Queen of Swing Norma Miller returns to St. Paul for It Don't Mean a Thing . . . If It Ain't Got That Swing, a weekend of swing, jazz and tap celebrating the history, music and dance from the Harlem Renaissance. Queen of Swing Norma Miller returns to St. Paul for It Don't Mean a Thing . . . If It Ain't Got That Swing, a weekend of swing, jazz and tap celebrating the history, music and dance from the Harlem Renaissance. Norma Miller will share stories of her years on the road with the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Count Basie and Sammy Davis, Jr.
Norma Miller is an author, choreographer, dancer, comedian and actor whose career spans 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. Honored with a National Heritage Foundation Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her role in creating and continuing to preserve "the acrobatic style swing dance, known as the Lindy Hop," Ms. Miller is an inspiration to all who know her. Featured in Ken Burns' PBS documentary Jazz, Ms. Miller is also the subject of Al Governor's recent children's book, Stompin' at the Savoy.
Highlights of It Don't Mean a Thing include the St. Paul and Minneapolis premiers of the documentary Queen of Swing. The ninety-minute documentary will be shown at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 1 at the Tapestry Folkdance Center, 3748 Minnehaha Avenue South, Mpls. A soul food sampler ($10) will be served after the movie and TC Swing's First Saturday Swing Dance featuring the Swing Beat Big Band follows at 7:30 p.m. (also $10 per person). On September 7 at 7:00 p.m., the film will be shown at the Virginia Street Swedenborgian Church, 170 Virginia St., St. Paul. Suggested donation: $10.
Narrated by Bill Cobbs, Queen of Swing takes an inside look at Norma Miller's influence in the globalization of American jazz, plus Miller and her fellow artists' role in racial integration. Produced by Florida filmmaker John Biffar, Queen of Swing features interviews with Bill Cosby and footage of Ms. Miller dancing in the films Hellzapoppin' and A Day at the Races.
On Saturday, September 8, from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m., Collins Productions hosts an Urban Family Garden Party in honor of Norma Miller at 965 Selby Ave., St. Paul. The party features live entertainment, soul food, desserts, children's play area and silent auction. Open to the public, suggested donation $10 adults, $5 seniors and children under 5.
Ms. Miller will also make appearances at TC Swing's Thursday Swing Dance at Tapestry Folk Center on September 6 and at 7:30 p.m. at the Pazaz 2nd Sunday Swing Dance at the Four Season's Dance Studio, 1637 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis on September 9.
A portion of the proceeds from each event will benefit Collins Productions, a 501 (c) 3 which teaches underserved children and others in the community about the history of swing and jazz dance and music and the significant role they played in American History.