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Frankie Manning and the Lindy Hop, Part 1

2015-05-18 | 🔗

Frankie Manning grew up loving dance, learning and practicing in ballrooms and private parties in New York. His innovations in creating new moves for the Lindy hop led him from dancing as a hobby to a career as a performer.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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Can t you missed in his report, has looked icon tomorrow and welcomes in the past. Not while I'm happy for you pay attention, you aren't Facebook or our twitter. You may have noticed a goofy exert with very few to picture the holly and I've put up there. Last winter from our office Holiday Party, in which values like equally x x. being over. My engagement ring. I, like ours, like hell, you think I was purposely be a goofy when in fact I was being delight, is engendered by the other guy. I fell goofy because we are taking this picture in front of
in front of a Christmas tree and, like you, had actually already seen my rang and we were, it was the halt. The whole set up was tat. It was only but anyway the little staged, but my reaction remained genuine. I feel ok, ok, good fellow. people basically immediately started asking whether we would do some wedding episodes not as if these they keep away from me. But hey. You should do this here. We go years. Our first episode bit pertains in some way to my wedding and it's not flowers or diamonds or cake or Queen Victoria, which are all things that people suggested. It is about dancing.
It is about Lindy Hop and the most famous of all that Lindy hoppers who was Frankie Manning Frank. Benjamin Manning was born in Jacksonville Florida on May. Twenty six of nineteen fourteen his parents were Jerry and Lucille Hadley maiming and has only sibling was an older sister who died when Frankie was only to the family lived in these segregated neighbourhood of Campbell Hill. Until he was three at which point his mother left his father and they moved to New York a whole areas of his childhood experiences directly influenced his later work in dance when they move to New York. He and his mother made the trip by boat and Frankie was fascinated with the motion of the waves. They rolled over one another, and he said he wanted to figure out what kind of game they were playing
earliest musical memories were an aching South Carolina where his father moved after Frankie and his mother had gone to New York. Frankie would spend some time on his uncles farm there in the summers and in the evenings. Once all the work was done, the family would sit on the porch and friends and farm hands would play harmonica and washed her base and other instruments, while other people danced and when he was young. Frankie really had to be kind of encouraged to get out there and and dance, but as soon as his grandmother got him into the circle with the other dancers, that was a done deal. He did not want to stop front yard and church music continue to be a really big part of his summer life until he was about ten years old, and at that point his father moved to New York is well now anxious Father was in New York. There wasn't nearly as much of a new impetus for him to go visit South Carolina anymore I'll buy. You know during the school year Frankie was an extremely good student and since his mother worked after, he got out of school.
Every day, a friend of hers with let him fit in a vaudeville theatre that was across the street from his school. He sat in the back and he did his homework, but he also watch the films in the comedy and dance performances that went on in the theater every afternoon for pretty much all of his school years. For some sort of dreamy, I have to say, Frankie Manning style of dance was really quite physically demanding. So it's no surprise that he was also pretty athletic when he was a kid he neighbor had children would play, stick ball and rates around, and they also climbed all around construction sites and roofs, and they would leap back and forth along the buildings basement doors in their stoops, and he was extremely versatile. He participated in a lot of different sports all the way through, but junior high and his mother really loved to damp and starting when he was about
eight years old. She would take him with her to social dances and a lot of these dances were it went parties. These were parties where people would charge a quarter or so for people to be admitted, and this would help them raise the money to pay the rent, so at went parties, people eight drank and danced usually accompanied by somebody playing the piano at first. I think his mother would leave him in a bed. Room, see just sleep while she was at the party, but usually he would instead get up and watch the grown ups through the door, and although he wasn't quite at the point where he was really interested in dancing himself, these early experiences really affected how he thought about dance. These people were clearly having a great time in great company, indifferent Dan styles came out for different moods and different styles of music
someone was really good, the rest of the crowd, but just sort of clear this space and watch so that that person could really just show off and let loose a couple of years later, once he was old enough to spend a little more time with the grown ups instead of an room where people were leaving their coats, Frankie really started to pay attention to how people moved and what steps they did and he started trying to remember how these dances worked with the rhythms of the music. So by the time he was about ten, he was practising steps at home in October of nineteen twenty six frank. He was twelve years old. At this time, his mother was going to help decorate, Halloween Dance and she told them if he helped to. He could go to the dance with her, and he was a wildly excited about this in his own, recounting he was the youngest person on the dance for that night, but when he finally danced with his mother, she told them. Frankie you'll, never be
