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Swing Dance : A Brief History

1088 words - 4 pages

Amanda WhinneryNovember 23, 2014Dance 100Research Project - Brief History of SwingJulie FreemanDance evolves era to era, generation to generation. Some dances stay and are revised and perfected. Others fade with growing times, sometimes to be rediscovered and reborn in a different era. Dance styles, such as Swing or "Jive", were never forgotten, but did go dormant for a while due to lack of popularity. Dance styles of the 1920s are some of the most likely and energetic dances done. It's known as swing due to the lifts, spins and swings associated with it. Each variation of swing dance have their own characteristics.Along with the music of jazz in the 1920's to 1950's, a dance style was developed known as swing. A lot of these dances were around long before the swinging jazz music. The majority of swing dances were danced and popular in African-American communities. Some dances like the Foxtrot and the Balboa were developed in white communities. Sadly segregation and racism were still felt in the groups of people who enjoyed dancing. Very few bands were racially mixed and most clubs throughout the country were often segregated due to racism found in many states. The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem, New York, where the Lindy Hop was born, was integrated from its opening.During the 1920's, in Harlem, New York, the Lindy Hop was born during the Harlem Renaissance. The dance popular with African-American communities. The Lindy Hop is the dance known for being the original swing dance. It was the most popular dance of that era. It incorporated the style of European partnering elements, with African rhythms and styles. An American created aspect of it was the break-away, to be unique. Partners would break away from dancing close to each other and perform their own solo dance style. Each person trying to stand out and be noticed by the crowd. And then after a moment, the partners would come back together and continue dancing. The Lindy Hop consisted of movements where dancers would stand close, usually moving in a circular motion as in the waltz. There are leg kicks, fancy footwork, toe tapping, and sometimes they would use their arms. African American music and dance grew in popularity. Harlem's working class entertainment was exposed to an audience of the white upper and middle class. Other dances that had their roots in the afro American community are the shimmy and the Black Bottom. The Black Bottom was high paced. The dancers can either dance with a partner, solo, or in a group. High kicks ending with knee slapping, arms flapping with hands over their ears, side steps, and long arm movements were some elements in this dance.After appearing in a Broadway musical in 1923 called "Runnin Wild", the Charleston became mainstream and popular. Before its appearance on Broadway, this dance was mostly done in Charleston, South Carolina by people in Afro American communities. This dance can be done solo, with a partner, or even in a group. It was highly popular among...

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