Written (copyright) by Harri Heinila
It is time to clear the facts about the Revival of the Interest in the Lindy Hop in the 1980s and tell which of the Lindy revivalists really first found Frankie then.
Everyone who was in the Frankie95 Lindy Revival panel discussion in May 2009 remembers the clip in which Margaret Batiuchok and Frankie danced together in the dance studio. That clip was from 1985. I asked Margaret later when she saw Frankie at the first time. That was even earlier: in 1984, when Margaret was an understudy in the rehearsals of the Norma Miller’s dance group. Frankie was sitting there and watching queitly the rehearsals. Frankie also frequented the New York Swing Dance Society’s Cat Club since 1985.
We also know that Lennart Westerlund with his friends, Anders Lind and Henning Sörensen, and Larry Schulz, who worked with Albert ‘Al’ Minns at the time, saw Frankie earlier than Erin Stevens and Steven Mitchell. They, however, did not attend to Frankie then. And it also should be remembered that Jiving Lindy Hoppers (Terry Monaghan and Warren Heyes and their group) worked with Frankie and Norma Miller at the latest in 1986.
Even that is not the whole truth. To be exact Frankie never disappeared totally from The Lindy Hop scene. Although he worked in the post office for decades, he still danced socially and participated in gatherings of the old Savoy Ballroom guard. He also judged in one of Louise ‘Mama Lou’ Parks Duncanson’s International Harvest Moon Ball competitions with other Lindy Hop masters like George Sullivan in the beginning of the 1980s. So, how to “rediscover” him, if he never really disappeared?
The official story still goes (by the Frankie’s official biography ‘Ambassador of The Lindy Hop’ and even by the Frankie document film ‘Frankie Manning: Never Stop Swingin’) that Erin and Steven called Frankie from California and they met him in 1986 at the Bryant Dupré’s party in New York. Frankie started to teach them after that. That was the official start of Frankie’s new career as The Lindy Hop teacher.
These, however, are the facts. Margaret Batiuchok should get the recognition that she was the first one of the revivalists of the Interest in the Lindy Hop who danced and rehearsed with Frankie Manning in the 1980s. We know that Margaret and Frankie danced regularly together also later because there are Margaret’s theses and DVDs (from 1987-88) in which Frankie dances with Margaret. Hopefully the history of the Revival of the Interest in the Lindy Hop will be reconsidered, and these facts are noted before the Frankie100 panels, because we do not want to repeat old mistakes.
This is the updated version which is based on Harri Heinila’s article in 2009.