Frankie Manning Bio

Swing dancer extraordinaire Frankie Manning was a leading dancer at Harlem’s legendary Savoy Ballroom where, in the mid-1930s, he revolutionized the course of the lindy hop with his innovations, including the lindy air step and synchronized ensemble lindy routine.

As a featured dancer and chief choreographer for the spectacular Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, he performed in numerous films (including Hellzapoppin’), and entertained on stages around the world with jazz greats Ethel Waters, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cab Calloway. Decades later, Frankie went on to win a Tony Award for Best Choreography for Black and Blue; He served as consultant/performer in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X; served as assistant choreographer/performer in Debbie Allen’s Stompin’ at the Savoy; Received the NEA Choreographers’ Fellowship and NEA National Heritage Fellowship. Frankie continued to teach and mentor Lindy Hoppers all around the world until his passing, at 94. (Download Full Bio [PDF], courtesy of )

The Book

Frankie Manning Autobiography – PAPERBACK OR HARDCOVER

Ambassador of Lindy Hop, the account of Frankie Manning’s many lives from 1914 until today, is a delight to the eye, the ear and the heart. The story is told in Manning’s own voice from his excellent recollection, and has been formed into a tight memoir with pruning and coaxing from his collaborator, Cynthia Millman.

Order at:

Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop by Frankie Manning and Cynthia R. Millman
Temple University Press, 2007


For a comprehensive list of Frankie Manning videos, please visit the Frankie Manning Foundation Video Resource. 

Articles & Interviews



Articles & Obituaries