Special Guests

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Norma Miller

We are happy to announce that the one, the only NORMA MILLER we be in attendance with us at ILHC on her actual 100th birthday, Monday December 2nd, 2019! Come be with Norma to celebrate! Known to many as the Queen of Swing, Norma Miller is an author, choreographer, dancer, comedian and actor whose career spans over seven decades. Discovered at the age of twelve by the Savoy Ballroom's legendary dancer Twist Mouth George, Ms. Miller has been in show business ever since. Norma Miller was born in Harlem, New York, in 1919 to mother Alma and father Norman, a soldier, both from Bridgetown, Barbados. Norma was named after her father, who died from pneumonia a month before her birth. She had an older sister, Dot. Miller took dance lessons from a young age. When the Great Depression began in 1929, Miller and her family moved to a new apartment near the Savoy Ballroom.

On Easter Sunday in 1932, when Miller was twelve years old, she was dancing outside the Savoy and approached by Twist Mouth George, "the greatest dancer at the Savoy," as Miller put it. Twist Mouth 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, Sonny Ashby, and they won the contest. Winning gave Miller recognition and prompted Herbert "Whitey" White, the dance master at the Savoy, to ask her to join his group, Whitey's Lindy Hoppers. She was hired in 1934 at age 15, the youngest member of the group. She was a member when the troupe won a contest called The Harvest Moon Ball in 1935, and later joined them for a 7-month European tour.

Miller left the Lindy Hoppers in 1942 and began working as a producer and attending dance school. She took classes based in the techniques of Martha GrahamHanya HolmDoris Humphrey and Charles Weidman. She toured Canada and the United States, lived in Los Angeles for a time, and returned to New York in 1946.

From 1952 to 1968, Miller directed and toured with the Norma Miller Dancers and Norma Miller and Her Jazzmen, both of which included Frankie Manning's son Charles "Chazz" Young as well as her long-time partner Billy Ricker. In 1954, her group toured nationally with the Count Basie show. Norma 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.

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Ramiro Gonzalez

Ramiro began swing dancing when he was 15, teaching at an Arthur Murray franchise for sixteen years. In 1986, he became hooked on classic West Coast Swing.

Along with his reputation for great footwork, Ramiro is known for being an incredible follower. Ramiro competed primarily in Champion Jack & Jill and Strictly Swingcompetitions for over 13 years. He won the Strictly Swing at the US Open Swing Dance Championships in 1995 with Sylvia Sykes. Other first place finishes include Dallas DANCE, Boogie by the Bay, Capitol Swing, Chicago Classic, Texas Classic, American Swing Dance Championships and Grand Nationals Dance Championships.

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Mickey Davidson

Mickey Davidson’s performing experiences include affiliations with Dianne McIntyre’s “Sounds In Motion Dance Co.”, “Norma Miller’s Lindy Hoppers”, Frankie Manning, Charles “Cookie” Cook, “Savoy Swingers”, “Roots Of Brazil”, Cecil Taylor, Sun Ra, Jeanne Lee, Newman Baker, Frank Owens, Oliver Lake and the Makanda Project to name a few.

Ms Davidson has been affiliated with Lindy Hop since 1985 when she started rehearsing with Norma Miller and her Jazz Dancers. Mickey teaches special Lindy Hop and Lindy related workshops nationally and internationally. Ms Davidson frequently partnered and assisted Lindy Hop legend Frankie Manning in workshops, video (“Everybody’s Dancing”), TV (Swingin’ with Duke, PBS) and during live performances.

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Denise Minns Harris

Al Minns’ daughter, Denise Harris will be in attendance for the Al Minns exhibit (many items she has never seen before) and to discuss her father. Al Minns also had a very special and unique role among the original Lindy hoppers. He was the first of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers to teach the new generation of dancers who spearheaded the swing dance .