Norma Miller

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Norma Miller
Norma Miller 05.jpg
Norma Miller (2009).
Born (1919-12-02) December 2, 1919 (age 95)
Harlem, New York, U.S.

Norma Miller (born December 2, 1919) is a Lindy Hop swing dancer known as the “Queen of Swing”.

Biography[edit]

Norma Miller was born in Harlem, New York, in 1919. When the Great Depression began in 1929, Miller and her family moved to a new apartment that faced the Savoy Ballroom. The Savoy was where Miller began her career as a professional swing dancer. One day when Miller was 12, she was dancing outside the Savoy and approached by Twist Mouth George, “the greatest dancer at the Savoy” as Miller put it.[1] Twist asked Miller to dance with him at the Savoy. Later that year, Miller entered the Savoy Lindy Hop Contest, which was held at the Apollo Theater. Miller entered with one of her high school friends. They won the contest.[2] Winning gave Miller recognition and prompted Herbert "Whitey" White to ask her to join his group, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. The group rose to prominence after winning a contest at the Harvest Moon Ball. Miller and the group performed on Broadway and in several motion pictures.

Miller has written several books, including Me & John Biffar: A Love Story, which chronicles her friendship with filmmaker John Biffar. Another work, Swing, Baby Swing! follows the evolution of swing dance in the 21st century. Swingin at the Savoy: A Memoir of a Jazz Dancer, Miller's autobiography, describes her early life and meetings with the well-known jazz musicians and swing dancers of that time, including Frankie Manning, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, and Count Basie.

Miller appeared in six films and four television series. Her most well-known film appearance is in the swing dancing scene in the film Hellzapoppin, featuring Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers.

In 2003, Miller was given an award from the National Endowment of the arts for creating and continuing to preserve “the acrobatic style swing dance, known as the Lindy Hop”.[3]

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Film Role
1937 A Day at the Races Black Singer
1941 Hellzapoppin' Dancer (Cook)
1976 Sparkle Doreen
1977 The Richard Pryor Special Bar Patron
1992 Malcolm X Roseland Dancer
1995 Captiva Island Clara

TV Show Appearances[edit]

Year Show Role
1973-1974 Sanford and Son Dolly/Roxie/Jackie
1976 Grady Go-go dancer
1977 Sanford Arms Dolly Wilson
1979 Vega$ Maid

Documentary Appearances[edit]

Year Documentary
1989 Call of the Jitterbug
1993 Mo'Funny: Black Comedy in America
1996 E! True Hollywood Story
1999 American Masters
2000 Jazz
2006 Queen of Swing
2012 The Savoy King: Chick Webb & the Music That Changed America
2013 Moms Mabley: I Got somethin' to Tell You

[4][5][6][7][8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Miller, Norma and Miller Jensen. Swingin’ at the Savoy: The Memoir of a Jazz Dancer. Philidelphia: Temple University Press. Print.
  2. ^ Miller, Norma. “Queen of Swing.” Wordpress. Web. 11 Nov. 2014
  3. ^ “NEA National Heritage Fellowships.” National Endowment for the Arts. National Endowment for the Arts. N.d. Web. 20 2014.
  4. ^ “Norma Miller.” IMDB. N.p. n.d. web. 11 Nov. 2014.
  5. ^ Queen of Swing. Dir. John Biffar. Perf. Norma Miller, Bill Cosby, BB King, Frankie Manning, and Leonard Reed. 2006. Film
  6. ^ Norma Miller – The Queen of Swing. Web. 11 Nov. 2014 < http://queenofswing.net/index.html>
  7. ^ Miller, Norma and Frankie Manning. Interview with Norma Miller and Frankie Manning. Jazz. 1997. Web 15 Nov. 2014
  8. ^ Call of the Jitterbug. Dir. Tana Ross, Jesper Sorensen, and Vibeke Winding. Perf. Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Dizzy Gillespie, Mama Lu Parks and Sugar Sullivan-Niles. New York, NY: Filmakers Library, 1989. Film

External links[edit]