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How Did American Culture Change During The Jazz Age?

1575 words - 6 pages

What was the Jazz Age in America? Also known as the Roaring Twenties’, it was when American ways were beginning to modernize. Before the stock market had crashed and the Great Depression started, culture was booming in America. Dance was changing rapidly and new styles of dances were being created. Women began to wear shorter clothes, cut their hair, and some even had jobs, while the Flapper girls gave other young women an outlook of freedom. People began to go see films and movie stars became famous worldwide. During the Jazz Age, American culture was changing and Americans were becoming more finically affluent.
Dancing skyrocketed during the 1920s. Many styles of dance that were created before the era did not become popular until the 1920s. For example, the Charleston did not swept the world until after the moves appeared in “Running Wild”, a show on Broadway. The Charleston dance was a fast paced dance that went with the song “The Charleston” by James P. Johnson. Many dance clubs banned the Charleston because the dance was unsuitable for the youth to be dancing. Also new dance styles were being created, for example, the Foxtrot. The Foxtrot was one of cherished dances during the era. The Foxtrot is a partner dance and many disapproved of how close the partners were to each other while dancing, often cheek-to-cheek.
Dance halls were growing increasingly popular, on average, most people attended at least once a week. Twenty-five percent of San Francisco youths regularly attended their local halls, according to American Mercury magazine. Admission ranged from fifty cents to dollar and a half (McCutcheon 217). Many times women would supervise so that the proper rules of dancing were overlooked. Proper dance rules were that the partners could not be too close and the hand placements were in appropriate positions. You or your partner should not be holding tightly, there should be a lose grip.
With dance halls becoming more popular, so did Dance Marathons. Dance Marathons swept the nation in the 20s and into the 30s. People would dance non-stop for hours, or even days, this contest was based on endurance. Everyone competed for the grand prize of money. Professional dancers would blend in with the other marathon dancers to win the money. Many citizens would attend to watch for entertainment, meaning other businesses were losing money while people attended dance marathons. Cities across the nation began banning dance marathons because these endurance contests were thought as inhumane, especially when citizens were paying to watch.
Women in the Jazz Age saw this as a chance to change women as a whole. “Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening” (Brown 255). Fashion was changing rapidly during this time for women. The hairstyle of the 1920s was the short bobbed haircut; even some of the older generation women began to cut their hair...

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