Norma Miller, “The Queen of Swing”

The Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp offers the distinct and exceptional honor of experiencing our Life-long Artist-in-Resident, the “Queen of Swing”, Norma Miller. A living legend, she is the last surviving member of the professional swing dance group, Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers. We are graced by her energy and lifted by her laughter while she imparts swing dance techniques and its role in jazz culture. Along with her instruction and guidance in swing dance, she provides an abundance of color sharing her rich history, remarkable insights and love of swing dance with our Jazz Camp family. Every summer we eagerly anticipate her arrival.

Norma Miller is an author, choreographer, dancer, comedian and actor whose career spans over eight decades. She performed with Ethel Waters from 1937 to 1940. Ms. Miller appeared in numerous movies including A Day at the Races (1937), Sparkle (1976) and Malcolm X (1992) and has choreographed dance scenes in Spike Lee’s, Malcolm X and Debbie Allen’s, Stompin’ at the Savoy. She further expanded her portfolio as an entertainer by working with comedian Redd Foxx in 1963. Ms. Miller also appeared on his 1970’s TV sitcom, Sanford and Son, as Grady’s girlfriend, contributing as both a stand-up comic and choreographer.

The biographic, Swingin’ at the Savoy: A Memoir of a Jazz Dancer, documents her life and the swing dance era. Ms. Miller’s recollections on Ken Burns’ Jazz documentary series for PBS provide a first-hand account of the Harlem music and dance scene. At 97 this year, “The Queen of Swing” continues to travel internationally to teach and lecture. The National Endowment for the Arts awarded Norma Miller a “National Heritage Fellowship” in 2003 for creating and perpetuating “the acrobatic style swing dance, known as the Lindy Hop”.

Read further and listen as she shares her incredible life story.