Julie Cohen's short film Never Stop Swinging, one of many intriguing works screening during the 6th Annual Jewish Film Festival, shows viewers the story of dancer/choreographer Frankie Manning, a Savoy Ballroom regular back in the 1930s. The legendary Harlem-area Savoy ran an entire New York City block. Plush, classy and pink, it boasted a marble staircase, mirrored walls and a 10,000-square-foot dance floor. The bouncers wore tuxedoes, and you could party until 3 a.m. In an age of segregation, it was the most famous of all integrated spaces, where blacks and whites danced together - or at least side by side.
One of the club's most memorable dancers, African American Frankie Manning (who later won a Tony Award for Best Choreography for 1989's Black 'n' Blue) got his start with the dance group Whitey's Lindy Hoppers, which popularized the Lindy Hop. Never Stop Swinging features rare clips of Manning's performances from the 1930s to 2009 and interviews with his contemporaries, including members of the Lindy Hoppers. The Jewish Film Festival screens a variety of films from March 9 to 21, at various locations. Director Julie Cohen will be in attendance at today's screening of Never Stop Swinging at 1 p.m. Jewish Community Center, 5601 South Braeswood. For a full schedule, call 713-729-3200 or visit www.jcchouston.org. $7 to $10.
Fri., March 12, 2010