MLX is the original groover of Australian swing dance events. This year in honour of Norma Miller’s 100th Birthday, we’re celebrating the incredible original groovers of jazz dance, who heard the music and created these amazing dances.

Join us for four nights of awesome parties and live music, and get inspired as we shine a spotlight on the incredible jazz groovers who shaped our amazing dances. All the details below!

Thursday Evening – Al and Leon

Albert “Al” Minns and Leon James were Savoy Ballroom dancers in Harlem, New York, and members of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers in the 1930s. You can see these Harvest Moon Ball champions appearing in many of the most famous films of original swing dancing, as well as in Mura Dehn’s The Spirit Moves documentary. 

What better way to get MLX started than by featuring the super-long legs, fancy hands, and dynamic movement of this duo? Bring your original groove, it’s time to get dancing! 

This event will feature a community performance of Al and Leon’s famous Shim Sham, for anyone who would like to participate.

Date: Thursday 21 November 2019
Location: Estonian House, 43 Melville Rd, Brunswick West VIC 3055 (map)
Time: 8pm until midnight
Cost: $25 or free with an MLX weekend pass
DJs: Trevor, Tyler
Dress: Motion Pictures of the 1930’s (Black and White)

Friday Evening – Frankie Manning

Frankie Manning dancing


For many dancers, if you ask them about the OG Dancers of Swing, Frankie Manning will be one of the first names that comes to mind. 

Frankie was a regular at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem when Lindy Hop was created, and was a leading member of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. Frankie also choreographed many of the troupes routines, including their most famous movie performance in Hellzapoppin’! 

He went on to have a strong influence on a new generation of swing dancers, coming out of retirement from dancing to teach from the 1980s until he died aged 99 in 2009. 

Time to keep the legacy going. A-one, a-two, a-you know what to do! 

We’d like to thank the City of Yarra for being the major sponsor of this evening.

Date: Friday 22 November 2019
Location: Fitzroy Town Hall, 201 Napier St., Fitzroy VIC 3065 (map)
Time: 8pm until midnight
Cost: $50 or free with an MLX weekend pass
Live Music: Kate Wadey Band
DJs: Alice
Dress: Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers inspired/vintage threads.

Friday Late Night – The Nicholas Brothers

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, the Nicholas Brothers, are arguably the most beloved dance team in the history of entertainment. They were known for astonishing their audiences by slipping into their series of spins, twists, flips, and tap dancing. They also starred in many Hollywood films and Broadway productions over the years, including their famous performance in the film ‘Stormy Weather’ in 1943. 

That’s the kind of energy and stamina we’re all bringing to the Friday late-night event of MLX, featuring the Nang Nang Nangs, who will be playing some hot and swinging tunes in the ballroom for your fancy feet!

Date: Friday 22 November 2019
Location: Forever Dance, 432 Church St, Richmond (map)
Time: Midnight until the wee hours
Cost: $25 or free with an MLX weekend pass
Live Music: The Nang Nang Nangs!
DJs: Julia, Sam, Shaz, Vanessa, Celia
Dress: Something that makes you want to dance dance dance!

Saturday Evening – Norma 100

On Saturday night we are throwing a birthday party for Norma Miller, the Queen of Swing, who would have turned 100 on December 2nd. 

Norma was the youngest of Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, joining the team at age 12 after beating three other couples from Whitey’s team in a competition in 1932. She placed in the first Harvest Moon in 1935, toured the United States and appeared in several movies, including Hellzapoppin’ and A Day at the Races.

Norma continued dancing after Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers broke up in 1942, also exploring other styles of dance, and well as singing and comedy. She led her own troupes, and was a producer and choreographer, including creating her trickeration routine. She continued to be active in the lindy scene, including regularly teaching at the Herrang Dance Camp until 2018. 

Let’s put on our birthday party best and celebrate Norma Miller with the amazing Oz Big Band.

Date: Saturday 23 November 2019
Location: Hawthorn Town Hall, 360 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn (map)
Time: 8pm until midnight
Cost: $50 or free with an MLX weekend pass
Live Music: The amazing Oz Big Band
DJs: Trevor
Dress: 100th birthday party best/modern swing dancing threads

Saturday Late Night – Josephine Baker

World renowned performer, World War II spy, and activist are few of the titles used to describe Josephine Baker. She is one of the most successful African American performers in French history, and was probably the closest thing the Jazz Age had to a mega-star.

Baker was a vaudeville dancer who began her career in St Louis, before moving to New York to perform on Broadway in 1921, aged 15. Baker was in the chorus in shows such as Shuffle Along and The Chocolate Dandies which included dances such as the Charleston. Her jaw-dropping performance, charleston, and erotic dancing including a costume of 16 bananas strung into a skirt, cemented her celebrity status.

Baker also used her fame and consequent ability to travel to gather military information throughout Europe and North Africa, which she passed on to the French resistance. Her work earned her the Croix de Guerre, the Rosette de la Résistance, and she was made a Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur by General Charles de Gaulle. While based in France for the rest of her life, Baker also got involved in the Civil Rights movement in the United States in the 1950s, working for the NAACP and refusing to play for segregated audiences.

Date: Saturday 23 November 2019
Location: Forever Dance, 432 Church St, Richmond (map)
Time: Midnight until we say so
Cost: $30 or free with an MLX weekend pass
Live Music: Kate Wadey Band
DJs: Sam, Julia, Celia, Naomi, Brodie
Dress: Dress for Protest! But more importantly, act for protest! Throughout MLX we will be selling old MLX t-shirts. All proceeds will go to the Frankie Manning Foundation, which supports our Original Groovers, lindy hoppers of diverse backgrounds and lindy hoppers experiencing financial difficulties.

Sunday Evening – Dawn Hampton – The Light Is On

See a documentary about the Unforgettable Hampton Family here.

Tonight we celebrate the unforgettable Dawn Hampton. A lifelong entertainer, she started performing with her twelve siblings at the age of three, and didn’t stop performing until just a few months before her passing in 2016. 

In the 1980s Dawn re-entered the swing and jazz scene that she had been part of as a child. A neighbor invited her to go swing dancing, where she met a fellow Savoy veteran, Frankie Manning, and became part of the revival of Lindy Hop. Dawn encouraged her students to feel the music, rather than counting it, saying “The only count I know, is Count Basie!”. 

So get out your sparkliest duds, this party isn’t over yet! Tired feet aren’t really a problem when the music is still swinging and the light is on!

Date: Sunday 24 November 2019
Location: Forever Dance, 432 Church St, Richmond (map)
Time: 8pm until midnight
Cost: $50 (includes the late night dance) or free with an MLX weekend pass
Live Music: Mat Jodrell Swingtet
DJs: Shaz, Vanessa
Dress: Something glittery

Sunday Late Night

Let’s ease into the end of the weekend with a comfy, good ol’ late night social dance. Don’t be fooled, music will still be playing at all tempos, so you can get your last fix of whatever gets your feet hopping on the dancefloor.

Date: Sunday 25 November 2018
Location: Forever Dance, 432 Church St, Richmond (map)
Time: Midnight until the wee hours
Cost: $25 or free with an MLX weekend pass
Live Music: Collard Greens and Gravy
DJs: Sam, Alice, Tyler, Brodie, Naomi
Dress: Something comfortable