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July 04, 2007

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Frankie Manning performing a Lindy aerial

The King Of Swing Dance

Frankie Manning - The King Of Swing Dance

Frankie Manning is a living legend in dance. He helped invent one of the most exuberant and purely American art forms this country can lay claim to: the Lindy Hop.

Frankie began dancing when his mother brought him to social get-togethers in the 1920s. But Frankie really perfected his moves in Harlem dance halls and ballrooms in the 1930s and 1940s. His grace and flair took him from South America to Hollywood, as he helped make the Lindy the dance of its age.

While Gene Kelly and Fred Astaire are familiar names to most, Frankie Manning's is not. It was simply harder for black artists to reach the same pinnacle of fame back then. But Frankie's not bitter about it - nor is he hardened by the horrors he saw while serving in WWII, nor even by the racism of white soldiers with whom he served.

Frankie gravitates towards what gives him joy and pleasure: music and dance.  Now 93 years old, Frankie still teaches and demonstrates the Lindy Hop all over the world.

The Bucket Boys

The Bucket Boys are from Chicago's South Side. They grew up with violence and chaos. But they've risen from being street performers, who would play anywhere for loose change and small bills, to jet-setting professionals. They were "discovered" in the late summer of 2002. Someone from the Chicago Bulls front office saw them while shopping and had them perform during a home game. They got a standing ovation, and have never looked back. In 2004, they performed at the NBA All-Star Game with the likes of OutKast, Christina Aguilera and Beyonce. They talk to Dick about the way drumming on plastic buckets has transformed their lives.

Music

Charleston Fever, Jimmy O'Bryant Vol. 1 (1924-1925); Stompin' at the Savoy; Shiny Stockings by Count Basie; Tuxedo Junction by Jools Holland and His Rhythm & Blues Orchestra, More Friends - Small World Big Band, Vol. 2

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