Last week we celebrated the lifework and legacy of two legendary dancers, Frankie Manning and Dr. Charles “Chuck” Davis.
Frankie Manning (26.5.1914–27.4.2009) was a pioneer of lindy hop, a Tony award winning choreographer and a celebrated teacher, who spread the joy of swing to new generations of dancers all over the world. The movie “Hellzapoppin’” (1941) includes one of his most iconic performances:
You can find more information on Frankie’s life and legacy here:
Check also the brief documentary on the history of swing on our Youtube channel, featuring dancers Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Clyde Wilder, Mickey Davidson, George Lloyd, Chazz Young, among others:
We recently received the sad news of the passing of Baba Chuck Davis (01.01.1937–14.05.2017). Both as a dancer, choreographer and producer, Chuck Davis was instrumental in introducing dance traditions of the African diaspora in the United States. You can read his obituary in New York Times here:
Chuck Davis was the founding artistic director of the Dance Africa festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. He started the festival in 1977 after which it has become one of the most remarkable annual events celebrating African dance in the U.S. This year’s festival 25.–29.05. was dedicated to Mr. Davis’ lifework:
The co-artistic director of Helsinki Traditional Jazz Dance Company, Clyde Wilder, had the privilege to work and perform with both Frankie Manning and Chuck Davis.
“I want to thank them for their inspiration, energy, and the motivation that I received from them for my own work. I feel proud that I have know them, worked with them and experienced their love for their work and level of artistry,” Clyde Wilder says.
The both of us were happy to celebrate Frankie Manning with our New York swing dance community, dancing to George Gee Swing Orchestra at Swing 46 on May 26th, and Chuck Davis with the U.S. African dance community at the Dance Africa festival on May 27th.
Thank you, Frankie and Chuck, and may your legacy live on. And to borrow Mr. Davis’ slogan:
Peace, love and respect for everybody!
(c) Malin Grahn-Wilder
BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) celebrated the 40th year of the Dance Africa festival, founded by dancer and choreographer Chuck Davis in 1977. In the picture, a performance by International Afrikan American Ballet at the Dance Africa festival in 1983.