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Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop Hardcover


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Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop + Swing Dancing (The American Dance Floor) + Swingin' at the Savoy
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 312 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (May 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592135633
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592135639
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,230,151 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Frankie Manning spread swing dancing's popularity throughout the world while touring with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers in the 1930s and '40s. Dance writer and swing dancer Millman conducted extensive interviews with Manning for a vivid account of his career. Manning became a star in Harlem's popular Savoy Ballroom with his unique style, including dancing at a sharp angle to the ground like a track runner, speed and musicality. In a dance competition, Manning astonished the crowd with the first-ever Lindy aerial, or air step (where the man sends his partner flying). Later Manning toured with jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie, and performed in several films, including Everybody Sings with Judy Garland. After a long hiatus from dancing, he was a consultant for Spike Lee's Malcolm X and coached a new generation of dancers in the swing dance revival of the '80s and '90s. While the first-person accounts of Manning's life capture his vibrancy, humor and charm, the narrative is interrupted by short sections of historical notes; their formality is at odds with Manning's ease and charisma. Still, this vivid memoir by one of swing dancing's innovators and stars is a must for lovers of dance, jazz and African-American history. 36 b&w illus. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"Dance writer and swing dancer Millman conducted extensive interviews with Manning for a vivid account of his career... the first-person accounts of Manning's life capture his vibrancy, humor and charm...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


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Customer Reviews

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It's definetly a book I recommend for you to read even if you are not a swing dancer.
Myrna C.
Whitey's Lindy Hoppers animated the mesmerizing vitality of the music, simultanesouly thrilling audiences and inspiring the musicians themselves.
keep dancin
Frankie tells his story with such humor and grace that you can feel his love of life and joy come through every page.
M. Thompson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Richard Panganiban on May 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been a student and admirer of Frankie Manning's ever since my first dance lesson with him almost ten years ago. Frankie is a legendary dancer, an innovator and pioneer in the dance form called "Lindy Hop" that started in the Jazz Age in the streets of Harlem and continues to this day in clubs, schools and dancehalls all over the world.

I've been hearing Frankie tell his inspiring stories for a long time now, but never with this rich detail and the larger historical context provided by Ms. Millman to back them up.

From his days as a child at rent parties to the heyday of the Savoy Ballroom to performing internationally with the dance troupe Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, you follow the exciting growth of a young dancer. Then we follow Frankie into the war years and his dropping out of the swing world for several decades. Fortunately in the 1980s, Frankie is coaxed out of retirement and continues to do this day to teach and inspire others about this wonderful dance.

Throughout it all, you cannot help but be touched by Frankie's grace, style and humor in navigating tumultuous, often racially-charged situations. I want to be Frankie when I grow up.

A great read for anyone interested in African-american history, dance, or jazz.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By lindylynn on May 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I had the honor of working with Cynthia on editing the manuscript while it was still being formed. You can't even begin to imagine the work, years, love and passion she put has into it...but it shows on every page (painstaking revision after revision after revision to get it just right).

As many times as I have heard Frankie's stories in person, it was still a revelation to read the manuscript..And each re-read it just got better! The book provides chronological insights and the complete story of Frankie's many experiences on and off the dance floor (and yes, in the air!). It's a behind the scene look at a legendary life. It is a must read for swing dancers and a great read for every body else. I can't wait to read it again in bound copy and see all the great photos!!!! Hooray for Cynthia and Frankie!!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Deborah Huisken on June 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Call me enthusiastic, but this is Frankie's story in his own words, therefore it's great.

I just received my copy yesterday, and have been dipping into it slowly, savoring a man - and a spirit - that is to be treasured.

Frankie himself is amazing for his ability to have been fully himself, and to have made his life's most powerful work be the expression of who he is through his art form, the dance.

Yes, it's a treasure-trove of wonderful stories, at which Frankie is a master. And, the value of story-telling is the insights it gives on what it is to be fully human.

I got to know Frankie in London and Sweden, and being able to sit and listen to him is, as Mickey Davidson says, the profound pleasure of sitting at the feet of the Elders. There is much wisdom in this man, as well as much fun. He has, as all great artists do, brought that wisdom, and his soul, into his work. He has, thereby, touched hundreds of thousands - if not millions - of people, dancers and non-dancers.

It looks like Ms. Millman largely made the wise choice to let his words and his story take front and center. If you've heard him tell stories before, you can hear his voice - and his infectious laugh - come through the pages. This book is worth reading for anyone interested in knowing what decency and grace people are truly capable of, no matter what people around them are doing.

If I have a gripe, it is that the end of the book (which talks about the resurgence of Lindy and Frankie in the '80s) does not truly do justice to how profound as well as international Frankie's reach has been.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Larry A. Petersen on October 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was fortunate to have met Frankie twice before I read the book. This gave me the face and voice to put the words to. As I read, it was as if Frankie was there talking to me with all the wit , humor and charm he has in person. Frankie's excitement in telling his stories makes you wish you could have been there with him. Frankie does a wonderful job of taking you through his life experiences in a way that you just can't put the book down.
For me the book is about much more than dancing Lindy Hop. It's about how to live your life which is finding your passion and becoming the best, not to become famous or rich, but because it gives you purpose and that gives others inspiration. Thanks for putting Frankie's life into words. He is someone I wish my kids, grand kids and all future generations could have met. I hope this book soon becomes a movie so all the world can once again see Frankie Manning on the dance floor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By dasn0wman on January 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a quick read (I finished in a week) of one of the last living founders of Lindy Hop and creator of the famous air step in Lindy Hop swing dancing. Unlike most autobiographies, this book is concise and very well written. Among milestones of Manning's career include how he came up with the air step and its first introduction, a very long and successful professional career as a dancer, the end of the swing era, and its revival in the 1980s and 1990s. Credit is given to all those involved as many names and pictures are found throughout book. Whether you were there or not, this is a captivating travel back in time to relive a dazzling piece of American culture, the Lindy Hop and the man that helped shape it.
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