and sir you're too stiff and his own words after my mother told me I was to stick to the answer. I felt pretty sad. I honestly thought that I was dancing like everybody else at the renaissance ballroom that night, I was really dragging on the way back home, but the next day, what she said kind of wit me up that comment from his mother is when he really got seriously interested in dancing. He started practising it home to the couple of records that he owned and doing anything he could did. He could think of to keep his body from being stiffened straight when his mother walked in on him dancing with a broom or a chair as his partner. He would tell her that he was quote trying to get on stiff. He also kept watching dancers as much as it could, both at ball rooms and private parties, and he noticed the difference is that how people
in these different environments, boring dances were social events and everyone danced there in a more formal way, with kind of an upright posture, usually wearing their Sunday best. Private parties
the other hand, were a lot looser and freer and wilder, and for the most part the exact same people were dancing in both places. Although to look at them in either setting, you would not so much expect that and he also practiced in the basement with his friend Herman Jackson and they would tradeoff who was leaving and who was following because they didn't have a girl to practice with and when Frankie was thirteen. The two of them skipped out on their baptist young People's union events to instead go to a dance for young people at the Alhambra theatre. The dance which was for kids aged twelve to fifteen, had a big band playing and cost a nickel to get in. They had a really good time. They did not dance with anybody. They did, however, decide to go back and they went for the next four weeks before Frankie finally asked someone to dance with him and he was hoping to show off the swing moves that he had been practice
at home. However, as soon as he has said, went to dance, the ban struck up a waltz and he didn't know how to walls. So he basically imitated what the male partner was doing in advancing couple near by and kind of watched that guy the whole time and imitated what he was doing without looking at his partner at all. It was kind of a disaster for several months after that Frankie and Herman brought their own partner to the social balance. Is this is a neighbour named Virginia and they brought her until they were confident enough to start asking other people again. They went to these dances every week with very few interruptions. Once after, winkies mother heard him mention a dance, and she at that point found out that he had not been going to the view Ip Eu meetings anymore. He actually got grounded for a week after awhile, Frankie and Herman started attending the Alhambra theatres, dances for adults and also dances were older teams at the rear
following because these were for people who were a little older than the ones for the younger teenagers that they had been attending before the dancers that they were singing and dancing with were better, which meant that consequently, Frankie and Herman themselves got better too, and it was actually at renaissance. That Frank, you first saw people doing the Lindy hop and we're gonna talk a lot about that. But first we again have a quick word from a sponsor Hapag useless have you ever wanted to share a love story with someone, but you may be wanted to do it in a really unique in interesting way, or you were struggling to get the exact rate words in place. Will you not, to worry about that. You can put it into a book, and that is where love book comes in love, books, help customers express their sentiments that there working hard to make their own unique thing, and each book is completely cut miserable. Most customers use them to list the reasons why they love someone. But you can you all kinds of things
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the umbrella of african american vernacular dance. These advances that have african routes and have been created and popularized and social settings during the time period were talking about. These settings were juke joints, ball rooms and the rent parties that bank, whose mother would taken too there is often some level of competition inherent in bringing in vernacular dances in the form of dance contests and dance off. African american vernacular dances have been passed down from one generation to the next within black communities. Morphing in of all living along the way, and many of them are quite highly improvisational. Lindy hop itself actually evolved from the Charleston, the collegiate and the breakaway kind of combining it. Purportedly at its name, when a reporter asked the dancer what dance he was doing shortly after Charles Winberg famous flight across the Atlantic, social dances have played a huge role in community building and creative expression in african american commute.
For more than a century, so Lindy Hop and other vernacular dances, created and popular eyes during the sling era, where a really important part of the social fabric and black and black communities from the nineteenth twenties. way through the end of world war two. This is especially true during the great depression and when people didn't have much money and social dancing with both an unexplained form of entertainment and a much needed social outlet. Frankie maiming learnt the windy, hop exact same way. He had learned other dances by watching other dancers and dancing with them, and it was with the libyan that he really started to improvise steps of his own. He was dancing as often as he could. At the same time, he was also finishing school and he was playing on multiple team sports at school and he was actually working multiple jobs to try to keep himself and his mother afloat and he finally dropped out of school in the twelve grade in part, because the teachers who were all white were encouraging the black students not to go to college.
