Alive and Kickin’

I love the Fire TV Stick that I received for Christmas from Martha. I’ve almost mastered the entire sequence of button-pushing required to go from our satellite service to the program for which I’m looking. I’ll sometimes entertain myself by just seeing what’s available—I don’t even have to watch anything. (Yes, I am easily entertained.) Recently, I found a movie that not only entertained, it inspired; it moved me deeply.

Alive and Kickin’ (2016) is a documentary about the world-wide Lindy Hop community. Part of that community to which we are introduced includes a math professor at the Naval Academy, a Marine combat veteran, a transplant kidney surgeon, and a host of other folks who found a spiritual connection with each other. Frankie Manning, Norma Miller, and Jean Veloz are also interviewed. Those three are important “charter members” of the Lindy community. In fact, one could argue that Frankie Manning is the founder.

There isn’t one minute of instruction in Alive and Kickin’ although you get to see plenty of dancing. The film is most powerful when those who are interviewed speak of the dance’s power to heal. Upon his return from Iraq, that Marine was suicidal. An instructor was in an accident that left her paralyzed. Another, young instructor was diagnosed with breast cancer. They credit their recoveries to dancing and the Lindy community. Almost all who appear on camera speak to the dance’s power to lift someone out of his or her everyday anxiety. (Does it not seem that our anxiousness increases by the week, if not by the day?) All of those interviewed speak to the dance’s power not to heal division, so much as to make our divisions irrelevant.

Such power lies within us all and it doesn’t mean that you have to take up Lindy Hop. I’m sure that other dance communities feel the same way about their dance and their communities. In fact, there are all kinds of communities out there. It’s not about which one is the best—it’s about finding the community that’s best for you.

If you’re a Lindy Hopper, you will thoroughly enjoy this film. If you are moved by stories of individual triumph, stories of connection, and stories about the joy that comes from being a part of something greater than you are, you will be moved by Alive and Kickin’.


About Austin Gisriel

You know the guy that records a baseball game from the West Coast in July and doesn't watch it until January just to see baseball in the winter? That's me. I'm a writer always in search of a good story, baseball or otherwise.
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2 Responses to Alive and Kickin’

  1. Bonnie Lane says:

    I can’t wait to see this! I hope that it is available on NetFlix.


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