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Rusty Frank is a Tap Dancer and Lindy Hopper, producer, choreographer, writer, and dance preservationist. She is the author of the critically acclaimed book TAP! The Greatest Tap Dance Stars and Their Stories 1900-1955, the producer and choreographer of the stage revues "Swingin' The Century - The Big Band Show" and "Jazz Tap." Rusty is the producer of the one-hour television special in production, "TAP! Tempo of America" (recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant).
As a result of her on-going dance preservation work, Rusty Frank is the recipient of "The Tap Dance Preservation Award" from New York's American Tap Dance Foundation and The Historic Preservation Award from The Art Deco Society of California.
Rusty has been a professional dancer since her college days, and has performed throughout the world and locally at such locales as Broadway's 42nd Street, The Hollywood Bowl, Disneyland, and the Derby.
Rusty is part of the Smithsonian Institute's Jazz Oral History project, a contributing author in the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the Oxford Encyclopedia of Dance, the Danish National Encyclopedia, Jazz: The First Century, and The American National Biography. Rusty has appeared in many dance documentaries, including the BBC's "Fascinating Rhythms - The Story of Tap," Warner Home Video's "Astaire-Rogers" Box Set documentary, and Bravo's "This Joint Is Jumpin'."
Since 1998, Rusty's "Lindy By The Sea" dance school (El Segundo, California) offers group and private classes in Swing Dance, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston.
Rusty began her dancing career at the tender age of six, when she saw her first Shirley Temple movie ("I wanna do that!"). She started with tap dancing, studying with many of the great tap masters, including her mentor, Louis DaPron, as well as Fayard Nicholas, Brenda Bufalino, Steve Condos, Gene Nelson, Miriam Nelson, LaVaughn Robinson, Bob Scheerer, Lou Wills, Jr., Leonard Reed, Dorothy Toy, Katherine Hopkins Nicholas, and Jon Zerby.
She has tap danced professionally over the years with The San Francisco Tap Troupe, Six Feet (Wayne Doba, Rodney Price), Pedal Extremities (Walter Freeman, Mark Mendonca, Michael Rainey), Tapology (Patti Meagher), The Rhythm Rascals (Walter Freeman), Mulligan and Whitmore "Tops in Taps" (Chester Whitmore), and The Rhythm Pals (Alfred Desio). In 1989, 1990, and 1991, Rusty produced, directed, and appeared in the sellout all-star tap revue "Jazz Tap"! featuring the Nicholas Brothers, Savion Glover, Jeni LeGon, Arthur Duncan, and Brenda Bufalino.
Rusty had featured roles in many musical theatre productions, including "42nd Street," "Babes In Arms," "Dames at Sea," and "Stepping Out."
In 1996, Rusty added another great American dance to her repertoire -- Lindy Hop, also known as Jitterbug or Swing Dance when she saw The Jiving Lindy Hoppers ("I wanna do that!"). She moved to the United Kingdom for two years and partnered with world-renowned English Lindy Hopper Simon Selmon, together making numerous television, movie, radio, festival, and special event appearances. The highlight for the team included a fifty-one city European tour as the specialty dance act for the big band stage show "In The Mood - A Tribute to Glenn Miller."
Rusty returned to the United States in 1998, making her home in Southern California. She teamed up with Peter Flahiff, in the act "SWING SHIFT" from 1998-2002. They taught extensively throughout Southern California, including every Wednesday at The Rhythm Club (since 2001), and were guest teachers at The Satin Ballroom, and the world- famous Derby, in Hollywood, California. Rusty & Peter performed on national television, in films, at corporate themed events and private functions, at Disneyland, and Knotts Berry Farm.
In 2000, Rusty, together with composer, arranger, band leader Bill Elliott, produced the stage musical revue "Swingin' The Century - The Big Band Show" featuring the Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra and Rusty's performance team "The Jitterbugs". The sell-out show was restaged in 2001. (For show info http://www.swingshow.com).
In 2003, Rusty welcomed her new "Rhythm Pals", Ron Campbell and Giovanni Quintero, to the Lindy By The Sea teaching team.
In the world of Lindy Hop, Rusty counts amongst her teachers and inspirations: Jean Veloz, Ray Phelps, Irene Thomas, Jewell McGowen, Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, Louise Thwaite, The Rhythm Hot Shots, Betty Wood, and Barbara Rice and Sam Militello.
In 2003, Rusty teamed up with tap dancer Gregory Gast, and together they have performed at the Derby, the Los Angeles Jazz Sweet and Hot Festival, and at Rusty's own Rhythm Club. They have perfomed with the legendary swing artists Banu Gibson (New Orleans) and The Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra.
Rusty is a highly sought after teacher of Tap, Lindy Hop, Balboa, Collegiate Shag, and Charleston at international dance camps, including the Herrang Dance Camp, Sweden; Boogie Baren's, Germany; Perth Hullabaloo, Australia, Dance Explosion, Norway; Russia's first Lindy Hop Festival, London Lindy Hop Festival, England; Mainz Dance Camp, Germany; International Tap Dance Camp, Finland; Tappin', in Scotland & Norway, and Belgium; and nationally at Swing Camp Catalina, California; Harvest Moon Swing Out, California; Flying Home; Washington, DC; Detroit Tap Festival; the St. Louis Tap Festival; and Tap City, New York.
Rusty has worked with many of the new swing bands, including Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, The Bill Elliott Swing Orchestra, The Jive Aces, The Esquires Orchestra, The Jonathan Stout Orchestra, Mora's Modern Rhythmists, The Campus Five, The Johnny Crawford Orchestra, Jumpin' Joz, to name a few.
Her choreography credits include productions on stage, film, and niteclubs. She choreographed swing dance sequences for the Fox television show "Quintuplets"'s episode "Swing Swing Swing."
Her associated choreographies to "Jeep Jockey Jump" and "Shout and Feel It"* have entered into the staples of swing dancer routines throughout the world along with the Shim Sham, The Lindy Chorus, and The California Routine.
Rusty is on the Board of Directors for The Profesional Dance Society (PDS) and a retired Board member of the Academy of Dance on Film.
Rusty owns and operates On Tap! through which she promotes dance productions, offers special dance workshops, presents historical programs, and markets dance supplies. Rusty is the creator and producer of the "Tapping With The Masters" instructional tap dance DVD series, including "Leonard Reed's Shim Sham Shimmy" and "Eddie Brown's B.S. Chorus." She also produced a line of instructional swing dance Lindy Hop DVDs, including "Rusty & Peter - Lindy Hop Levels 1, 2, & 3", and "The Track Series" (with Ron Campbell).
"Steppin' Out -- Dancers Breaking Down The Color Line" is an educational program Frank created in 2007. This dynamic program brings to life the important force for change that dancers from the 1910's-1940's brought about in breaking down the color barrier in the United States. The program features exciting historic dance clips, live dance performances of Tap Dance & Lindy Hop, and student participation.
For more information on Rusty and her programs, visit her website at www.RustyFrank.com.
ADDITIONAL TAP material:
Tap Dance Made Easy, Eli Newsom, 2 Vols & CD.
Swing Fever, Beginning Tap
Zig Zag Routine, All levels
Play Piano Play with Miriam Nelson & Rusty Frank.
Music Theory for Tap Dancers
Coles & Atkins Slow Soft Shoe, taught by Sam Weber.
Stan Kahn's Tap Dance Technique, taught by Sam Weber.
Legends of Swing Taught by Steve Zee with Jean Veloz
TAP! The Book:
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