Frankie Manning in Jacksonville, Florida, on May 26, 1914, is an American dancer, instructor and choreographer. Manning is considered to be one of the founding fathers of Lindy Hop.
He frequented Harlem's Savoy Ballroom in the 1930s, eventually becoming a dancer in the elite and presitigious "Kat's Korner", a corner of the dance floor in which impromptu exhibitions and competitions took place. During a dance contest in 1935, Manning and his partner Freda Washington performed the first aerial in a swing dance competition.
In 1935, Herbert White organized the top Savoy Ballroom Dancers into a professional performance group which was eventually named Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Frankie created the troup's first ensemble Lindy Hop routines and functioned as the group's defacto choreographer, although without that title. The troup toured extensively and made several films. After the group disbanded, Frankie settled into a career with the United States Postal Service.
Frankie Manning was influential in the swing revival of the 1980s. A group of Swedish dancers had made a trip to Harlem for the express purpose of finding any living African American swing dancers who could show them the elements of the dance. They first discovered Al Minns, who, like Frankie, had been a member of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. Frankie was rediscovered following Minns's death, and he became the preeminent swing teacher for a new generation.
Frankie Manning received the Tony Award for co-choreography of the Broadway musical Black and Blue.
In recent years, Frankie Manning's annual birthday celebrations have drawn together dancers and instructors from all over the world. His 80th birthday was commemorated by a weekend long celebration in New York City; his 85th culminated in a sold out party at New York's Roseland Ballroom, where a pair of his dance shoes were placed in a showcase along with those of dancers such as Fred Astaire. A dedicated cruise was organized for his 90th birthday, and for his birthday dance he followed his custom of dancing with one woman for every year of his life, partnering 90 women in succession.