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Dance To The Music

Azizi 15 Jun 05 - 11:02 AM
Wesley S 15 Jun 05 - 11:27 AM
Azizi 15 Jun 05 - 11:53 AM
PoppaGator 15 Jun 05 - 12:13 PM
PoppaGator 15 Jun 05 - 12:59 PM
GUEST,Allen 15 Jun 05 - 02:29 PM
Bunnahabhain 15 Jun 05 - 06:33 PM
GUEST,Queequeg 15 Jun 05 - 07:27 PM
CarolC 16 Jun 05 - 02:07 PM
Rapparee 16 Jun 05 - 02:30 PM
GUEST,Allen 16 Jun 05 - 03:00 PM
GUEST,Allen 16 Jun 05 - 03:05 PM
PoppaGator 16 Jun 05 - 05:07 PM
fat B****rd 16 Jun 05 - 05:23 PM
GUEST,Allen 16 Jun 05 - 05:47 PM
sixtieschick 16 Jun 05 - 05:54 PM
Azizi 16 Jun 05 - 06:26 PM
Azizi 16 Jun 05 - 06:33 PM
Frankham 16 Jun 05 - 07:30 PM
sixtieschick 16 Jun 05 - 07:45 PM
Azizi 16 Jun 05 - 11:53 PM
PoppaGator 17 Jun 05 - 01:49 AM
GUEST,Allen 17 Jun 05 - 04:18 AM
Azizi 17 Jun 05 - 06:37 AM
Flash Company 17 Jun 05 - 07:46 AM
Azizi 17 Jun 05 - 04:30 PM
Azizi 17 Jun 05 - 04:35 PM
Le Scaramouche 17 Jun 05 - 05:06 PM
sixtieschick 17 Jun 05 - 05:33 PM
PoppaGator 17 Jun 05 - 06:27 PM
Azizi 17 Jun 05 - 06:50 PM
Grab 20 Jun 05 - 08:06 AM
Le Scaramouche 20 Jun 05 - 10:26 AM
Bunnahabhain 20 Jun 05 - 10:50 AM
Azizi 08 Oct 06 - 04:58 PM
Azizi 08 Oct 06 - 06:23 PM
Rowan 08 Oct 06 - 06:45 PM
Azizi 08 Oct 06 - 06:55 PM
Azizi 08 Oct 06 - 07:34 PM
Rowan 09 Oct 06 - 02:46 AM
Azizi 09 Oct 06 - 08:11 AM
Azizi 09 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM
Azizi 09 Oct 06 - 08:40 AM
Bunnahabhain 09 Oct 06 - 09:10 AM
Rowan 09 Oct 06 - 07:42 PM
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Subject: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 11:02 AM

Listening to music is fine. But sometimes don't you just wanna get up and "shake a tail feather?"

Not that I was ever the best dancer in my neighborhood.

Actually, most of the time I was too shy to dance in public. Usually I'd practice the movements in the privacy of my own home, and by the time I felt ready to do that dance in public, another dance had taken its place.

The dances I remember the best are "The Twist", "The Pony", "The Cha Cha", "The Hitch Hike", "The Football", and "The Electric Slide."

And I did finally learn how to do some 'old school' dances from the 1980s and 1990s that my daughter taught me like the "The Bump", "The Running Man" and "The Snake".

Speaking of "The Snake", it's interesting to me how so many dance movements keep being recycled under different names. The Snake dance and movement dates back to the early 20th century and probably looong before that.

And African American kids {and maybe others} are currently doing a dance called "Heel, Toe"-and that is certainly an old old real old dance step.

I love watching people dance, and I love collecting dance names and remembrances associated with dancing.

What dances did {do} you liked {like} doing, and what memories do they evoke?

Are there any dance historians in the house?

Maybe you can share the significance {if any} of why so few social dances since the 1960s have been partner dances.

Anyone?


Thanks.



Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Wesley S
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 11:27 AM

Azizi 2 - I'm going to take a guess here. When touch dancing was in vogue - dancing was the only acceptable way that people could have prolonged physical contact with each other. When the sexual revoultion { or rebellion } happened there was a LOT more physical contact happening so we didn't have to resort to dancing to get the touchy-feely sensations we craved. That's just a theory.

My other theory is that home builders stopped building front pourches about the same time the television was invented. But that's for another thread.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Azizi
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 11:53 AM

Wesley1,

Thanks for your educated guesses. Very Interesting...

And I'm eager to hear more about the front porch and TV.

So bring it on!!

And, btw, Wesley, what dances did {do} you do?

****

And if anyone is wondering what's up with the designations
"Azizi2" and "Wesley1" , you can go to Annex: Proverbs Thread to find out!


signed,
the one and only Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 12:13 PM

I'm sure someone will have interesting theories to offer about the demise of partner-dancing. I don't have much to say on the subject, except that it's puzzling to me, too, and I'm a person caught up in this phenomemon ~ I'm very much unskilled as a "partner-dancer" myself.

My wife and I can't dance together worth a damn. I learned just enough ballroom dancing as an awkward and shy 12-or-13-year-old to step off exclusively left-foot-first, assuming the traditionally male role as a dance partner. (Of course, playing sports and being right-handed probably did more to reinforce this than did the dancing lessons.) Peggy spent a good bit of her teenage dance-floor time partnering with other girls (hardly unusual), which I believe is the reason that she is just as adamantly and habitually right-handed/left-footed as I am, which puts us in a state of constant incompatibility when we try to dance within arms reach of each other.

Of course, she doesn't see it that way. She doesn't believe that she dances "the man's part," she just thinks I'm incompetent (which is also more or less true, too, of course). Funny thing, though: when I occasionally have occasion to dance with another woman, one who is a good conventionally-trained dancer, I do just fine. I might not be "leading," of course, but a good female dancer can back me around the floor, pretty much determining where we're going and how we're getting there, and the whole effect looks and feels about right, just as though I were "taking charge."

Anyway, the missus and I hear and read about various kinds of dance lessons and group activities ~ swing, Cajun, jitterbug, Zydeco, square, ceili, etc. ~ and promise each other to learn together before we get too much older, and one of these days we just might do it.

In the meanwhile, we do OK bopping around independently like teenage rock 'n' rollers. Don't need no lessons (nor coordination) to do that!

As I've mentioned elsewhere, I took my very name ~ my Mudcat pseudo-handle, that is ~ from a solo-type "dance," the Gator (or Alligator), wherein the subject is so oversome by ecstacy, intoxication, or whatever, that he or she (usually he) dives to the floor and thrashes around in the prone and/or supine position. Something they don't teach at Arthur Murray Studios!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: PoppaGator
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 12:59 PM

Wesley's two theories ~ both about touch-dancing and front porches ~ are quite persuasive. Especially about the dancing; I'm sure his theory is at least part of the explanation, and may indeed be the primary reason for this historical development.

On the subject of the front porch, though, I think that another technological development was a factor in addition to television: air conditioning.

In climates like the one I inhabit, south Louisiana, people in the pre-A/C years had to spend summer evenings out front communing with their neighborhoods. Now everyone stays inside, basking in electrically-refrigerated air while staring at the TV.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 02:29 PM

Dancing was VERY important. Until recently it was quite often the only real way to flirt and even touch someone of the opposite sex.
Waltzes were considered very shocking and risque because you held each other so close for so long.
Spanish dances shocked people for different reasons, because of the very seductive movements, you could be covered head to toe yet downright lewd. Lola Montez was a noted exponent, but opinions are divided as to whether she was any good.
The Harum Scarum is the name of an old brothel dance, done naked.
Social dances have probably declined because now a guy and a girl can go out anytime and people don't have to come together as a community for entertainment.
Frankly, I'm utterly useless at dancing. Oh well.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE TWO-SEX SCOTTISH DANCER (P. Batt)
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 06:33 PM

Social dances have probably declined because now a guy and a girl can go out anytime and people don't have to come together as a community for entertainment.


