After seeing his father, Frankie Manning, perform with Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in 1943, ten-year-old Chazz Young decided he too wanted to be a dancer. Young trained extensively at Harlem’s famed Mary Bruce Studio, then performed jazz, tap, and Lindy hop routines while touring internationally with the Norma Miller Dancers from the late 1940s until the mid 1960s. At this point he took a fulltime position as a Postal Police Officer for the U. S. Postal Service, but continued to perform professionally and teach dance to children and adults. Since the beginning of the swing dance revival in the mid 1980s, this hugely talented performer, choreographer, and teacher has been recognized as an invaluable resource and is once again traversing the globe to share his deep knowledge of authentic jazz dance. Young hoofed it in the film The Cotton Club, and swung out in Spike Lee’s Malcolm X. In 1994, he retired from the post office and moved to Las Vegas where he serves as Assistant Director of the Austin Dance Academy (relocated from New York), for which he has taught tap and Lindy hop since 1966.
In the Summer of 1998, Elliott Donnelley stumbled into Herrang, Sweden for what was supposed to be a four day stop on a three and a half week tour of Europe. Fate had other plans for him and he ended up spending three weeks and almost his entire vacation learning to dance the Lindy Hop. Although he didn’t fully grasp it at the time his life was forever changed.
Over the next several years, Elliott devoted almost every waking hour to learning to dance the Lindy Hop. He and his brother Owen became avid dancers in their hometown of San Francisco and attended every camp and workshop they could. In 1999, Elliott co-founded Loose Change, a San Francisco based dance company committed to fusing Lindy Hope with other styles of dance. In 2000 he began to compete and perform and in 2002 was invited to teach at the Herrang Dance Camp by Catrine Ljunggren, a founding member of the Camp and of the Swedish dance group the Rhythm Hot Shots. Elliott and Catrine have taught at Herrang every year since as well as at many other camps and festivals around the globe.
In 2001, Elliott joined Chris Lee and Jason Christodoulou to organize his first lindy event– the All Star Weekend in Sacramento, CA. Subsequently, Elliott has helped organize a number of other events including the Sacramento Swing Festival, The Brazil Swing Out Extravaganza, LHAIF, Frankie Manning’s 90th Birthday Cruise, The Count Basie Centennial, The 80th Anniversary of the Savoy Ballroom and Frankie Manning’s 95th Birthday Festival.
In addition to his role as a festival organizer Elliott has also produced or co-produced several live CD’s including Barbara Morrison Live at the 9:20 Special, Barbara Morrison, Jr. Mance, and Houston Person Live at the Dakota, and Nachito Herrera Live at the Dakota.
Outside of his passion for dance and music, Elliott is involved in many other non-profit and for-profit projects and activities that keep him constantly in motion around the globe.
Mandi Gould has been passionate about Lindy Hop since she first lay eyes on the dance in 1998. Assisting Frankie Manning with workshops in 2002, 2006 and 2008 proved to be a life-changing experience for Mandi. Following Frankie’s example, she is dedicated to spreading the spirit of Lindy Hop as a joyful, inclusive and welcoming dance. Mandi feels strongly that there is no such thing as two left feet, that it’s never too late to learn, and that Lindy Hop is a dance for real people from all walks of life. In addition to teaching Lindy Hop in Toronto and abroad, she was the Overall Event Organizer for Frankie 100 in New York City in May 2014. Lindy Hop is an integral part of who Mandi is and she is positive that carrying on Frankie Manning’s legacy will continue to be a part of her own life’s work.
Cynthia Millman performed with the Big Apple Lindy Hoppers under the artistic direction of Frankie Manning and studied, taught, and partnered with this dance master. Inspired by her love of the Lindy hop and by Manning’s rich history, she began writing articles on vernacular dance for Dance Magazine, The International Encyclopedia of Dance, and swing dance publications; lectured on swing dancing with Manning; and co-authored his autobiography, Frankie Manning: Ambassador of Lindy Hop (Temple University Press, 2007). She served on the Board of Directors of The New York Swing Dance Society, and has consulted on numerous programs and publications about swing dancing. Millman holds master’s degrees in both Dance/Dance Education and Library Science, and serves as Library Director at The Town School in New York City.
Tena Morales-Armstrong is a dedicated promoter and producer of several national dance events. She is currently co-producer of the International Lindy Hop Championships, Lindyfest, the Houston Jazz Dance Festival and International Swing Dance Championships. In the past she has also produced Atlanta’s Swing and Soul Weekend and the Frankie Manning 95th Birthday celebration. She has served as the Artistic Director of the Houston Hepcats and is also a National Lindy Hop Champion who has placed in the top three places in numerous Classic and Master divisions. She and her students won several 1st place titles in the American Lindy Hop Championship Pro-Am division. Tena Morales is an exciting choreographer and dancer, whose improvisations and innate musicality bring a unique “Old Skool Flava” to the Lindy Hop.
An avid social dancer since the mid-1980s, Judy Pritchett developed a strong interest in the history of the Savoy Ballroom and launched one of the first swing dance websites, The Archives of Early Lindy Hop, in 1995. A couple of years later she opened an online shop, the SavoyStyle Swing Dance Shop. She also worked in the mental health field for many years. Most of all, she had the good fortune to be Frankie Manning’s close companion for 21 years. Judy has produced a documentary Dancing the Big Apple 1937 which gives an in-depth analysis of the Big Apple dance craze and sheds light on Frankie Manning’s relationship to the Big Apple and its South Carolina roots. Judy also worked for 25 years in the mental health field, with a special interest in schizophrenia and homelessness.
Buddy Steves is a Founding Board Member, Chair, and CEO of Houston Swing Dance Society. He has led the organization continuously since 1997. It is the nation’s largest 501(c)(3) organization that promotes Lindy Hop and related dances of the Swing Era. He is a Board Member of Children at Risk and the Board President of University of Fondwa-USA. He is the Chair and CEO of Financial Casualty & Surety Insurance Company, the Vice Chair of Myron Steves, and the Practice Leader for Myron Steves Healthcare. Buddy lives and works in Houston, Texas with his wife, Rowena Young, an attorney specializing in criminal law. Michael, his oldest son, graduated from Wesleyan University in 2013 and works as a filmmaker in LA (www.clingerdigital.com). Joshua, his younger son, is a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy, Class of 2015, majoring in math and physics. Joshua is the captain of the USNA’s NCAA Division 1 gymnastics team.