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This is the final part of a three part series outlining the life of Frankie Manning (May 26, 1914 – April 27, 2009). You may also be interested in Part 1 and Part 2.

In part three Frankie’s role in the Swing Revival is chronicled, including his four visits to Toronto. Much of the content comes from Frankie Manning’s biography, “Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop.” This information was originally compiled as part of an exhibit celebrating the life of Frankie. Read on below for a time line of this great man who has been an inspiration to thousands world wide.

All quotes from Frankie Manning have been taken from the following source: Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop by Frankie Manning and Cynthia R. Millman. Temple University Press, 2007.


• A get together of about thirty Savoy Lindy Hoppers takes place at the Sandra Cameron Dance Studio.


• Smalls’ Paradise in Harlem begins holding swing dances on Monday nights.


• New York Swing Dance Society holds first “Savoy Sunday” big band dance at Cat Club in New York City.


• Frankie meets long time companion, Judy Pritchett.

• Begins teaching career by agreeing to work with Erin Stevens and Steven Mitchell.

As I had agreed, I watched them [Erin & Steven) swing out, and right away I could see that these two had soul. As I watched them, I thought, Maybe I can help them get a little better.
–Frankie Manning


• First travels to Sweden to work with Rhythm Hot Shots.

• Retires from the post office.

Mid-1987 was an important period for me because, among other things, it was the beginning of my long association with a Swedish dance group, the Rhythm Hot Shots.

–Frankie Manning


• Choreographs section of “Opus McShann” with Norma Miller for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.


• Artist Richard Yarde creates mural depicting Savoy Lindy Hoppers, including Frankie Manning, for the Joseph P. Addabo Federal Building in Jamaica, New York.

• Featured in 20/20 profile on ABC.

• Wins Tony Award for Best Choreography for Black and Blue with Cholly Atkins, Henry LeTang, and Fayard Nicholas.


• Serves as consultant/performer in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X.

• Serves as assistant choreographer/performer with Norma Miller in Debbie Allen’s Stompin’ at the Savoy.


• Inducted into City Lore People’s Hall of Fame at Museum of the City of New York.

• Receives New York City Arts in Education Roundtable Award.


• Eightieth birthday celebrated in New York City at “CAN’T TOP THE LINDY HOP”

• Receives NEA Choreographers’ Fellowship. (National Endowment for the Arts)


• Norma Miller’s memoir, Swingin’ at the Savoy, is published.

• Frankie’s 1st Workshop in Toronto, January 1996


• Serves as consultant to Mercedes Ellington for Play On! on Broadway.


• Performs for PBS special Swinging with Duke, featuring the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.

• Eighty-fifth birthday is celebrated at Roseland Ballroom.


• Receives NEA National Heritage Fellowship. (National Endowment for the Arts)

• Appears in Ken Burns’s documentary, Jazz.


• Commemorative plaque is unveiled in the place where the Savoy Ballroom once stood.

•Frankie’s 2nd Workshop in Toronto, April 2002


• Celebrates his ninetieth birthday on Caribbean cruise.

• Receives Flo-Bert Award for Lifetime Achievement in Tap Artistry in New York City.

• Receives Yehoodi Legacy Award in New York City.


• Inducted into Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs, New York.


• Frankie’s 3rd Workshop in Toronto, April 2006


Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop is published.


•Frankie’s 4th Workshop in Toronto, April 2008


• April 27th, Frankie Manning dies one month short of his 95th birthday.

Frankie Manning:
May 26, 1914 – April 27, 2009
It is with great regret that we inform you that legendary lindy hopper and inspiration to tens of thousands of dancers around the world Mr. Frankie Manning passed away peacefully early in the morning on April 27, 2009. He was a kind and generous soul who could light up a room with his smile. He will be greatly missed.

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