I 'm very glad I'm part of a community of dancers who do come together for entertainment, over quite long distances. Travelling 2-6 hours to get to a dance, and another the next week, and the next is quite normal for us. And for quite a number of couples, they're probably further apart when dancing than the rest of the time

Dancing was VERY important. Until recently it was quite often the only real way to flirt and even touch someone of the opposite sex.
In some cultures it still is. Our group regularly teach ceilidh dancing to foreign students, and had alot of trouble with a group of Egyptian men. They viewed dancing as the only way they were allowed to touch a woman, and were making far too much use of this.


And as for ladies leading unintentionally...


The Two-sex Scottish Dancer
by Patricia Batt
I'm a two-sex Scottish Dancer and may seem rather dim,
But I never spend one evening as a full time her or him,
I change my sex from dance to dance, my corners always alter,
It's really not surprising I occasionally falter.
The old and simple dances I can manage very nicely
And I can learn a new dance and do it most precisely,
But when it comes to next week I don't know if I can
For I learnt it as a woman and dance it as a man.
And so you men who have the luck to always stay the same
When female gentlemen go wrong be sparing with your blame.
I'll add a postscript to this tale–one comfort I have got
When both the women change their sex it doesn't show a lot!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: GUEST,Queequeg
Date: 15 Jun 05 - 07:27 PM

There have been many nights in my life Azizi that I have enjoyed a frenzied jig under a furled yardarm with he salt spray in my face, while one of the lads played the concertina at a speed that could only be paralleled by the Cuttysark herself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: CarolC
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 02:07 PM

I don't understand modern day social dancing, and I never have. I don't know why that is, but it's probably a part of my not understanding any aspect of modern popular culture.

I love to waltz. But when I do, I experience motion sickness, so I don't waltz very often. And I love to watch most kinds of traditional dance from around the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Rapparee
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 02:30 PM

Lola Montez:

Born in Limerick, Ireland, in 1818, Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert spent much of her girlhood in India but was educated in Scotland and England. At age 19 she eloped with Lieutenant Thomas James; the couple separated five years later and in 1843 Gilbert launched a career as a dancer. Her London debut as "Lola Montez, the Spanish dancer" in June 1843 was disrupted when she was recognized as Mrs. James. ...

Just for the record, Lola Montez was actually born February 17, 1821 in Grange, County Sligo, Ireland.


So this "Spanish Dancer" was really Irish....

Azizi, I never really learned to dance. My youngest brother, on the other hand, was taught by some guys from Harlem while in the USAF. He's a white guy with the moves!


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 03:00 PM

Yes, she was half-Irish (or entirely, depends who you choose to believe), but masqueraded as a Spaniard.
Someone hostile to her claimed she was really born in 1818, but isn't so. Just another case of saying so-and-so's an old hag who lies about her age.
Even though hot tempered and easy on the morals, she really does not seem to have been a bad person. For example out in the West she'd generously help women who were very poor or ill, often staying with them at great risk to herself.
I would really liked to have seen her on stage once, to know what her dancing was actualy like.
Next best thing is Royal Flash.

To bring this back on topic, has anyone ever seen Caucasian dances? Especially the Lesghinka (which is very graceful and danced on tip-toes) and the sword dances, where the boys leap 6 feet in the air. Marvelous costumes, and unequaled moves.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 03:05 PM

BTW, why is this in BS and not above?
    I agree.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: PoppaGator
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 05:07 PM

I was thinking the same thing, and meant to include a comment in my first post to this thread: This is about MUSIC and thus is not "BS."

GUEST, Allen ~ you've been posting a lot of interesting stuff lately. Why not join up?


