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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Fortunato

Beantown’s Rhythm Ambassadors Fly to New Orleans


Brandon Barker, one of the choreographers of the Rhythm Ambassadors’ “Sit Down Strike” and a featured dancer.

As you know, the Frankie Manning Foundation provides Ambassador scholarships to a number of lindy hop camps. But one program stands out…

The Beantown Camp Ambassador Program, which started in 2011, has developed into something unique. Aurelie and Tony Tye of Hop to the Beat who run Beantown have gone to great lengths to keep inviting back Ambassadors from previous years. While the Frankie Manning Foundation funds new recruits to Beantown, Aurelie and Tony have enabled many to return year after year.

The results of this “same-time-next-year” arrangement have been terrific:

— A core group of mostly African-American lindy hoppers has developed a warm social connection that continues after camp and offsets the isolation some of them might feel in their home areas. They also share choreographic experimentation and develop ideas for the involvement of more people of color in lindy hop.

— Many other African-American dancers have been drawn to Beantown and have stayed deeply involved in lindy hop because of positive experiences there.

Rhythm Ambassadors

Future Stars: Cyle, Alexis, Jonas and Joshua at Beantown in 2013. They are all dancers in the Rhythm Ambassadors “Sit Down Strike”. Please DONATE to their Flight Fund.

This past summer, Frankie Ambassadors created a wonderful performance for the Beantown Bounce show. Below is the video of their routine, “Sit Down Strike.” The director of the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival (aka The Ultimate Lindy Hop Showdown) loved the video and invited the whole group to attend the camp Sept.28 – Oct.1 and perform their piece to the music of the Preservation Hall All-Stars. The group of nine performers has taken the name Rhythm Ambassadors.

From the left: Samuel Coleman, Shana Weaver, Steven Plummer and Josh McLean.

This performance, and the participation of this group of dancers in the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival will play a significant part in expanding the diversity and richness of today’s lindy hop scene, especially taking place in deep South city of great historical and cultural importance. 

Please DONATE to the Rhythm Ambassadors Flight Fund to cover their airfare to New Orleans

Please DONATE to the Rhythm Ambassadors Flight Fund to cover their airfare to New Orleans

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