured in a 1941 Life magazine spread. He was choreographer to many classic swing dance sequences in the 30's and 40's although was never credited at the time.
After the decline of the swing era, Frankie was rediscovered in the late 1980's and has undoubtedly been the leading influence in the worldwide revival of swing of the 1990's. Frankie has again been involved in choreographing and dance consulting with movies such as Malcom X and Stompin' at the Savoy (1992) and also with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. He has been featured on 20/20 and performed on a PBS special featuring Wynton Marsalis. Frankie received a Tony Award for his choreography in Broadways' Black and Blue.
Frankie travels the world to teach people the steps he knows and the experiences he's had. His warm and jovial personality is contagious. It's no wonder that he has been the jump-starter to many swing dance communities throughout the world. It's no wonder why thousands of swingers travel to a swing-dancing bash in honor of his birthday. He's toured from Australia to Japan to Sweden to South America, and across the United States of course.
We are proud to bring Frankie Manning to Saratoga to teach through the Saratoga SAVOY. His last visit was spectacular. Recently Frankie returned to teach for the Dance Flurry and to attend the February 2004 Saratoga SAVOY Diamond Dance.
After dedicated work, we have petitioned and succeeded to have the National Museum of Dance include Frankie in the Dance Hall of Fame on March 2006. To celebrate we are had a special dance in Frankie's honor.
On April 27th, 2009, in the morning, Frankie passed on leaving a legacy of swing dancers who share the joy of the dance. Frankie, I would say that we miss you, but you are always in our hearts.
For more information on Frankie Manning, please look in the International Encyclopedia of Dance under "Manning, Frankie."
We invite you to share your favortie Frankie Moments to honor his memory and remind us of the joy he spread..