It’s no secret that Lindy Hop has become a worldwide phenomenon; no matter where you live, no matter how far you travel, you can find a place to dance. What’s more, each year brings new stories about the growth of Lindy Hop communities around the globe. This year, as Frankie Month came into full swing (pun intended), those of us here at the Frankie Manning Foundation had the privilege of witnessing some of this incredible growth first hand. As we sought out details about events that were being hosted in celebration of Frankie Month, we quickly noticed a trend. There were a lot of events coming out of Spain. Like, a lot of events. As in almost 30 events, all taking place in less than one month’s time, all happening in Catalonia, all in celebration of Frankie Month 2016. Hello, Spain.
We first caught wind of World Lindy Hop Day Catalonia when a flood of submissions came in for our [interactive map] of Frankie Month events. From dances, to lessons, to concerts, to a screening of a documentary about Frankie, Catalonia just couldn’t seem to get enough of Frankie Manning. Once Frankie Month ended and the dust of the month’s events had settled, we knew we had to learn more about everything that had taken place across the ocean, so we got in touch with Pep Espígol and Emi Garrote Pablo, two of the organizers, to find out more.
“It was last year. I was planning a small tribute to Frankie Manning together with the conductor of the Barcelona Jazz Orchestra. It happened at the Sala Apolo in 2013, and I thought it had to be done to let the beginner lindy hoppers know about Frankie,” said Emi when asked about what inspired this year’s events.
“We organized an open meeting for everybody who wanted to collaborate to make a bigger event. After a couple of open meetings, the Lindy Hop Day Catalunya Comission was born, with the help of BcnSwing to extend it to all the Catalan land. It was two weeks in which every single lindy scene could add its own tribute to Frankie, bigger or smaller, it didn’t matter. It was a big success, and this year we did it again. The idea was, again, to introduce Frankie Manning to all the dancers and to help them know his story.”
Emi also stated that her favorite out of all of the events was the screening of the documentary “Frankie in Herräng”. “The people who came discovered not just him as a dancer, but they could see him and listen to him as ourselves during the 10 years that we could enjoy him in Herräng. They learned how Frankie understood the dance and the music, and most of all, the passion that he felt for this dance.”
After the amount of excitement generated in their community this year, Pep and Emi see World Lindy Hop Day Catalonia coming back in full force next year, with or without their involvement. Their advice for anyone who wants to organize a similar group of events is to, “gather with those who share the same passion for this dance, Frankie, the Lindy Hop, and Swing. Join a team whose only goal is to work hard with no reward other than make people get a little more into this passion.”
For a recap of the events that took place during Frankie Month in Catalonia, check out this cool video: