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Swingin' at the Savoy: The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer Paperback – 26 Apr 2001
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"A refreshing look at the history of swing dancing is Swingin' at the Savoy.... Miller has not only created an entertaining history of swing, but more importantly, gives the reader a sense of the personalities of people and places most have only heard of. The book is unique as a humorous autobiography, full of youthful antics and charm. Delightful anecdotes and photos of big bands give us a view of swing music and its popularity in a real world aspect different than most music historians today." -Lance Benishek, Dancing USA "This is an important book, bringing some much-overdue attention to the swing dancers who along with the musicians defined the era." -Robert Tate, Jazz Now
—Robert Tate, Jazz Now
"A refreshing look at the history of swing dancing is Swingin' at the Savoy.... Miller has not only created an entertaining history of swing, but more importantly, gives the reader a sense of the personalities of people and places most have only heard of. The book is unique as a humorous autobiography, full of youthful antics and charm. Delightful anecdotes and photos of big bands give us a view of swing music and its popularity in a real world aspect different than most music historians today."
—Lance Benishek, Dancing USA
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the first was, and i,s the another book, wrote by another great lindy and swing american dancer: none unless Frankie Manning "Ambassador of lindy hop".
2 book full of great picture finds and photos, full of anecdotes with humor, surprises, humility and simplicity.
I highty reccommend both...even for improve english!!
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Swinging at the Savoy traces the life of Harlemite Norma Miller, who came of age just at the perfect time to invest her entire future in a faddish dance despite protests from her disapproving mother.
Of course, Norma beat the odds and made a decent living as a performer, but this is not what the book is about. The real draw of this book is the chance to glean musical and dance history straight from the horses mouth. Indeed, Norma discusses the bands, the clientele, the lifestyle, the celebrities she met, and racial issues, but more often than not the bubbly Norma gets caught up in the warmth of her very dear memories.
Swinging at the Savoy follows Norma through innumerable dance
performances, which were far from dull thanks to infectious Norma's joy and enthusiasm for dance. However, I would have preferred that her performances had been given a bit less weight and more had been included a few more anecdotes on Duke Ellington and Chick Webb, more discussion on issues such as the development of the music and dance, and how interracial dancing was possible in the dark ages of the 1930s.
Of course, the book is subtitled The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer and so I cannot really fault the book for putting the events of Norma's life at the center. Furthermore, the book is prefaced with an excellent essay by jazz expert Ernie Smith that provides a solid historical perspective on the music and dance of Swing.
Swinging at the Savoy is a breeze to read and includes a good number of photographs that help bring the book to life. I recommend this book to anyone interested in African-American culture, jazz, dance, or U.S. history.
If the spunk she has now is any indication of what she was like at 15, though, it's no surprise she helped invent a whole new dance form.
This down-to-earth personal memoir by an effervescent woman whose first and last love is the excitement of swing is an invigorating read for almost anyone.
It might make you want to drop everything and go out and dance . . .or it might just give you a better understanding of the history of Harlem and the extraordinary people who helped keep it on the map all these years with their artistic spirits and rich energy.
I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in swing dancing, its history, and those who help create
this amazing thing called swing!