Etoile Palace, demonstration of Lindy hop, Frankie Manning

22 septembre 1990
05m 40s
Ref. 00702


Summary :

On the set of "Etoile Palace", Frédéric Mitterrand welcomes the choreographer Frankie Manning, in the presence of the Dancer Cyd Charisse. After having performed a demonstration of lindy hop along with his partner, the dancer talks about the time he was at the Savoy in New York where he danced accompanied by leading jazz orchestras, Duke Ellington, Count Basie. He evokes the cheerful atmosphere and "the world of happy feet" despite the economic crisis at the time.

Media type :
Broadcast date :
22 septembre 1990
Source :


Christian Dubar


Frédéric Mitterrand
Bravo, well, yes, how could we, how could we honour American ballet without forgetting to honor Ken Manning, who is standing next to me, and I am extremely proud to have him standing so close to me. Because I discovered a few years ago what the lindy hop is. The dance which was performed in nightclubs, in cabarets in the 40s, and which was an absolutely wonderful thing where people used to fly in the air. Ken Manning is one of the leading specialists of lindy hop. Ken Manning is a man, who is 75 years old, we know, because it is written on the programmes; and he possesses extraordinary vitality, as he has shown to us this afternoon. Well, Ken Manning, could you tell us what the atmosphere at the Savoy Ballroom was like when you were a teacher and lindy hop dancer there?
Franckie Manning
Well, the atmosphere at the Savoy and the dance hall when I was there was really friendly, everyone was in a good mood, it was very warm, it was during the depression, you know. But when you walked into the Savoy, the depression was nowhere to be seen. You walked in, you heard the orchestras playing, you could hear people dancing the swing, people were enjoying themselves, having a good time. Everyone had a good time. Well, it helped us to forget the depression, it lifted our spirits, we felt good about ourselves and that’s how it was. So, it was a very, very happy time, the Savoy. Besides, they called it the world of happy feet, and it had been christened by Lana Turner, so of course, it was a happy place.
Frédéric Mitterrand
All the biggest names in jazz were there with you, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Dillespie, everyone needed your services. It must make you happy to have such an exclusive entourage?
Franckie Manning
Of course, of course, being with such well-known people, Duke Ellington, the King of swing, Benny Goodman and all the crowned heads of music, Satchmo, Louis Armstrong, of course, it was like being in heaven, with the nobility of music. So, it was a golden time, I was very happy, very honored to be with all those people there at that time. And I had lots of fun, I had the time of my life, which is very important.
Frédéric Mitterrand
So, Madam Cyd Charisse, I see you look at Ken Manning with a lot of affection. I can see it in your eyes and in your attitude. What does someone like Ken Manning mean for Cyd Charisse?
Cyd Charisse
He represents everything that’s good about dance. Bill Robinson began his life of dance, for me and I followed all of these dancers, their whole careers. There was an extraordinary group of tap dancers we saw in Lyon, they were really first-rate. And I believe that dance is also this world of warmth, and the French spectators love that and liked all these great dancers very much.
Frédéric Mitterrand
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