Yeah, they re being encouraged to basically take up laboring jobs. Instead, the popularity of Lenny Hop was spreading by nineteen, thirty and Frankie's friends who knew how much he liked the dance and values pretty good at it. Encouraged him to enter a contest, the Lafayette Theatre in Harlem, when it was their groups, They started doing my regular social damn thing like they ve been doing, and it did not go very well. The audience and a comedian whose job it was to make fun of dancers. Who did poorly did exactly that and then hold them off the state with a hook. It was another disaster in thank his early dancing career how the hook, but the Good NEWS is that Frankie me I did not give up, and maybe a year later on, New year's eve. He and his girlfriend started doing the Charleston at a dance, and at that point they were so good that people started. Throwing
me and apparently amused by the sight of one of them scrambling to pick up this money that had been thrown the onlookers through more money and Frankie called this. His first big pay day is a dancer. He was about fifteen years old at the time about a year after Frankie Manning left high school, he was playing a pick out. Basketball game with Herbert Roper and Herbert scored invented this version of a Lindy staff that Frankie had never seen before. It's kind of a celebratory mood Frankie asked Herbert where he had learned to dance like that and Herbert
at the Savoy. Harlem Savoy ballroom had open on March twelve nineteen twenty six and it was owned by Mugeyo who was white and managed by Charles Buchanan. Who is black, and it was one of the first racially integrated social spaces in the United States, from the beautiful ballroom with to ban stands in an immense spring loaded wooden dance floor and may, and it made a name for itself as being home to the best music and the best
answers many of the dancers that later became really popular word developed at the Savoy and the windy. Hot became really the signature dance that was dance there for many years. The best wildest and most inventive Lindy have dancers, usually got together and danced in what was known as cats corner on the north end of the hall near the bandstand. The Savoy was also a performing venue for some of the biggest names of the era, including Dizzy Gillespie and Polonius Monk. I could just rattle off names of people who perform their forever. If you can think of a big jazz person who was performing during that time or a big band performing that I'm probably they perform at the Savoy ballroom, Frankie's first trip to the Savoy was when he was about nineteen and he went with a group as moral support because they were concerned that they wouldn't be good enough to fit in its if they still do a lot of people who were dancing at the renaissance. He spent his dancing time between the two Bari was for a while, but within it
here he had really shifted to doing most of his dancing at the Savoy. Herbert white known as Whitey started a dance truth at this, the boy and at first it was just called the Savoy Lindy hoppers, but it eventually became known as Whitey Wendy hoppers around nineteen. Thirty four seven Frankie was about twenty. Why do you ask them if you want to join the troop? This meant that Frank he would be able to get into this way for free. He could practice when the ballroom was technically clays and he would get to dance with the best answers all the time. So, instead of just watching people there trying to pick up their steps. People just ask them to teach him and he actually learned that he could have done that the whole time he did not leave the have like an official endorsement to ask somebody hey. How did you do that that we show me one of those wonderful things? I think lots of people. Lots of us do things exactly like that, like we assume their sums
Oh rule that there isn't and we could have been helping ourselves a lot all time- it's easy to identify with that as a sign that, before we jump into a sponsor rake, there's an interesting point in that some writing about the windy, hop kind of suggests that the answers had almost proprietary steps that were the years and the other dancers would not do, and there is sort of a code of honor around that. But in his the ATA, Biography, Frankie flatly reject this idea says the people learn from one another. They cheered steps all the time they copied each other's work It was a lot more collaborative and cross over. Even some writing would indicate this episode of stuff. You missed in history classes. Brassy you by W W, formerly wait watchers. They have a new might be to be program at their most groundbreaking and customize programme. Ever I joined Debbie W because I was really looking for something that was going to help encourage me to make healthier eating choices. They have really done that when you joined them W W program, you will take a personal assessment. It asking questions
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company Norton. Three sixty with lifelong is an all in one membership for your cyber safety that gives you device security, identity theft, protection and of e p m for online privacy. No one can prevent all cybercrime and identity theft, but Norton three six with lifelong? Is your ally in today's connected world, because your info is out there sign up for Norton three sixty with lifelong today and say twenty five percent or more of your first year go to Norton dot com, slash history, that's Norton, Dotcom, slash history for twenty five percent off, so to get back to Frankie's story about six months. After joining the true he really started to develop. His own style of Lindy hop. He lowered his centre of gravity way way down towards the ground, and he started just making these big long, reaching movements with his legs and arms. It's a style that he described is trying to get as far as possible from his mother's obsolete
