All Traffic Jam! classes, events, and workshops cancelled through April.

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Our Mission for Traffic Jam!

Traffic Jam!’s mission is to promote the education, history, and culture of swing dance in Chicago by organizing events including but not limited to regularly occurring dances, classes, and weekend workshops.

Traffic Jam! is a non-profit organization and shall be operated exclusively for educational and charitable purposes within the meaning of Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, or the corresponding section of any future Federal tax code.

Get to know the originals

Frankie Manning

Frankie Manning

Frankie Manning was a dancer, choreographer, instructor and the most famous Lindy Hopper. Frankie learned Lindy Hop in Harlem and quickly became one of the best, placing at the Harvest Moon Ball, performing at the Cotton Club, and being featured in film. Frankie invented the first air step or aerial and served as the de facto choreographer for Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, a professional troupe composed of dancers from the Savoy Ballroom.

Frankie served in World War II and formed a small troupe after the war, the Congaroos, but the group disbanded in 1955 and Frankie went to work in the United States Postal Service.

In 1986, dancers in New York City and Sweden pulled Frankie out of retirement to teach Lindy Hop. With renewed interested in Lindy Hop, Frankie taught around the world and danced til 94, passing away one month short of his 95th birthday.

More about Frankie

Norma Miller

Norma Miller

Norma Miller, known today as the Queen of Swing, was a dancer from childhood. She once said, "Black girls didn't have many outlets. You had laundry. You had hairdresser. Or teacher. Now, I didn't qualify for none of those. I could dance, I just could just do it naturally."

When she was young, her family moved to an apartment overlooking the Savoy Ballroom, where from her fire escape she could hear the music of Chick Webb and Ella Fitzgerald and watch the dancers performing the early jazz dances of the time. She eventually made her way into that very ballroom that ultimately landed her a spot as the youngest member Whitey's Lindy Hoppers.

She continued dancing and performing all over the world for decades, and with her old friend Frankie Manning, she played a major role in the swing revival of the 1980s, teaching workshops until 2018 at the age of 98.

More about Norma

Savoy Ballroom

Savoy Ballroom

The Savoy Ballroom in NYC was the original home of the Lindy Hop. Located in the Harlem neighborhood, the Savoy Ballroom was frequented by many of the best original Lindy Hoppers, then dubbed the "Savoy Lindy Hoppers". The ballroom was strictly non-discriminatory, and the clientele of the ballroom leaned heavily African-American. Frankie Manning pointed out that visitors to the Savoy were judged not by the color of their skin, but by whether or not they could dance.

During the 1930s, the house band was led by Chick Webb, who there recorded the swing classic "Stompin' at the Savoy" with a later addition of the up-and-coming teenage vocalist Ella Fitzgerald.

Other Popular Lindy Hoppers of the Savoy

More about the Savoy Ballroom

All classes and dances cancelled through April

In light of the current situation, we've effectively cancelled all Traffic Jam! classes and events through April. We are hoping to continue our regular programming in May, but we will follow the recommendations of the doctors and scientists who are researching Covid-19 and will keep you updated here, on our website, and via our newsletter.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us.

If you would like to make a donation to help us support the artists and instructors who have lost work during these shutdowns, we welcome donations!

Make a Donation

Thank you again for all of your support and encouragement, it is not going unnoticed. We are so proud to be part of this community and we hope to see you out dancing again soon!

—The Traffic Jam! Team