Theatrical Jazz Dance Styles
Dance 495- #21594
Professor J. Hendrix
February 20, 2013
Dances of the 1920s to Late 1930s
Emily Pate holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater arts and government from New Mexico State University. She has worked as a dance and substitute teacher, administrative assistant and in film and videogame production. She has more than 16 years of theatrical experience as an actor, director and playwright.
American life from the late 1920s through the late 1930s went through several drastic changes. The carefree, youth-centered lifestyle of the 1920s came to abrupt halt in the late 20s when the stock market crashed. These changes are reflected in the popular dance styles of the decade, as are the strong influences of the United States' eclectic and converging cultures.
The Charleston. The Charleston was first introduced in 1923 in Florence Ziegfield's "Runnin' Wild," an all-black dance revue. The Charleston caught on across the nation, and many songs were recorded specifically for the dance. The dance's defining movements use an in-and-out knee movement coupled with crossed hands switching positions on the knees. The dance also uses forward and backward kicks, swiveling and step-and-touch moves. The Charleston led to to the development of the Black Bottom, Varsity Drag and blues dancing. The style was popular well into the late 1920s, but fell out of favor once the Great Depression hit.
Ballroom and Latin Dances. The Continental and Carioca were simplified versions of the Foxtrot, developed by American choreographers. Their style mimicked the graceful Hollywood ballroom styles of dancers like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Latin dances like the Rumba and Conga found their way into American dance halls and ballrooms by way of American travelers. The song "The Peanut Vendor" popularized the Rumba, which was defined by strong hip movement. Renowned dance teams like Veloz and Yolanda specialized in the Conga and other Latin dances like the Samba.
The Big Apple. The Big Apple grew from a mixture of previous popular dance styles, including the Shag, Suzi-Q and Truckin'. Unlike the Charleston, Lindy, ballroom dances and Latin dances, which were designed for single or couple dancing, the Big Apple was specifically for groups. Participants stood in a circle, and a leader would call out instructions for everyone to perform, or choose a couple to dance solo.
The Lindy Hop. This dance