By Tamara Stevens
From its not going origins within the African slave exchange, one of many saddest chapters of yankee heritage, swing dance emerged as a party of the soul. Swing is now famous around the world as a joyous partnered dance, uniquely Afro-American in starting place and an American treasure.
This publication examines how the unique swing sort of the Nineteen Twenties, the Lindy Hop, branched out and developed with the altering dynamics of pop culture, paralleling the advance of the kingdom. Swing Dancing covers the dance over the years of minstrelsy, the jazz age, the massive band period, bebop, and the decline of partnered dancing within the Sixties. Swing specialists and teachers Tamara and Erin Stevens have mixed a compelling ancient exam of swing dance with an collection of riveting own interviews and photographic documentation to create a entire reference booklet in this very important artwork shape.
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Apparently Tom could move his feet at lightening quick speed while balancing a glass of water on his head. He’d jab at the ﬂoor with hammer-like strikes, even spin around, all the while keeping his head and neck perfectly still. And he wouldn’t spill a drop of water from the glass (Stearns and Stearns, 37). Besides the traditional European dances, formal plantation parties eventually featured popular Country-dances like the Clog, the Buck, and the Jig. As dance historian Richard Nevell points out, using slaves as musicians at the “Big House” formal balls was a common practice.
Suddenly the dance was propelled into mass popularity. Although the Black Bottom, the Shimmy, and the Texas Tommy were also dance crazes in this decade, the Charleston proved its own lasting power by being revived many times over (Stearns and Stearns, 1994, 111–112). In 1923, Fletcher Henderson’s 10-piece swingin’ orchestra was hired at Club Alabam, marking the beginnings of New York’s big jazz bands. 44 Swing Dancing Henderson’s orchestra is credited as creating new sounds in Charleston dance music, which pushed the jazz age toward the big band era of swing.
While Henry Lane passed away in 1852, by most accounts in his twenties, minstrel group shows continued to grow in popularity throughout the decade. However, although there were a few black entertainers (other than Lane) who managed to break into minstrelsy during that decade, it wasn’t until after the Civil War, and the emancipation of the slaves, that African Americans organized their own companies (Robert C. Toll, 1974, 198–199). American historian Linda Dahl notes that Bred in Minstrelsy, Raised in Rhythm 29 the minstrel circuit (especially for black entertainers) was a difﬁcult way to earn a living.