This is the sort of thing I love the Internet for – Frankie Manning, lindy-hop superfreakinglegend, recently passed away at the ripe old age of 94 (having danced and travelled the world teaching others to dance until late last year), and thanks to Youtube I get to watch the coolest funeral ever. There’s a blog entry about it here with some wonderful videos of people dancing in the aisles, and Youtube user vwluong has many other videos from the funeral service itself.
I absolutely loved watching this video of Dawn Hampton dancing at the funeral repast.
I don’t know if it will appeal to non-lindy-hoppers as much as it does to me because it’s not exactly showy (she is over 80 years old, after all!), but it contains a huge amount of the lindy-hop I most like to watch – the casual, intimate playfulness between two people and the music that improvisation seems to bring out best. Dawn can do more stylin’ while barely moving than I can with my entire body! Fancy slick routines are all very impressive but my favourite part of any lindy-hop event is still when stuff like this happens on the social dancefloor afterwards. (Note: here are some usual examples of non-choreographed social dancing when both dancers are of equal vigour, though it’s still not really the same as being there.)
It would have been Frankie’s 95th birthday on May 26th, and I so wish I could be in New York to attend the celebrations of his life even though I’m ashamed to say I haven’t gone lindying in maybe two years. Goodbye, Frankie. All those angels and saints better practise their shim-sham.