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: fat B****rd
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 05:23 PM

Surely Azizi means what unfortubately ends up as "Dad dancing" in middle age. Movements that we thought cool and stylish in our younger years tend to look embarassing and elephantine as we get on a bit.
My wife and I still do a sort of dancehall jive at works "Dos" and Wedding Receptions etc but in my case transferring what I do in private whilst boogying to my best Soul Sounds and what I attempt in public are vastly different things.
In my Mecca days we did a sort of twitching thing complete with jerky arm movements and it wasn't half fun.
I love the occasonal Twist but Bloody Hell !! it buggers the old knees.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 05:47 PM

Been having some trouble with cookies, but I will try again.
Another interesting dance, is called the Dabkah. It's done by everyone, but by the Druse in particular. Sort of a circle dance, but there is one leader, and they do the most intricate footwork, shoulders locked togehter. It's performed in really baggy trousers, a so simple yet so hard.


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: sixtieschick
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 05:54 PM

In my memory, slow dancing in the sixties was always partner dancing. Some schools had rules about how close together boys and girls could dance. The usual minimum was six inches apart (hmmm.) At some school dances, chaperones actually had rulers and would measure the distance between suspiciously close-together couples.

The faster dances were done without touching--they required lots of arm movements and finger-snapping. Often there was a Top Forty song that would introduce the dance, exhorting you to "Do the.." Swim, Jerk, Philly, Philly Dog, Duck, Monkey, et al. These were most often sung by Black performers. One white British group, Freddy and the Dreamers, tried their luck with "Do the Freddy." It was Gawd-awful.

Miriam


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 06:26 PM

Allen asked "has anyone ever seen Caucasian dances?"

I had to read that twice 'cause my first read of it was "Has anyone ever see Caucausians dance?"

Yep.

As Rapaire and others have posted, some White guys {and gals} know how to "do the moves'.


Of course they got all those dance steps from us {people of African descent}.

Just kiddin {maybe and maybe not}.




Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 06:33 PM

Sorry

In the second sentence of my last post, "See" should be "seen"

But ya'll knew that.

As to why this thread isn't above the line, I was in a BS mood when I started it, and thought that since I was aiming for light conversation instead of serious scholarship, the BS section would be a more appropriate fit.

It will be interesting to see what tangents this thread takes.

And if people feel like scholarship, bring it on!!



Azizi


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: Frankham
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 07:30 PM

I am very interested in the music for dance. I think that the study of music for dance is long overdue and important. I see dance and music as a social outlet as part of a folk tradition. I enjoy the music for Disco, Funk, Soul, Razzamatazz from the 1920's, and have seen people dance to Blues and Jazz. One of the most important components of popular music was the Swing Era.

This thread should be in the music category rather than BS.

Playing music for dancers is a different form of expression than concert or sit-down jam sessions. Here, rhythm is a key component and if it's not there, the music is out the window.
Interaction between musicians and dancers, I believe, makes the musician play better than normal.

The Contra Dance movement in New England and elsewhere is a healthy aspect of a folk traditional revival. A new interest in the Lindy Hop and Jitterbug is a welcome thing. Also, social ballroom dancing to Swing and Latin music as well.

To me, Old Timey music doesn't mean much as separated from the dance that it came from. I know that some who enjoy the Round Peak style of playing might disagree. I consider Old-Timey different than individual performances by banjo or guitar picking traditional folk singers.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: BS: Dance To The Music !
From: sixtieschick
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 07:45 PM

I attended the first public school in the USA to voluntarily integrate its student body. The American Friends Service Committee held a conference for the students to discuss issues of race relations. A group of us informally talked about why the black kids danced so much better than the white kids. The black kids said they had to practise like hell to dance well. Like sports, dancing was an area in which they felt they could excel.

