Frankie Manning: The Legend Who Danced Through History

OV Digital Desk

Image Courtesy: Google Doodle

Frankie Manning (26 May 1914 – 27 April 2009) was an American dancer, instructor, and choreographer. Manning is considered one of the founders of Lindy Hop, an energetic form of the jazz dance style known as swing.

Life and Career

Frankie Manning was born on May 26, 1914, in Jacksonville, Florida, United States. He moved to Harlem, New York, during his childhood and became immersed in the vibrant dance scene of the Harlem Renaissance.

Manning started dancing the Lindy Hop in the late 1920s and quickly gained recognition for his skill and creativity. During World War II, he served in the United States Army and entertained troops as a dancer.

Frankie Manning is credited with adding acrobatic elements and innovative moves to the Lindy Hop, making it more dynamic and exciting. He was a lead dancer in the famous dance troupe Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, performing at venues like the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem.

Manning choreographed numerous routines and routines for the group, showcasing his talent for blending traditional Lindy Hop with new elements. After a decline in the popularity of Lindy Hop in the 1950s, Manning worked various jobs outside of the dance industry. In the 1980s, Lindy Hop experienced a revival, and Manning was rediscovered by a new generation of dancers and became a respected elder of the swing dance community.

Frankie Manning passed away on April 27, 2009, in New York City, United States, at the age of 94. His death marked the end of an era and left a profound impact on the Lindy Hop community and the world of dance.

Award and Legacy

In 1989, Frankie Manning was awarded the National Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the highest honor in the folk and traditional arts in the United States. He received several other awards and honors for his contributions to dance, including inductions into the International Swing Dance Hall of Fame and the National Museum of Dance’s Mr. & Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Hall of Fame.

Frankie Manning’s legacy lies in his significant contributions to the preservation and revival of Lindy Hop. He played a crucial role in popularizing the dance form around the world, teaching workshops, and sharing his knowledge with dancers of all ages. Manning’s choreography and style continue to inspire new generations of Lindy Hop dancers, and his impact can be seen in the vibrant global swing dance community.

On 15 May 2016, Google celebrated Frankie Manning’s 102nd birthday with a doodle.