Bob Crease Shares Profiles of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers

The Frankie Manning Foundation is delighted to make these lively and informative articles accessible to dancers everywhere. We’ll be publishing one profile a week throughout #FrankieMonth 2018, and will continue until they are all uploaded. Enjoy!

Treasure Trove!

Bob Crease Shares Profiles of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers

Robert P. Crease, swing dance researcher, university professor, and prolific writer has played a huge role in the Lindy hop revival in New York and beyond since its beginnings in the early 1980s.

Bob was a founding board member of the New York Swing Dance Society and original performer with the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers. He was also one of the first swing dance researchers out there, along with Ernie Smith, Lance Benishek, and the late Terry Monaghan, all of whom helped to inspire my own interest in swing dance history, which emerged soon after I started Lindy hopping in 1984. As my own investigation progressed, the fine work of Jacqui Malone, Judy Pritchett, Lennart Westerlund, and Peter Loggins also proved tremendously valuable.

Commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution as part of their Jazz Oral History Project, Bob conducted an extensive interview with Frankie Manning in 1992. Recorded on July 22-23, this was the first in-depth, chronological look at the dancer’s life.

In “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers,” Crease had the foresight to chronicle the lives of fifteen Savoy Ballroom dancers, all of whom have since passed away except for Norma Miller. Based on personal interviews with each subject, the series appeared between 1986-91 in Footnotes, the newsletter originated by Editor Gabby Winkel as a communication/educational tool of the New York Swing Dance Society.

The profiles include: Pal Andrews, Eunice Callen, Wilda Crawford, Mildred Cruse, Elnora Dyson, Sandra Gibson, Willie Jones, Al Leagins, George Lloyd, John Lucchese, Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Billy Ricker, Harry Rowe, and Naomi Waller Gay.

Crease enjoys a successful career as Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Stony Brook University in Long Island, NY.  http://www.robertpcrease.com. He has written, translated, edited, or contributed to over a dozen books on science, history, and dance. His articles and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsday, and elsewhere. The following will be of special interest to jazz and social dance researchers:

 

The Atlantic Monthly

“Dance: Swing Story” (February 1986, pp. 77-82)

“Dance: The Return of the Shag” (September 1988, pp. 86-88)

“Dance: In Praise of the Polka” (August 1989, pp. 78-83)

 

In American National Biography. Oxford University Press, 1999.

Entries on African American jazz dancers:

“Leon James & Albert Minns”

“Pete Nugent”

“Eddie Rector”

“Earl ‘Snake Hips’ Tucker”

 

Books

“Jazz and Dance.” In The Cambridge Companion to Jazz, ed. Mervyn Cook and David Horn. Cambridge University Press, 2002, pp. 69-80.

“Jazz and Dance.” In The Oxford Companion to Jazz, ed. Bill Kirchner. Oxford University Press, 2000, 696-705.

“Divine Frivolity: Hollywood Representations of the Lindy Hop, 1937-1942.” In Representing Jazz, ed. Krin Gabbard. Duke University Press, 1995, pp. 207-228.

 

Bob’s wife Stephanie Stein Crease, is also an avid swing dancer—that’s how they met—and an accomplished author with a focus on jazz.  She wrote Gil Evans: Out of the Cool; Music Lessons: Guide Your Child to Play a Musical Instrument (and Enjoy It!); and a children’s book, Duke Ellington: His Life in Jazz, with 21 Activities.

The impetus for posting these articles came about recently. I had several inquiries for information about the many dancers who contributed to Lindy hop history, more than is contained in the brief “Biographical Sketches of Lindy Hoppers” section in the appendix of Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop. The requests came from people working on various projects, including Karen Campos McCormack (a Spanish-Irish swing dancer and jazz dance historian), Josephine Langbehn (a Nebraskan swing dancer and fine artist), and Barbara Jones (founder of The Harlem Swing Dance Society and a Lindy hop/swing dance activist). When I asked Bob if it would be okay to scan and share his articles, not only did he say yes, but he generously offered to let them be posted online. Gabby Winkel heartily endorsed this.

Along with my own interviews with Frankie, Bob’s profiles and interview served as important resources for Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop. His passion for Lindy hop history and his high standards for scholarship helped kindle my wish to collaborate on the book with Frankie, and continue to inspire me today.

The Frankie Manning Foundation is delighted to make these lively and informative accounts accessible to dancers everywhere. We’ll be publishing one profile a week throughout Frankie Month 2018, and will continue until they are all uploaded.

We know the international swing dance community will enjoy the fruits of Bob Crease’s fortuitous and superb research. We present these articles to acknowledge the lesser-known but very significant players in Lindy history, to motivate our community to find ways to honor them, and to encourage research into the history of the dance we all love so much.

Thank you Bob Crease! And kudos to all who are dedicated to bringing forth and sharing the glorious history of swing dancing.

Cynthia Millman
Co-author with Frankie Manning, Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop
Temple University Press, 2007

Click here to browse the profiles as they’re released!


Please note: For all you academics, since some of the scanned pages don’t include bibliographic information, I’ve included a formal citation for each article in the list below. (Crease’s name and page numbers are presented as they appear in Footnotes.)

For everyone, please do credit Bob Crease and all content creators if you quote, post, or reproduce their work. It doesn’t have to be in the formal style below, but giving credit in some way spreads the word, builds a network of resources, and is the right thing to do.

Gotta give credit to www.EasyBib.com, the online citation generator I used to create these entries. Made it a breeze. 

Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Norma Miller.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 1, no. 2, 1986.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: George Lloyd.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 1, no. 3, 1986.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Al Leagins.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 1, no. 4, 1986.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Frankie Manning.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 2, no. 1, 1987.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Sandra Gibson.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 2, no. 2, 1987.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Billy Ricker.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 2, no. 3, 1987.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Mildred Cruse.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 3, no. 1, 1988.
Crease, Robert. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: John Lucchese.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 3, no. 2, 1988.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Wilda Crawford.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 3, no. 3, 1988.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Elnora Dyson.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 4, no. 1, 1989.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Harry Rowe.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 4, no. 2, 1989, pp. 1–2.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Eunice Callen.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 4, no. 3, 1989, pp. 1–2.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Willie Jones.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 5, no. 1, 1990.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Pal Andrews.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 6, no. 1, 1991.
Crease, Robert P. “Profiles of Original Lindy Hoppers: Naomi Waller Gay.” The New York Swing Dance Society: Footnotes, vol. 6, no. 2, 1991, pp. 3–4.

 

14 thoughts on “Bob Crease Shares Profiles of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers

    1. Based on “Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop,” Tiny Bunch was a wonderful dancer and character. I especially love the story Frankie told on page 153 that features Tiny Bunch. Bob Crease interviewed all of the Lindy hoppers he could find, so I assume Tiny Bunch had lost touch with all of the other dancers or perhaps passed away. I hope you’ll enjoy the other wonderful interviews that Bob documented.

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