but he was too stiff, and he was also really trying to interpret the music with his body, not just to do the steps of a bad to time with the music well in nineteen thirty, or Frankie, and his partner Hilda Morris actually entered a Lindy contest at the APOLLO theater and they won their prize was to appear in the review. There was opening there and they ran for shows a day for a week, and they did that and the musician that was performing that week was Duke Ellington and they were also paid for this work. So this was pretty big stuff and soon after this He and Hilda started to tourists dancers. A little later on, Whitey arranged a dance competition between his they have troop and another trip headed by stories. Note in so short a stupid started at the Savoy and they. In performing elsewhere professionally for a while they were quite good. They were seasoned professional ban street, but
Some people felt like baby: they had gotten a little bit complacent in their dancing, Frankie Manning started working out. One of his most famous moves for this contest. One a shorter couples did a comedic bit at the end of their routine, in which the very tall female partner carried the male partner off the floor. Frankie also wanted to take his dance into the air in his partner, for the contest was free to Washington, anyone it hurt over his head and a kind of backward somersault and then land in front of him, and so they give this move away. They actually practice did at home on a mattress for safety, and he called this the over the back. So when they did this in the context which was kind of building the like fiery young upstarts against the estate, professional troop went over. Amazingly people could not believe what they had just seen and
aerials are a really big part of the Lindy hot seen, especially among the most experienced answers and the people who dance competitively Frankie at the time they called it an air step, because he wanted to distinguish it from lifts that our common and ballroom dancing asked this success. At this contest, Frank, you started looking for more and more air steps, and this was one of his most recognisable and famous innovations in the world of Libya, and this is really where Frankie Kind of moves into having a professional career as a dancer. But we're gonna do not talk about that today, because we're gonna talk about it. Next time you get a to partner on Frank emailing, I'm so excited I love it. I love Talkin about dance. We get a lot of west from people to talk about them. You lots people, love it myself included. Do you have a little bit of less Hermione
my view- and this is a listener mail from Elizabeth. He was writing about our episode about special education and Elizabeth as High Ladys. I wanted to write to you about my journey through the educational system and being an hour s, p student. I have mild dyslexia and this calculation, which is essentially dyslexia numbers along with some other. My information processing challenges. I must also say that my mother is a retired special education teacher and she greatly shaped my progress through school. My mother knew I was dyslexic from a young age and worked rigorously with me outside of school all through elementary and junior high school. She feared the prejudices of educators and therefore did not have we tested for us for special education until high school. At that time I was granted an ip which included accommodation such as using a computer.
Right class essays and a simple calculator on math exams for basic computation. My mom knew that I, like many students who fall into the mild flash moderate special education category, are quote lumpy learners, her term. As far as I know, with my accommodations, I was able to progress in English to honours English. My junior year of high school in advance placement English, my senior year high school. This is because these are
Computer allowed me to communicate my thoughts and ideas to my teachers without the distractions of bad handwriting and spelling. I did go onto college where I earned my bath first degree in psychology philosophy at the ology. Currently I am an internship emphasis away from my masters of science and educational counselling. With a three point. Seventy GPA have a five minute, one of my best friends from high school, who was an arrest, be with me just finished her masters degree in foreign, listen from a university in London. I have done advocacy for special education students on and off ever since I was diagnosed because I passionately believe that, just because our brains function differently from when someone else's does not mean that we are stupid, we can achieve great things in life both personally and professionally. If we are given the accurate tools to do so. I apologise to link this. I try to keep it to think. I can certainly say more, but anyhow thank you for bringing to light a topic that can be easily overlooked. Let us keep up the excellent work lies. I said Elizabeth at the top letter, but she signed it
thank you so much with. I wanted to leave this for two reasons. One is that it's always awesome to hear from people who have been directly affected by the things that we talk about, and the other is that my aunt, who I mentioned at the top of the episode about special education, who was a special education teacher for most of her career, Dyslexia, rubs really A prominently in a lot of my family and her sons have Dyslexia. She actually thinks she probably has Dyslexia as well and was never vagueness, because when she was because when she was growing up, one of the reasons that led her to be a special education Peter. If you would like to write to us the camera history pike ass, they were stuck on or off on Facebook and Facebook, dot com, Flash Miss than history and on twitter at Miss than history. Our tumblr is less than history, dot, tumblr dot com and are also on Pinterest that painters, dot com, Flash missed in history. We also have t shirts and
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