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Mendhi hands by Pushpa Jain. Photographer unknown. All rights reserved.Fish decoy. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Embroidered dress detail. Photo by Pearl Yee Wong. All rights reserved.Cedar bird by Glen VanAntwerp. Photo by Al Kamuda. All rights reserved.
Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Awards

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Paulette Brockington and Stephan Johnson
2016 master artist and apprentice
Highland Park and Detroit (Wayne County)
20th century American vernacular dance

Accomplished dancer, choreographer, stage director, teacher, and performing artist Paulette Brockington was honored with a 2012 Michigan Heritage Award for her dedication to the Lindy Hop as a traditional American art form. Born and raised in Detroit, Paulette studied at Detroit City Dance Company in the 1980s and later studied art and dance at University of Michigan. Paulette learned the Lindy Hop from its chief orchestrator, Frankie Manning, a National Heritage Fellowship awardee, in private lessons in 1992 and 1993. She later partnered with him on workshops held from the Great Lakes region to Washington, D.C. Her first Detroit area workshops introduced to the community the Lindy Hop as well as the West Coast Swing and Chicago Stepping.

In 1998, inspired by Manning and the Lindy Hop, Paulette produced the first American Lindy Hop Championships, which continues to this day. As the driving force behind the Lindy Hop, Paulette spearheads and produces Lindy Hop and swing dance events and competitions in Michigan and throughout the U.S. She is a much sought-after swing dance history scholar. She consults with production companies, choreographs for Dance Detroit and her own “A Company of Dancers,” and has served on the faculty of Wayne County Community College, Marygrove College, and University of Michigan. Through artist residencies and her tireless devotion to teaching and promoting the Lindy Hop and swing dance on national and international levels, Paulette is a fixture on the Great Lakes swing scene. She was also honored with the ArtServe Michigan Arts Educator of the Year Award in 2008.

Apprentice Stephan Johnson has been an Urban Ballroom dancer for over twelve years. His hometown of Detroit is, as he describes it, “a nucleus of this art.” He grew up in a musical family, and this helped foster his love of partner dancing. He is looking forward to expanding his skills in swing and lindy hop dance styles through this apprenticeship.

-Mary Worrall and Micah Ling

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