Miriam

PS: For a time I knew how to do the moves; mostly the Jerk, the Philly and the Philly Dog. Then hippie dancing came in, and its moves were all inside one's very stoned mind. Anything you did looked trippy under a strobe light.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music !
From: Azizi
Date: 16 Jun 05 - 11:53 PM

I would like to thank Joe Offer for responding to my PM to move this thread to the Music section.

And, Joe, if you have nothing else to do [HA! HA!], could you delete that misplaced exclamation mark-just because it looks so wierd.

I'd appreciate it.




Azizi


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music !
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 01:49 AM

Hey, I like the exclamation mark...

Jazz was originally dance music, music to shake your booty to, and there's a sense in which New Orleans R&B/RnR is more truly and directly descended from the jazz of Buddy Bolden, Sidney Bechet, and Louis Armstrong than is the cool cerebral music that we commonly classify as modern/contemporary jazz.

Not that I don't dig Bird and Diz and Miles and Monk and Trane, but I don't believe that they stayed with the program and continued to develop the true essence of early jazz as effectively and as genuinely as did Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint, Fats Domino, Earl King, Art Neville and the Meters, the Dirty Dozen, the Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, etc. etc. etc. These guys continued to create music that MAKES PEOPLE GET UP AND SHAKE IT ~ with big smiles on their faces, too!


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music !
From: GUEST,Allen
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 04:18 AM

Haha, I can't dance, maybe it's my big Polish feet.
Seriously, the dances of the Caucasus are unbelievably magnificient. Fiery, graceful, wild and intricate, they capture the spirit of the mountains.
BTW there was a very real reason for all those squatting movements in Cossack dance. In Siberia, during the days of outhouses (or worse) if you had to attend to certain calls of nature, keeping still is the way for your bum to freeze up.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 06:37 AM

Thanks, Joe for removing that exclamation point. And sorry PoppaGator. The problem was the unecessary space between the word and the point, and none of this is important or interesting but your's and other's comments about this subject sure are!

Keep them coming and don't forget to dance to the music!



Azizi


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Flash Company
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 07:46 AM

Allen... Love the suggestion about cossack dancing, it conjures up a marvellous image.

A young cossack dancer called Yuri,
Would kick up his heels in a fury,
But he got diarrhea
At the turn of the year,
Next week he's in front of a jury!

I think I'd better go now.......

FC


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 04:30 PM

Click
Swing Dances through the 20th centuries


Here's some excerpts from that website:

Early 1900's Dixieland Jazz of New Orleans.

A boom in music publishing both fed on and created many new fad dances.

Black ex-slaves of America's southern states move into American cities. Their dances based on African rhythms were originally danced barefoot.

Irish immigrants bring to the New World their folk dances (performed in clogs).

1920's The jazz age
Forerunners of the Lindy Hop were The Texas Tommy, The Hop & The Breakaway

1926 - Savoy Ballroom opens: Lennox Avenue, Harlem, New York

1927 - Charles Lindbergh makes his solo flight across the Atlantic in his plane, the Spirit of St Louis. Newspapers report "Lindy Hops the Atlantic".

Late 1920's people are 'Lindy Hopping'

-snip-


Disclaimer: I'm posting this link after briefly scanning it. The information found on the website may or may be valid.

****

I'd love to know what online websites about dance history that you consider to be credible.

Come on, people. Share the wealth!


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 04:35 PM

"... dances based on African rhythms were originally danced barefoot."

"Wow, that is the epitome of scholarship"!! [scarcasm]!!!


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 05:06 PM

Well, it's a dance site, where that kind of information is important.

Allen


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: sixtieschick
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 05:33 PM

Hey, that reminds me of the routine in which Kermit the Frog complains that people think he doesn't have any feet. To prove he does, he sings "Dancing Feet" and you hear the sound of tap dancing--but of course all you see is the hand puppet from the waist up.

Miriam


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: PoppaGator
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 06:27 PM

I read an interesting theory a couple of years ago ~ in a work of fiction ~ that may or may be true. There's no way we'll ever know, but it's interesting to speculate.

