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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Fortunato

Frankie, our teacher

I believe the music told Frankie what to teach in class. Frankie had often a song in mind that inspired him as he figured the material out, and in the corner of the room, right before class started, he shared it with me or one of the other followers. We had the privilege to assist him in class at Herräng Dance Camp Sweden and elsewhere, from 1989 all the way up to 2007, which was the last year Frankie came to Herräng. I remember being nervous in the beginning, and on my toes, what if I didn’t pick up the material quick enough and everyone had to stand around and wait for me before we could start class? But one thing was for sure, Frankie wouldn’t let me mess up, he would make sure I got it all, so that I also could help the students, the mission he was so passionate about.

Partnering the students up was an opportunity for Frankie to connect with the class, see everyone, and crack a few jokes. It was always a big procedure. He had the followers line up on one side facing the leaders. Everyone walked down the line (isle) together as couples and on the far side Frankie pronounce them husband and wife, which always made people laugh and relax.

During the early to mid 1990s Frankie especially taught pretty long midtempo routines. Often he incorporated lifts or slides between the legs. One jig walk – back step – down, and he supported me in my jump, when he shifted the grip I knew it was Frankies turn to jump. He being the choreographer, I guess he didn’t want to miss out on the fun! I’m smiling to myself, thinking of all those people who wish to do the lindy but never gathered enough courage to even start, blaming age. Seeing Frankie in action was such a good antidote to that!

Many things comes to mind when I think of Frankie… like the importance he put on the partnership between 1.You 2.Your Partner and 3.The Music. He told us to “just swing to the music” and fully enjoy those short three minutes we share in the dance, something that he himself fully embodied. His presence and playfulness helped me to relax and not take myself and my dancing so serious.

You will always inspire me, on and off the dance floor.

With deep gratitude,

Ewa “W”

ewa “W” burak is a Lindy Hop dancer, instructor and former member of The Rhythm Hot Shots

Herrang Photos Dean Wierman

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