Norma Miller

(born 2nd December 1919)


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Norma Miller is an American swing dancer known as “The Queen of Swing”. The daughter of parents from Bridgetown, Barbados, she was born and raised in Harlem, New York. Miller was first discovered as a gifted young Lindy Hopper by Herbert “Whitey” White when she was just 14 years old. Since she was too young to go into the Savoy Ballroom, she often danced outside on the sidewalk where the music could be heard quite well. The first time Whitey saw her she appeared out of nowhere on the dance floor and won a Savoy dance contest with Twistmouth George as her partner, she has been in show business ever since.After Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers disbanded in the early forties, she formed her own company in California, Norma Miller’s Dance Company and had her own show at the legendary Club Alabam in the Watts section of L.A. In the early fifties she, Billy Ricker and drummer Michael Silvers worked as the Del Rio Trio, until the night Sammy Davis Jr. saw the group and promptly hired away Mike Silvers to be his drummer. In the later fifties she formed Norma Millers Jazz Men,Since her time at the Savoy Ballroom, Miller has also worked on film and TV with Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, and Ella Fitzgerald. Miller has been featured performing in a number of movies, including some of the most viewed vintage movies by Lindy Hoppers and swing dancers worldwide: the Marx Brothers’ A Day at the Races (1937) and Hellzapoppin’ (1941); Spike Lee’s Malcolm X (1992); Stompin’ at the Savoy (1992), John Biffar’s Captiva (1995), along with documentaries such as the National Geographic’s Jitterbug (1991) and the Smithsonian Jazz series on NPR.Her latest documentary, Queen of Swing, narrated by Bill Cobbs, takes an inside look at Miller’s influence in the globalization of America’s jazz culture and her and her fellow artists’ role in racial integration. The documentary features interviews with Bill Cosby, Bill Cobbs, Frankie Manning, and Leonard Reed. Miller currently lives in Fort Myers, FL.As a comedienne, Norma worked in Las Vegas with Redd Foxx for over 10 years, including appearances in his TV show, Sanford and Son where she is remembered as the airline stewardess who offered “Coffee, tea or ME?”
Miller was honoured with a 2003 National Heritage Foundation Fellowship from the National Endowments of the Arts for her role in creating and continuing to preserve “the acrobatic style swing dance, known as the Lindy Hop”.

Whitney’s Lindy Hoppers Best Lindy Hop Harlem Congaroo Dancers 1937