Sit-Down Strike for Rhythm Favorite 



Oct 5 2017

At the New Orleans Swing Dance Festival the all African-American dance troupe The Rhythm Ambassadors were presented along side an African-American iteration of the Preservation Hall All-Star band with African-American vocalist Taryn Newborne to deliver the message that the African-American Lindy Hoppers were going to be protest until their rhythm is better presented...i.e. that the Blackness that created the celebrated art forms of of Swing Jazz and Swing dance
were better represented.

"The inspiration for "Sit down Strike" came from the sensational jazz dance performances in Stormy Weather, the "Stops" performed by Sugar and George Sullivan, and the music by Lil Hardin Armstrong.

While at Beantown Lindy Hop Camp, we sat down over dinner to chat about what being a Frankie Manning Foundation Ambassador meant. Are we a cool kids club, or something else?

In that meeting we decided that we needed to be a support group and community for each other. It's not often that more than a few African American folks find each other at a social dance event centered around a black social dance, yet in the dance's contemporary community, the dance is danced primarily by white folks. This effort to create a space for our black bodies led to our first performance of the routine, and the formation of the Rhythm Ambassadors.

The Rhythm Ambassadors are a  group of African-American Jazz dancers and Lindy Hoppers from each geographical region of the US. We are African American dancers, dancing a African American performance art. Each member of the RA have been selected by the Frankie Manning Foundation to uphold Mr. Manning's dreams for Lindy Hop to be dance around the world, by more young people, and most importantly by more people of African Descent.

Our purpose is to steep ourselves in the performative traditions of our elders, and to share that with audiences, especially other African American/African people living in diaspora. Through this act of ambassadorship, we decide to show up and remind folks that we exist, we matter, and that these dances are important to our cultural heritage."

-Joshua McLean, Lindy Hopper
Artistic Director, Rhythm Ambassadors

Posted by LCB1980 on

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