Black American dance crazes in the 1920s to 1960s

1Shake a Tail Feather02:26Amazon
Many of the most popular dances from the 1950s, such as the Jitterbug, the Cha-cha, and the Lindy Hop, were thought of as group dances rather than single couples’ dances. Perhaps of all the popular dances from this decade, single, couple, or group, the Stroll is the easiest to recognize. The Stroll is a variation of line dancing.
2Shake Sherrie02:43Amazon
Dancing was an art form; It was more of a fad within the teenage and young adult culture during the 1950’s within bigger cities as Single and group dances became very popular,Because of well televised television shows such as American Bandstand, youth would mimic the new dances and trends that were broadcast on their television sets.
3Mashed Potatoes U.S.A.02:53Amazon
Black culture had a real influence on dance and other art forms in the 20th century. After the American civil war a surge of people from the Caribbean and Deep South migrated into North American cities. In New York the district of Harlem became home to black people from different cultural traditions with their own dances and music.
4Do Wa Diddi02:19Amazon
Harlem became the ‘in place’ to be amongst both black and white New Yorkers – its clubs brought together dance and music that was alive and exciting. Dances such as the Charleston, Lindyhop and Jitterbug sprang from these clubs as did Jazz music.
5Carl’s Dance Party02:25Amazon
The influence of this Harlem Renaissance on music and dance in New York in the early 1920s spread into Europe.
6Teach Me How to Shimmy02:27Amazon
Shuffle Along
The first all black musical on Broadway called Shuffle Along opened in 1921. This was a smash hit, creating an interest in black dance in the theatre. The show also developed opportunities for individual black performers and dancers. In 1923 the Broadway hit Running Wild came to England and the Charleston became the dance of the decade.
8The Greasy Chicken03:10Amazon
Josephine Baker
The Revue Nègre in Paris introduced the dancer Josephine Baker. She became a huge star in Europe but was never as popular in America (where racial tension continued to marginalise black dance and dancers). All black musicals disappeared from Broadway in the 1920s when white musicals started to employ more black performers and black dance was incorporated into their programme.
9Foot Stomping, Pt. 102:17Amazon
Florence Mills
In Britain, black dancers appeared in musicals and revues from the early 20th century. In the 1920s Florence Mills starred in the Broadway musical Shuffle Along (which inspired the growing popularity for tap dancing) and later Plantation Review which toured to London in 1924.
10Now Let’s Popeye, Pt. 202:37Amazon
Her next musical Blackbirds opened in London in 1926 and her song ‘I’m a little Blackbird looking for a Bluebird’ became Mills’s theme song. Her singing was beautiful and her dancing had a comedy streak that audiences loved. Florence Mills became a star in both New York and London. In the UK reviewers proclaimed her talent and she was the talk of London.
11The Chicken Scratch02:39Amazon
Buddy Bradley
In 1933 C. B. Cochran invited Buddy Bradley to London to work on the Rodgers and Hart musical Evergreen. It was the first time a black dancer had worked on an all white show.
13Booty Green02:59Amazon
Buddy Bradley was a major force in musicals and revue in Britain in the 1930s and 1940s. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1908, he was mostly self-taught and made his debut as a dancer in 1926 in the Florence Mills Revue in New York. He staged dances in the great 1920s revues for Ziegfeld, George White, Earl Carroll and Lew Leslie’s legendary black revue Blackbirds. He also staged routines for such stars as Eleanor Powell, Ruby Keeler and Adèle Astaire.
17Do the Camel Walk02:31Amazon
In the 1930s he left New York and danced in London in C. B. Cochran’s 1931 Revue. There was a rumour that he was forced to leave New York because the Mafia owner of Harlem’s Cotton Club did not appreciate Bradley teaching his girlfriend to dance.
18The Climb02:43Amazon
Just as the Harlem Renaissance saw the development of art, poetry, literature and theater in Harlem during the early 20th century, it also saw the development of a rich musical and dance life: clubs (Cotton Club), ballrooms (Savoy Ballroom), the home rent party and other black spaces as the birthplaces of new dances, theaters and the shift from vaudeville to local “shows” written and choreographed by African-American artists; theatres as public forums for popularizing African-American cultural dances.
19Slow Twistin’02:41Amazon
Black American dance companies
Arthur Mitchell
In the 1950s and 60s Arthur Mitchell challenged the myth that black dancers were unsuited to ballet. He grew up in the Harlem district of New York and when he was 18 won a scholarship to the School of American Ballet. On graduation in 1956, he joined New York City Ballet and danced with them for 15 years. George Balanchine, the choreographer and founder of the company, created many roles for him, including the ballets Agon and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
20Hitch Hike02:33Amazon
There are a number of notable African-American modern dance companies using African-American cultural dance as an inspiration, among these are the Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Dance Theatre of Harlem, and Lula Washington Dance Theatre.
21The Bird02:20Amazon
frican-American dance has developed within Black American communities in everyday spaces, rather than in studios, schools or companies. These dances are usually centered on folk and social dance practice, though performance dance often supplies complementary aspects to this. Placing great value on improvisation, these dances are characterized by ongoing change and development.
22The Bossa Nova Watusi Twist04:57Amazon
