When something is considered ‘highbrow’ it means a person has superior learning or culture (“Highbrow”). Street dance differs from highbrow dance because it is not as serious as ballet. It allows for a more freestyle approach than the practice it requires for ballet. Which is why street dance is considered lowbrow. Lowbrow means not serious art or not having interest in serious art (“Lowbrow”). So one begins to think, where did this mindset come from? According to the Perry Meisel:
The terms ‘highbrow’ and ‘lowbrow’ come from phrenology, the nineteenth-century science of regarding the shape of the skull as a key to intelligence. A ‘high’ forehead meant intelligence; a ‘low’ one meant ...view middle of the document...
Jazz flourished in the 1920s with the Harlem Renaissance due to large amounts of discrimination and African Americans needed a way to release their inner emotions (“1920’s Jazz”). Josephine Baker left the United States and went to France to become a larger sensation, eventually she came back to the states in the 50s and 60s to perform on occasion (“Biography: Righting Wrongs”). She was not greeted welcomingly as she had hoped when she got home. People were very racist towards her and that caused her to flee back to France, but she soon returned to help the WWII effort. When in the states she would help with the civil rights movement (“Josephine Baker Biography”). To get back at the racism that occurred too often in the U.S, she made her contracts to perform mention that she would not perform in segregated clubs thus causing clubs to integrate (“Josephine Baker: the Activist Entertainer”). She used her power of jazz dance to make a difference in the way that whites and blacks were able to be together in one room. Thus, dancing was a way to make a change.
Bronx, New York was where it all started to make a name for itself. Fast forward about 40 years and we have the start of popular dances that are still around today. How did those dances come to be? It was the influence of the Dj’s. The more infamous one that is very important to dance’s evolution is Kool DJ Herc. This guy knew how to lay out a beat for the crowd and get them ‘jumpin’. At a party for one of his family members, he used a very different turntable technique to make a song's “drum break by playing the break portion of two identical records consecutively”. The extended break got very popular which lead to the name of ‘breakdancing’. This style is specific to hip-hop culture, “which was facilitated by extended drum breaks played by DJs at New York dance parties”. By the middle of the 70s, the way hip hop looked in New York was controlled by DJ Grandmaster Flash, a seminal turntablists, Kool DJ Herc and, Afrika Bambaataa. “The rappers of Sugarhill Gang produced hip-hop's first commercially successful hit, "Rapper's Delight," in 1979'”. (“The Social Significance of Rap and Hip Hop Culture”).
"1920s' Jazz: Wildly Popular but Demonized by the Critics." 1920s' Jazz: Wildly Popular but Demonized by the Critics. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Apr. 2014. .
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