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Making Seafood Sustainable
Participatory Biblical Exegesis
The Glory and the Burden
The Evolution of American Investigative Journalism
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If White Kids Die
The Same Thing Over and Over
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This Strange Wilderness
Deeper Currents
Pacific Time on Target

Frankie ManningFrankie Manning

Ambassador of Lindy Hop

Frankie Manning and Cynthia Millman

Narrated by Derrick E. Hardin

Available from Audible

Book published by Temple University Press

In the early days of swing dancing, Frankie Manning stood out for his moves and his innovative routines; he created the "air step" in the Lindy hop, a dance that took the U.S. and then the world by storm. In this fascinating autobiography, the choreographer and Tony Award winner (Black and Blue) Frankie Manning recalls how his first years of dancing as a teenager at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom led to his becoming chief choreographer and a lead dancer for Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, a group that appeared on Broadway, in Hollywood musicals, and on stages around the globe. Manning brings the Swing Era vividly back to life with his recollections of the crowded ballrooms, and of Lindy hoppers trying to outdo each other in spectacular performances. His memories of the many headliners and film stars, as well as uncelebrated dancers with whom he shared the stage, create a unique portrait of an era in which African American performers enjoyed the spotlight if not a star's prerogatives and salary.

With collaborator Cynthia Millman, Manning traces the evolution of swing dancing from its early days in Harlem through the post-World War II period, until it was eclipsed by rock 'n' roll and then disco. When swing made a comeback, Manning's 30-year hiatus ended. He has been performing, choreographing, and teaching ever since.

Frankie Manning won a 1989 Tony Award for his choreography in Black and Blue, was honored by the National Endowment for the Arts with a National Heritage Fellowship, and served as a consultant for and danced in Spike Lee's Malcolm X and Debbie Allen's Stompin' at the Savoy. Frankie's choreographic contributions to the lindy, his professional dance career with Whitey's Lindy Hoppers and the Congaroo Dancers, and his vital role in the swing dance revival have been widely chronicled in the news media, books, and documentaries, including Ken Burns's Jazz and an ABC News 20/20 profile.

Cynthia Millman taught dance and performed for over twenty-five years, including five years with the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers. She has studied and partnered with Frankie, and lectures with him on the history of the Lindy. A librarian at The Town School in Manhattan, Cynthia has contributed articles to Dance Magazine and The International Encyclopedia of Dance, and has served as a dance consultant on several documentaries.


“A poet of the dance floor. This book is a must read for any one who loves the dance, amateur or professional. What a life he has lived, and thank God he remembers it all!" Bette Midler, student and fan "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

“Manning's personality comes across via his vivid descriptions of dance contests, the excitement of choreographing, and the lindy's decline and revival. He also discusses the racism he faced in the U.S. Army during World War II and while on tour...This is an interesting and significant piece of the swing dance record valuable for its oral history. Recommended for academic libraries with dance history collections.”

"Library Journal

“Sit down with the book and you will feel you've sat down with Frankie in person to hearthe wonderful story of his life.”

Swing Dancer Magazine

“Manning has aged gracefully in spirit...sounding likeable and constantly refraining from grinding axes or settling scores, in what is a very readable memoir.”

j.b. spins

“Frankie Manning has now emerged to share the most informative creative insight to date...sensitively co-written by Cynthia Millman, the book throws new light on broad swathes of original jazz dance practices…Frankie Manning chronicles the dedication, rehearsals, and heard-earned technical virtuosity of a dance form often seen as reckless exuberance. Unlike most writing on the subject, Frankie's detailed acknowledgment of his various Linda partners subtly guides the reader to the dance's reciprocally rhythmic defining character. Frankie's disciplining of his body clearly matches the determination of his intellect that through telling his story significantly enlarges our understanding of 20th century popular dance.”

Dancing Times

“On the crowded dance floor of Harlem's Savoy Ballroom, a nimble young New Yorker named Frankie Manning found his calling. Manning became a swing dancer who helped refine and popularize the Lindy Hop — that remarkable, airborne style of terpsichorean Americana — and go on to teach it to eager dancers his grandkids' age. In this good-humored, oral history-style autobiography, Manning covers a jumpin' and jivin' career that won't quit. (The 93-year old dancer recently showed off his classy moves at Seattle's Century Ballroom.) Making "guest appearances" here are many great dancers and musicians from the Swing Era and beyond. And among the many delightful photos is a publicity glossy of star hoofer Bill "Bojangles" Robinson inscribed, 'To Frankie, The Greatest Lindy Hopper of Them All.”

Seattle Times

“An engaging narrative with a dose of Linda lore.”

Dance Teacher

“This is an important book for anyone who is interested in lindy hop or the swing era...If you're a lindy hopper, you should own this book!”


“The book serves as an insightful social history of the 20th century and the American vernacular jazz dance - a gem for anyone interested in this history of dance...Manning and Millman's book is not only a gift to the contemporary Lindy Hop scene, but a must-read for all dancers.”

Dance Today

All titles are published by:
University Press Audiobooks
an imprint of Redwood Audiobooks

University Press Audiobooks