In most African-American dance cultures, learning to dance does not happen in formal classrooms or dance studios. Children often learn to dance as they grow up, developing not only a body awareness but also aesthetics of dance which are particular to their community. Learning to dance – learning about rhythmic movement – happens in much the same way as developing a local language ‘accent’ or a particular set of social values.
23(Do The) Mashed Potatoes, Pt. 101:48Amazon
Children learn specific dance steps or ‘how to dance’ from their families – most often from older brothers and sisters, cousins or other older children. Because cultural dance happens in everyday spaces, children often dance with older members of the community around their homes and neighborhoods, at parties and dances, on special occasions, or whenever groups of people gather to ‘have a good time’. Cultural dance traditions are therefore often cross-generational traditions, with younger dancers often ‘reviving’ dances from previous generations, albeit with new ‘cool’ variations and ‘styling’.
26Do the Hully Gully01:50Amazon
This is not to suggest that there are no social limitations on who may dance with whom and when. Dance partners (or people to dance with) are chosen by a range of social factors, including age, sex, kinship, interest and so on. The most common dance groups are often comprised by people of a similar age, background and often sex (though this is a varying factor).
27Pass the Bug02:37Amazon
Some of the popular African-American dances of today are the Detroit Ballroom and Social – Chicago Steppin & Walking, D.C. Baltimore, Cleveland Hand Dance, Calypso & The NAACP Sanctioned Grand March – National Black Wedding & Reunion Dance
28The Hunch02:38Amazon
Popular black dance organizations are perfectly paired Gentlemen of Ballroom of Cleveland Master Dancers of Akron, OH. Dance Fusion, World Class-Detroit, Majestic Gents – Chicago Smooth & Easy D.C. Tri – State – Love to dance – Sugarfoot of Baltimore, MD. The new American dance art form of African-American cultural dance and music was accepted into the New York City Schools dance education curriculum.
31The Stomp02:09Amazon
Jacqui Malone describes the relationships between tap dancers who traveled with bands in the early 20th century, describing the way tap dancers worked with the musicians to create new rhythms. Much has been written about the relationship between improvisation in jazz and improvisation in jazz dance – the two are linked by their emphasis on improvisation and creative additions to compositions while they are in process – choreography and composition on the spot, in a social context – rather than a strict division between ‘creation’ and ‘performance’, as in the European middle class ballet and operatic tradition.
32The Crawl02:02Amazon
African Dance is supposed to be about a person getting connected to the ground and telling their story and struggles using dance. It also allows people to feel the vibrations of their dance beneath their feet, allowing them to dance how they please, utilizing the space that they have so they can express themselves freely.
1Shout and Shimmy03:16Amazon
Raven Wilkinson, who appears with Misty Copeland in A Ballerina’s Tale, was one of the first African American ballerinas permitted to join a ballet company. During the 1950s, she danced with the Ballets Russes de Monte Carlo under the condition that she pose as a white woman by painting her face.
2Mashed Potatoe Time02:32Amazon
Arthur Mitchell was not only the first African American male dancer in a major ballet company, he was the first African American principal dancer of a major ballet company, elevated to the role at New York City Ballet in 1956. Mitchell later started the famed Dance Theater of Harlem.
5The Twist02:35Amazon
Desmond Richardson
The American Ballet Theater’s first black male principal dancer, Richardson went on to dance with Complexions Contemporary Ballet. From a 1991 New York Times article:
6Twist It Up02:37Amazon
7Pony Time02:19Amazon
8Sloppy Twist02:29Amazon
9Dish Rag, Pt. 102:23Amazon
10Waddle Waddle02:18Amazon
11(Baby) Hully Gully02:07Amazon
12Camel Walk02:48Amazon
13Let’s Shimmy02:35Amazon
14The Continental Walk02:21Amazon
15Hush Puppy01:57Amazon
16Dance the Bommerang02:07Amazon
18The Horse02:48Amazon
19The Popeye02:28Amazon
20The Splib, Pt. 102:06Amazon
21The Squat02:23Amazon
22Shake Shout & Soul02:51Amazon
23Do the Bug02:34Amazon
24Twistin’ With the King02:45Amazon
25The (Bossa Nova) Bird02:45Amazon
26The Watusi02:36Amazon
29The Madison, Pts. 1-203:55Amazon
30Cha-Cha Twist02:37Amazon
31Twist and Shout02:04Amazon

12 thoughts on “Black American dance crazes in the 1920s to 1960s

  1. A lot of different forms of music came from jamaicans and black americans people..Bob Marley Peter Tosh.” Micheal Jackson.


  2. From the old spirituals to gospel, blues, jazz, Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll, Soul, Disco, House music, Dance music, Hip Hop & Rap and so on. Jamaicans and african americans would create dance moves according to what the beat sounds like.


  3. Many types of cool dance were developed from western black people. In the west the black caribbeans and african americans use to create music and dance from scratch as a way to get away from unemployment. Many of them years ago didn’t have tv nor radio so they would form groups and create new dances and musical sounds out of their head.

    They inspired their own selves.


  4. Gospel, Ragtime, Blues, Barber Quartet, Country, Jazz, Boogie Woogie, Swing, Bebop, Doo Wop, Rock n Roll, Rock, Rnb, Soul, Reggae, Disco, Groove, Funk, Hip Hop, House, Techno, Trap, Electro and all mainstream pop music past and present. Everywhere around the world has been touched by the influence of western black people like marley tosh salt and peppa michael jackson lil kim missy elliot. Thank you black western people for inventing rock music.


  5. Its really nice to see your Grandparents, Aunties and uncles have fun back in those days before you were born! WOW!!


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