“I hope that as Lindy Hop continues to grow and spread, one day, each dancers will take the time to listen to what Frankie had to share. Things that are not found in Hellzapoppin or on his teaching videos.”
Frankie Manning will always be considered as the great inspiration for the Lindy Hop. He was an incredible source of stories, techniques and connection. But how many people do you know who have had contact with this dancer so important and beloved; who learned from him; who listened to his “secrets?” The scene keeps growing and, with it, more and more hoppers appear in the world. But proportionally the number of people who met Frankie Manning is getting smaller.
“Frankie Moves,” designed by Sing Lim, is a project with the goal of celebrating our embassador through important figures who had the privilege of dancing with and learning from him. The idea is to revive little memories that inspired those dancer in their direct relationship with Frankie.
“I started the project in Herrang (in 2015) and I wanted to start with dancers who were particularly close to Frankie. (…) The dancers were wonderful and were super cooperative. I think they recognised that I was very sincere in trying to honour Frankie.”
Sing was born in Singapore and lived in London between 1984 and 1994. It was there that she learned Lindy Hop with Ryan Francoisa and met Frankie, when he was invited to collaborate with the “Zoots and Spangles,” a group led by Ryan.
“I realized how much lindy hop has changed my life and I see how it really affects the people that are drawn to it. This inspires me to want to share some of my experience and especially to remind people about the roots and beginning of the dance.”
The first interviews were with Ramona, Ryan and Lennart, and Sing used this material so that the next guests could watch them and understand what the project was about. The video was divided into two parts: the first with a brief story about how the dancer had met Frankie — or what their relationship was like — and the second with a demonstration of a remarkable move that they had learned from Frankie. The goal was to create simple videos, since the content itself was enough to attract interest: “So it’s quick and from the heart.”
“Frankie meant a lot personally to them. He was either a friend or an inspiration. It sets the perspective for the whole series. The Lindy Hop step is what links us to Frankie mainly.”
The videos — recorded by Sing herself with her cell phone — are, on average, two minutes long. Because she had already worked with advertising, Sing understands the importance and the caution with aspects like light, sound and editing. As well as the strength of video recording: “To share videos is a quick way to make people interested in a specific content.” Considering it would receive views from different countries, Sing decided to include subtitles in the videos, which was a laborious and time-consuming task.
The project receive support from the Frankie Manning Foundation for its distribution and the videos are still up on the website; but, since there were many other projects, Frankie Moves was not a “great hit with the public.” Sing intends to keep doing the videos as she meets new dancers she would like to interview. Even without the goal of making the project known worldwide, she encourages every hopper to take part in it.
“I would be really happy if the project grows and people are inspired to record their own videos to remember something that they have learnt from Frankie, be it directly from him or indirectly from their teacher or from a film.”