Emdashes—Modern Times Between the Lines

The Basics:
About Emdashes | Email us

Before it moved to The New Yorker:
Ask the Librarians

Best of Emdashes: Hit Parade
A Web Comic: The Wavy Rule


Interview With a Legend

Filed under: Personal

Amy Winn, reporter, friend, and gifted lindy hopper, had the good fortune to interview Frankie Manning (above in the '30s), who'd make a terrific New Yorker Profile. If you don't already know who he is, read the piece, then go out and dance, damnit! If you're already a fan, or are interested in jazz, dance, or American history, read Amy's full transcript. Actually, Frankie says it better:

This is an article for the daily newspaper, not just for dancers. What can I tell non-dancers to make them want to come hear you speak?

This is an American art form and if they want to learn anything about it, come to class. If you want to learn about an American art form that started in the 20s and you want to know some history of dance, and history of some things that happened. If you want to hear about legendary figures like, Ellington, Basie, people like that, then that's what my lecture will be about -- my involvement with those people.
Do you watch "So You Think You Can Dance," and "Dancing with the Stars"? What do you think of them, and specifically, what do you think of the swing dancing?

I saw "Dancing with the Stars," the one with Ryan and Jenny. I got a tape of it. I thought that was great...who better, right?

I think it's good for everyone, because it actually features dancing and I think people need to get out and dance more and get acquainted with more people, and that's the way to do it -- with partner dancing.

Do you see anything in pop culture today that seems analogous to what lindy hop, jazz, and Harlem meant back in the day? Does you see any major differences or similarities between the today and back then? Do you follow hip-hop?

I don't really follow it [hip-hop] but I have seen a lot of it and I know some of the fellows and girls from the hip-hop movement. Some things I see, I like, some things that we do, they like. It's a change of dances, that's all. I see a lot of what they are doing were things that were done in my day and even before my time, just done to different types of music, so it's done differently. But I look at very, very old films, from the 1900s, and I say that's what they are doing nowadays!

Article, "Frankie Manning: The Ambassador of Lindy Hop" [SavoyStyle]
Frankie dancing in vintage clips from Hellzapoppin (dance starts at 2:42, and you've never seen anything like it; Frankie's in overalls), in The Spirit Moves, and with Willa Mae Ricker [YouTube]
Ryan Francois and Jenny Thomas and their snappy Charleston routine [YouTube]

Post a comment

(If you haven't left a comment here before, it may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Thanks for waiting.)

2008 Webby Awards Official Honoree