RUSTY FRANK HONORED WITH FIRST
"DWDR LOCAL DANCE HERO AWARD"
DWDR = Darrell's Weekly Dance Report
February 22, 2008
As we segue from February with its celebration of past POTUSes, bloody marriage-minded saints and African American achievements (did anybody celebrate Frankie Manning and Whitey's Lindy-Hoppers this month?) into March with its drunken leprechaun orgies, chocolate & egg bearing rodents, and a return actually worthy of celebration, Daylight Savings Time, I've decided that over the next year of DWDrs, we'll take time out to also cast the spotlight on local heroes who keep the dance going despite the odds. And just in time for the end of the Hollywood Awards season, the first "DWDr Local Dance Hero Award" goes to none other than our own RUSTY FRANK. And since she's loathe to toot her own horn (no innuendo now), I'm going to do it for her, even though I know she's probably going to kill me for doing so.
Now I have to admit that for all the years that I've known Rusty, I've always been a little confused by her name. For while I'd freely admit that she is indeed frank, there's nothing even slightly reminiscent of ferrous oxide about her. Indeed, the way she stays on the move, keeping swing dancing alive through her Lindy by the Sea organization that teaches dance to a two-left-footed world as well as a host of other things, there's nothing even slightly rusty, about Rusty.
All kidding aside, I'm personally amazed at all she does for the dance community. On top of all the teaching, she also spearheads a host of amazing philanthropic works like the Emergency Fund she created for Peter "Pops" Warner, the erstwhile lead singer of STOMPY JONES (and he's still in need of assistance so click onto her website at http://rustyfrank.com and give what you can), you might forget she also organized similar efforts for dance legend Fayard Nicolas, Hurricane Katrina, The Asian Tsunami, and even created her own version of a dancer's exchange program where she raised funds to bring foreign dancers over to the USA. She also leads an educational push to remind people of the rich history of dance via her own newsletter published weekly.
And then there's RUSTY'S RHYTHM CLUB located in Playa del Rey. I know I've often joked that RRC is the place where you can both befriend and belie your Jenny Craigiest dreams because for every ounce you dance off via the great music and abundance of dance partners, you'll have the opportunity to replace it with sweet confectionary goodness because somehow, someway, there always seems to be cake at Rusty's, thereby placing your in a state of virtual dietary schizophrenia. And I've also teased Ms. Frank about the RRC tap performances, etc, but you have to admit that RRC has one of the smoothest dance floors and friendliest non-clicquest patrons in the area (I call RRC the 'land of the willing who won't leave you wanting.") And damn, can they bake!
But to think of what's quintessentially Rusty, I have to go back to a few years back when she broke her neck in five places during a dance accident and was forced to wear a full halo (we're talking metal and plastic brace here not the video game or the more appropriate angelic symbol) as she healed. As the dance community wrapped around her like a warm loving blanket, I'll never forget the sight of her ever-smiling face, stepping onto a dance floor to execute a few safe moves while still wearing her head brace. So even when she was immobilized by serious injury, she still couldn't stop moving. Talk about a profile in courage and resilience. And as soon as she was free of her medical cage, she was back dancing full swing. So where the frell did she get the name Rusty?
On Sunday, March 16 in celebration of her ten years of bringing dance to the community, Rusty's throwing a huge bash at the Santa Monica Bay Women's Club. Entitled, "A Decade of Dance" she's bringing in an old time favorite, the BILL ELLIOT SWING ORCHESTRA to help her celebrate. Tickets are on sale now, and with it being Bill, they're probably going to sell out so you might want to buy 'em now! Plus the price is going up on March 1st. But if you want to stop by and thank her yourself before the Ides of March, you can drop by and help her celebrate her natal day at RRC on this coming Wednesday, February 27, but bring a lariat and your chaps, because the theme is vintage western. In the meanwhile, if you really want to honor what she stands for, visit her website at http://rustyfrank.com/ and drop a few cybercoins into the Pop's Rescue Fund.
So to Ms. Rusty Frank, who's the un-rustiest person I know, I salute you and thanks for all the cake. You are the first DWDr Local Dance Hero. And I sincerely hope that it's the thought that counts because that honor, still probably won't help you get into the Governor's Ball after the Oscars.
And now for the dance list: Here's where we can all go dancing from Friday, February 22, to Sunday March 9, 2008. Get out there and be un-rusty, like Rusty!