America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk by Megan Pugh

By Megan Pugh

The heritage of yankee dance displays the nation’s tangled tradition. Dancers from wildly diversified backgrounds discovered, imitated, and stole from each other.  Audiences in all places embraced the end result as deeply American.
 
utilizing the tales of tapper invoice "Bojangles" Robinson, Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, ballet and Broadway choreographer Agnes de Mille, choreographer Paul Taylor, and Michael Jackson, Megan Pugh indicates how freedom—that nebulous, contested American ideal—emerges as a genre-defining aesthetic. In Pugh’s account, ballerinas mingle with slumming thrill-seekers, and hoedowns appear on elite opera condo levels. Steps invented by way of slaves on antebellum plantations captivate the British royalty and the Parisian avant-garde. Dances have been greater boundary crossers than their dancers, besides the fact that, and the problems of race and sophistication that hang-out daily life shadow American dance in addition. Deftly narrated, America Dancing demonstrates the centrality of dance in American paintings, existence, and id, taking us to watershed moments while the state labored out a feeling of itself via public movement.

Show description

Read or Download America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk PDF

Best dance books

The Encyclopedia of World Ballet

In the course of the centuries, ballet has had a wealthy and ever-evolving position within the humanities. popular choreographers, composers, and performers have contributed to this specific paintings shape, staging enduring works of good looks. major productions by way of significant businesses include techniques and variations, allowing ballet to thrive and pleasure audiences all around the globe.

Envisioning Dance on Film and Video

Almost every person operating in dance this day makes use of digital media expertise. Envisioning Dance on movie and Video chronicles this 100-year historical past and provides readers new perception on how dance creatively exploits the artwork and craft of movie and video. In fifty-three essays, choreographers, filmmakers, critics and participating artists discover all points of the method of rendering a third-dimensional paintings shape in two-dimensional digital media.

Beyond the Dance Floor: Female DJs, Technology and Electronic Dance Music Culture

A pathbreaking examine of the ladies who create digital dance tune, past the Dance ground specializes in the mostly missed courting among those ladies and the conceptions of gender and know-how that proceed to notify the male-dominated tradition surrounding digital song. during this quantity, Rebekah Farrugia explores a few vital concerns, together with the politics of id and illustration, the bonds shaped by way of girls in the DJ group, and the function girl DJs and manufacturers play during this dance tune tradition in addition to within the greater public sphere.

Beginning modern dance

Starting smooth Dance textual content and net source introduce undergraduate and highschool scholars to fashionable dance as a acting paintings via participation, appreciation, and educational learn within the dance approach direction. within the booklet, 50 pictures with concise descriptions aid scholars in studying starting smooth dance method and in developing brief choreographic or improvisational reviews.

Additional info for America Dancing: From the Cakewalk to the Moonwalk

Sample text

1 Bill Robinson elevated tap, both figuratively and literally. Tap had sprung to national prominence on the nineteenth-century minstrel stage, where it was known as buck dancing. To the casual observer, early tappers could seem more spastic than skillful. Their steps, a hybrid of Irish and African moves, became associated with ugly depictions of flat-footed, shuffl ing “darkies,” a stereotype whose weight black performers subsequently had to 29 bear. But Robinson sloughed those images off, dancing up on his toes, speedy and swinging.

Robinson’s defense had audiences howling with “heart-aching laughter,” perhaps from the pleasure of his actingout. There are hints of rebellion, too, in an act that black vaudeville veteran Tom Fletcher recalled years after the fact. ” Given Robinson’s “shrewdness in meeting and overcoming the problem of racial and religious prejudice,” Fletcher wrote, folks suspected that Cooper and Robinson’s Jewface was a satirical provocation, meant to protest the ugliness of the “racially obnoxious” acts that were so pervasive.

But for black audiences, black blackface could be a mockery of white blackface, a means of puncturing stereotypes from behind the mask. Whatever audiences took away from Comedy Cakewalk, it points at a truth that was reenacted every time someone did the dance: race, and jokes about race, were central to the cakewalk’s meaning. At whose expense wasn’t always clear. Everyone knew that black folks had invented the cakewalk, but the details were hazy. ”8 To many white Americans, black cakewalkers were pretentious dandies who— like the stock minstrel-show character Zip Coon, and the ankle-scratching lady in Comedy Cakewalk— aped high society and got it all wrong.

Download PDF sample

Rated 4.11 of 5 – based on 38 votes