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Norma Miller (1919–2019), the “Queen of Swing”

by Kirk Fox

Dancer helped popularize the Lindy Hop.

Norma Miller was a dancer, singer, and actress known as the “Queen of Swing.” As a member of the Lindy Hoppers, she popularized swing dancing in the 1930s and 40s. She grew up in Harlem near the legendary Savoy Ballroom, watching the dancers. She was a teenager when she was picked to be one of the Lindy Hoppers, an all-black professional swing dancing group that toured all over the world. Miller sang, danced, acted, and performed comedy at various nightclubs. Good friends with Redd Foxx, she appeared on “Sanford and Son.” Miller remained active, recently performing with an Italian swing band.

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Died: Sunday, May 5, 2019 (Who else died on May 5?)

Details of death: Died at the age of 99 from heart failure at her home in Fort Myers, Florida.

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On her dancing days with the Lindy Hoppers: “You’d bust your backside. It’s hard dancing. We had all kinds of fractures. I’m just healing now, and it’s 70 years later.” —Miller told the Fort Myers News-Press in 2005

What they said about her: “She’d hoped to make it to 100, but it just wasn’t mean to be. She was still active up to the very last minute.” —Manager Johnl Biffar

“God speed Norma Miller. I interviewed her for my blog a couple of years ago. About swing dancing she said: ‘It’s the greatest means of people communicating. There’s nothing better than swing dancing because everybody can do it.’” —Raquel Stecher on Twitter

“Jazz at Lincoln Center mourns the passing of the “Queen of Swing” Norma Miller. #NormaMiller was one of the greatest dancers in jazz history, a pioneer of the Lindy Hop style, and a tireless advocate for jazz and dance.” —Jazz at Lincoln Center on Twitter

Full obituary: Fort Myers News-Press

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