I’m going to be completely honest: the week leading up to one of the biggest events in swing dance history, I was dreading Frankie 100. I would voice often to my roommate how much I wanted to just skip the whole weekend all together. Sometimes it’s easy to get overwhelmed with swing dance scene as a whole.
People disagree a lot on where they think the global scene is going, what people should focus on, what events should focus on. I’ve seen people yell at each other over the internet and in person. I get it. The people involved are passionate and the reason that they’re so vocal is because they care so much. I am one of those people that care so much. It can be difficult to step back and remember swing dance is what we walk away with as individuals and in return contribute back into the global scene.
And I can say with complete sincerity I am so glad I was able to experience Frankie 100 in person. While you can’t please everyone (one of the big life lessons that’s difficult to swallow even at the best of times), the spirit of the event will shine through even the harshest critic’s words. The Frankie 100 team was adamant about celebrating a man without whom–as it was said over and over again–we would not have a global community.
I never met Frankie Manning. I started dancing almost a full year after his death. I don’t remember when I first heard his name, but over time I learned more, I read his book, I watched the documentary, I listened to stories, and I was captivated by the man even after death. And this past weekend only fueled my admiration for him.
So many people said “Without Frankie, I would not know any of you.” And it made me look around the room and think about all the amazing people I have met because of a man I never met. One of my best friends in the entire world; a troupe that I am so honored and proud to have performed with, even if only for a short amount of time; amazing and talented individuals from all over the world.
I am so lucky and happy to be a part of such an amazing community. The team did a phenomenal job at celebrating a man who personified so much of the dance we all share. And I look forward to seeing where it takes me. Next stop: Baltimore!