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  • Writer's pictureOlivia Fortunato

The Rhythm Lounge


The Frankie Manning Foundation is inspired by the dedicated Lindy hop leaders around the world and asked them to share a little about their scene. We asked them to describe the current scene in their region, what it was like getting their meetup started, and what their thoughts successes and challenges to continuing and building the community. Carla Crowen from The Rhythm Lounge shared her experiences with us!


1. Can you describe the Lindy hop scene in Central Pennsylvania?


The Rhythm Lounge, formerly known as Lindy Central, focuses on bringing more social dancing opportunities to the Central Pennsylvania area. We create spaces where people can gather to learn, practice, and celebrate dance through a variety of activities such as weekly progressive classes, social dances, and special events. We work hard to welcome people to the dance community, but also work to introduce the dance community to different dance artists and musicians in order to share different perspectives. It has always been a value of ours to help newer teachers find their voice and find a supportive place to hone and shape their craft.


In addition to our regular, weekly classes, we also run monthly mid-day social dance parties on the last Sunday of the month and special workshop events. We feature live music events about several times a year and also work with various neighboring communities to help spotlight this dance at live music concerts and outdoor festivals. In May we host a tribute month to Frankie Manning culminating in a Frankie Manning Social Dance Party.


2. What was it like starting your organization?


Our organization relocated to Central Pennsylvania from the San Francisco Bay area over eight years ago. It was quite challenging to start Lindy Hop in Harrisburg; there were neighboring dance scenes at the time, but nothing in this city when we relocated here.


3. How has the Frankie Manning Foundation been pivotal to your development?


I always think about one thing that Frankie said in order to fuel some of our drive and motivation, "If more people danced, the world would be a better place." The Frankie Manning Foundation Scholarship program has directly influenced us over the years to offer scholarships so that we can bring more people in the community together to dance. We also host free events to help more people have more dancing in their lives.

Photos courtesy of Carla Crowen


3. What are the most effective means and what are the challenges of continuing and building the community?


We faced a lot of struggles during the pandemic such as losing both spaces that were used for classes and social dance parties. We hosted over 200 online events and classes for over two years during the pandemic including history talks, African dance, solo jazz, Lindy hop, fusion dance, tap, and also a Global dance fundraiser for Ukraine raising over $5000 for supplies. These online events showcased and welcomed instructors and participants from all over the world. We always offered an option of participating for free or at a discount if you were impacted during the pandemic. Our goal was to help keep people connected during this time and also to help keep artists working. It was amazing to meet so many people online during these two years.


Reopening since May of 2022, has been a process and we are in new venues working to get to know our new community and trying to be there for them in various ways. Our most effective ways of bringing more dance to more people these days would be offering classes that are earlier in the day so that parents and individuals who do not want to stay out late nor drive in the dark, can actually participate in more dancing. We also have student groups perform in the local PADanceSport Ballroom's student showcase events throughout the year. This is a fantastic opportunity to share what the community is doing across various dance genres here in Central Pennsylvania.


We also dance and offer mini-lessons at free live music events in the summer. Uniting the community through this shared experience feels very important and we are so appreciative of these moments to showcase the dance and bring all ages, backgrounds, and abilities together for creative movement.


4. Is there anything else you would like people to know?


Please come and get to know our community. Visit TheRhythmLounge.dance for information on how to dance with us. Teachers or DJs interested in sharing their art are welcome to contact us.


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