Skip to main content

With Gratitude for Norma Miller: A Giving Spirit NEVER to be forgotten







This past Sunday on CBS (CBS Sunday Morning Show) https://www.cbsnews.com/news/hail-and-farewell-to-those-we-lost-in-2019/   they mentioned our dear friend and supporter. Yes they again honorably mentioned Norma Miller as one of our beloved ones that we - and the whole world - lost this last year.

As 2020 is about to begin we share some thoughts about the fantastic Queen of Swing.  Seeing her relaxed and chilling, shooting the breeze in her home surroundings.... talking excitedly and lovingly about her new home of Italy and her friends there.... creating and writing new songs... new projects and ideas... looking forward to more and more...



Norma with some of her Harlem show-biz friends, representing the Cotton Club, Tap, Lindy Hop and more...



Norma performing in Italy during 2019


However of the times we were visiting Norma in her personal sanctuary, one of the most precious and memorable was with Sugar Sullivan.  





Both busy Queen Bees and Globetrotters, they realized they hadn't seen each other in over a year due to full schedules.  So on the 91st anniversary of the famed  historic Savoy Ballroom opening a little overdue reunion took place in Fort Myers. It was great to hear these two Lindy Hop Ladies reminisce of the Harlem they grew up in, who they knew...and talk excitedly of travels and such.  Loads of questions and life lessons shared...

A celebratory cake was in order for the occasion, and Norma's favorite of fried chicken (fixed lovingly by the hands of another Harvest Moon Ball winner Sherry Sullivan) sealed the deal :>)

YES think about it: Had Sherry been there that would have been represented 3 of the 4 major generations of Harlem Lindy Hop culture... and Harvest Moon Ball history represented too!





___________________






The Harlem Swing Dance Society (THSDS) has had the privilege of meeting with the two superb gentleman who helped Norma put her children's book together and gave it life.  

Artist and Illustrator Martin French had the honor of doing her vivid illustrations, and Alan Govenar had the pleasure of giving her story excitement in print.  Thanks to their efforts THSDS has been able to bring portions of this to life to Harlem Children and Seniors in the area thru performances, Q & A Sessions and video clips.  Efforts have been made for Norma's books to be in museum, gift and tourist shops in the Harlem area so more can know about her incredible will and tenacity.

With that we leave you with the words of Alan Govenar, letting us know what we can heartily learn and remember from Norma's phenomenal life journey...
Picture credit - Alan Govenar



NOTE - There was an effort to get Norma Miller a Kennedy Award honor so many more could see her!  While this sadly wasn't realized, the bio with the petition tells you so much about the Queen - worth a look  :>)

https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/norma-miller-kennedy-center-honoree-2017



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

93rd Anniversary! Harlem's Savoy Balloom's Legacy and Impact

The legendary Savoy Ballroom was a large ballroom for music and public dancing located at 596 Lenox Avenue, between 140th and 141st Streets in  Harlem . The Savoy was the one ballroom in the area to be called the "World's Finest Ballroom".  The ballroom was 10,000 square feet in size, was on the second floor and a block long. It could hold up to 4,000 people. The interior was painted pink and the walls were mirrored. Colored lights danced on the sprung layered wood floor. It contained a spacious lobby framing a huge, cut-glass chandelier and marble staircase. 






It was in operation from March 12, 1926 to July 10, 1958, and owned by white entrepreneur Jay Faggen with Jewish businessman Moe Gale (or gangster, as our dear old friend who worked there Charles Dorkins told us). It was managed by African-American business man and civic leader Charles Buchanan (who was also secretary and treasurer).

The ballroom was modeled after Faggen's downtown venue, Roseland Ballroom (a mos…

Black History Month 2019: Harlem's Famed Lindy Hop Dance History and its History Makers

The last day of the month: However for Harlem's rich history Black History Month  is really year round and quite bountiful.  When it comes to Harlem's signature cultural dance of the Lindy Hop the history and its History Makers there are many and their contributions priceless.

Within the last 9 months or so in NYC there have been efforts to talk of this rich history in both the downtown area and uptown in Harlem.  As a quick overview and musing we'll examine a few of these a bit to show the importance of getting history straight - or accurate.

June 2018



Just a few days before NYC's Mid Summer Night Swing event opened - our BEST outdoor dance party! - there was a free panel discussion on "The History of Lindy Hop".  It was moderated by Zita Allen, a Dance critic, author, and professor...and it was to trace the evolution of Lindy hop from its Harlem Renaissance roots to its modern-day revival.  Here is a video of what happened here https://www.facebook.com/LCSwin…

Class Act: Take note of our lead Dance Instructor in Harlem - Rafal!

"He's the teacher?!   I don't want that White Boy teaching me anything!"

"He's not teaching me my dance!"
And with that they - some African Americans/ Black people -  do an about face and march out of the dance classroom...
________________


Harlem and Harlemites (aw heck Black folks!) can be a challenge - and that race card goes both ways a whole lot.  With that bad word "gentrification" and the bullying tactics in the area it can have some of the locals thinking EVERYTHING is being taken/stolen away from them.  So when some folks  - Black and White - see The Harlem Swing Dance Society's main teacher Rafal Pustelny he definitely generates all kinds of reactions. 
SSSSSSSSSssssshhhhh.... Most times he is unaware of it ....  ;>)


Oh but what they miss out on! Rafal Pustelny has built up quite a resume from the days we met him sometime back when he proudly spoke of "Boogie Woogie" influences. That love took him to Harlem's famed L…