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In the early days of swing dancing, Frankie Manning stood out for his moves and innovative routines; he introduced the air step in the Lindy hop, a dance that took the US and then the world by storm. In this fascinating autobiography, choreographer and Tony Award winner (Black and Blue) 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.
Published by Temple University Press.
"This vivid memoir by one of swing dancing's innovators and stars is a must for lovers of dance, jazz and African-American history." - Publishers Weekly
"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
"Essential reading for anyone interested in this rich period in the development of America's indigenous dance and music." - Dance Magazine
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Beautifully captures a golden era of American dance and art
Mainstream America tends to underestimate dance and African American arts in general. Hence the importance of this book — showing how African American resilience through creativity can rise above centuries of oppression. This beautifully drawn biography allows characters and personalities to shine through, in particular the very charming Frankie Manning. He shows us how dance can uplift and create solidarity across time and cultural differences. The arc of his life is spectacular, and he’s quite the raconteur. The descriptions of dance experiences and events were very evocative for me as a dancer, I felt like I was there with Frankie. Nice end notes and insights, very touching to learn how the book was created. Beautifully written and read, kudos to all involved!