My guest this month is dancer, stand-up comedian, and my good friend, Noëlle Gray. Noëlle began dancing in 1999 and quickly became a fixture in the national Lindy Hop scene. She started teaching internationally in 2004, both as a leader and follower. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007, and in 2010 stepped away from dancing to focus on stand-up comedy. She’s since returned to the world of Lindy Hop, and that community of friends continues to support her through her recent brain cancer diagnosis.
We sat down during her recent visit to New York City to talk about what it was like teaching both lead and follow roles in a time when that wasn’t as common, why she gave up Lindy Hop for stand-up comedy, and how she came to terms with never quite reaching the level of dance or status she strove to achieve.
We also discussed her impression of the modern swing dance scene after taking some time away, what she learned from Frankie Manning and Dawn Hampton, and how cancer has impacted her comedy, her memory, and her way of life.
Thanks to Alletta Cooper for her production assistance on this month's episode!