How Frankie Manning’s incredible dancing skills made him famous twice, 50 years apart
Frankie Manning flipped his partner over his back and onto her feet, Lindy Hop “air step” made him the most famous swing dancer of all time – Honoured in today’s Google Doodle.
In 1935, a dancer named Frankie Manning won a dance competition with a daring feat: He flipped his partner over his back and onto her feet, the Lindy Hop “air step” that would make Manning, honored in today’s Google Doodle, arguably the most famous swing dancer of all time.
Manning, who died in 2009, would be 102 today. Like a good performance, his career included both a first act and a later revival, bookending a 30-year job and a quiet life at the post office. He started dancing in his teens, and he was still dancing at his 85th birthday party, when he danced with 85 different partners.
But the fact that Manning’s career needed a revival at all — a revival driven mostly by white swing dancers in the mid-1980s — also shows how white Americans embraced black dance steps without always uplifting the people who created them.
Manning, like swing dancing, got his start in Harlem
To understand just how good Manning was at swing dancing, […]