This was in a historical novel by either Jimmy Breslin or (more likely) Pete Hamill ~ I get 'em mixed up because they're both Irish-American New Yorkers who came from Catholic working class roots to become prominent newspaper columnists. There's a scene where the newly-arrived Irish immigrant protagonist and his buddies befriend a group of black men with whom they are working on the docks.

As a result of their late-night socializing, the uniquely American art form of tapdancing emerges as a kind of hybrid between Irish step-dancing and African-American dance.

The author makes a more persuasive case than I am making here, and of course the idea is presented dramatically, as an adjunct to the storyline, not didactically like I'm doing here. I found the idea very plausible, and an interesting possible example of the "folk process" at work.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 17 Jun 05 - 06:50 PM

Here's some information on tap dancing.

IMHO, this is the best of several short articles on this subject that I found online:

THE UNIQUE AMERICAN ART FORM OF TAP DANCE

Tap was created from combining elements of African drumming and dancing with the techniques of European clog and step dancing. The unique rhythms of jazz music distinguish American tap dance from all other kinds of dancing based on percussive footwork.

Between the 1600's and early 1800's, tap slowly evolved from European step dances like the jig and clog and a variety of secular and religious African step dances that were loosely labeled "juba" dances and "ring shouts." Danced primarily by enslaved Africans, this blend of jig and juba was transferred to the minstrel stage, and there it was polished into something identifiable as "American tap dance."

After the Civil War, vibrant new steps were added to the tap vocabulary including syncopated 'stop time,' 'soft shoe,' 'waltz clog,' and 'time step.' Dancers relaxed their postures and arms and shoulders were often used for whimsical gestures.


With vaudeville, great individual talents like Bill "Bojangles" Robinson and John Bubbles helped to refine rhythm tap dance, and later Hollywood popularized tap dance worldwide with films featuring Fred Astaire, the Nicholas Brothers, and Eleanore Powell, among others.

During the 1950's, the style dance changed and tap lost is popularity, although tap dancers continued to dance for their own pleasure.

In the 60's, several public tap dance events ignited the great revival of tap dance. Suddenly, tap was considered an art form rather than just entertainment. During the 1970's, tap returned to Broadway, film, and the concert stage throughout the USA, Europe, and Japan. The public's interest in watching tap dance has produced several Broadway hits, including the recent "Black and Blue," and "Jelly's Last Jam," and films such as "The Cotton Club," "Steppin Out," and "Tap."

May 25th was proclaimed as National Tap Dance day by a vote of Congress in 1989, and is celebrated by enthusiasts across the USA. Recent Presidential Awards have been given to tap legend Honi Coles and the Nicholas Brothers for their lifelong contributions to the arts. Perhaps Gregory Hines said it best: "Tap is here, Now!"


Source: http://performingarts.net/Shafman/Rhapsody/history.html


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Grab
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 08:06 AM

by the time I felt ready to do that dance in public, another dance had taken its place.

As far as I can see, if any song invents a dance, both the song and the dance can safely be said to be shite. No exceptions, anywhere, for anyone, ever. 100% rubbish, and gladly forgotten. (And I defy anyone to find an acceptable exception - go on, make my day! ;-)

Often you do want to get up and shake it a bit. Unless it's a structured dance though, if you're waiting on someone to teach you the moves first then, man, forget it. I'm not a very good dancer myself - best described as "enthusiastic", I guess. ;-) But I'd rather get up and enjoy myself to the music than be trying to follow some crappy invented thing. These days anyway - when I was younger and less confident, you wouldn't ever have got me dancing on my own!

I enjoy barn-dances/ceilidhs and I enjoyed the little formal dancing I did a while back. This does need to be differentiated from "getting up and shaking a tailfeather" though, by the degree of inhibition involved. For me, the optimum is probably 40s/50s-type dance (jive, RnR, etc) which involves learning how to do certain moves but then using those moves at will in an uninhibited way.

My own opinion, the difference between most pair-dances and most "separates" dances is mostly the speed at which you dance. Irish step dancing for example involves fast footwork, and that famously bans you touching anyone (or even looking like you're enjoying it). And the more uninhibited 20's jazz dancing ("flappers" and so on) was individual. The theory of close dancing appearing in more "inhibited" times as a way of getting close to the opposite sex seems fairly likely, given that the wild parties of the 20s gave way to 30s and 40s austerity. If you watch people dancing today, they will still dance closer during slower numbers, and the only ones dancing close on the faster numbers are couples who've danced a lot together (and maybe have practised) so they know where the other person's going to go.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 10:26 AM

"The theory of close dancing appearing in more "inhibited" times as a way of getting close to the opposite sex seems fairly likely, given that the wild parties of the 20s gave way to 30s and 40s austerity"

Try more like 1800s and earlier.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 20 Jun 05 - 10:50 AM

From the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society pages-RSCDS


The English Court of Elizabeth I was much taken with all things pastoral and the figure dances of the countryside, many set to Scottish or Irish tunes, became very popular and were called Country Dances. The constant influence of one European Court upon the other meant that the dancers were always absorbing new ideas of style and content. The greatest flowering of this form of dance was in the assembly rooms of the 18th century. Edinburgh, during this period of enlightenment, emulated the European capitals and dance assemblies, conducted with utmost decorum, flourished. Other cites and towns soon followed and dancing became an accepted part of social interaction.

Scotland, of course, had other traditions of dance and once north of the border the country dances incorporated features from older strathspeys, reels, rants and jigs, etc. This was now a style of dance with which the whole society of Scotland could feel comfortable. There was the elegance and courtesy of the "Country Dance" and the energy and precision of step of the old "Reels". The Scots, with their "auld allies" the French, valued dancing for its own sake and often showed great skill and vigour.




The RSCDS provide a useful base to start from. They often dance in a very correct fashion, which is fine for competitions and certain demonstraitions, but for most of the time we dance with much more freedom and extra flourishes. In short we flirt and mess about when it doesn't get in the way of the rest of the dancers too much.

The Music we Dance to follows a similar pattern. We use jigs, reels, hornpipes( only rarely ), strathspeys and slow airs, as well as the occasional waltz. The Jigs and reels are most common, and show the most variation.
Many of the tunes we dance to are old. For example Rakes of Mallow will be played at most dances, and is first recorded in the 1740s. (www.mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=61776#994957)

Others are new. In our group it is common for a new dance and tune to be written to celebarte a Wedding, and several of these from the last few years have been take up into general circulation.

And with the influence of the 19 C Quadrilles, it is not surprising that many well know tunes are adapted to be dance music. I've heard Gilbert and Sulliven, various nursery rhymes and TV theme tunes in the middle of sets recently.

These three represent extremes in the music, and fairly much everything will be somewhere in between. The Gay Gordons to 'Johnny be good' and Highland dems to Madonna have both been well recived though.
-

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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 04:58 PM

Reading the current Mudcat thread What no Limbo inspired me to check out the information given in Internet & other resources about the Limbo dance.

I was curious as to whether the name for the dance had any connection with the Catholic's place name "Limbo". I also wanted to learn more about where the Limbo dance came from and why it was traditionally performed.

Here's what I found out regarding the dance's name after doing some research on these questions:

The name "Limbo" [for the dance] almost certainly is related to the word "Limbo" as used by the Catholics. See this excerpt from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/limbo :

"Limbo-Middle English, from Medieval Latin (in) limb , (in) Limbo, ablative of limbus, Limbo, from Latin, border...
Word History: Our use of the word limbo to refer to states of oblivion, confinement, or transition is derived from the theological sense of Limbo as a place where souls remain that cannot enter heaven, for example, unbaptized infants. Limbo in Roman Catholic theology is located on the border of Hell, which explains the name chosen for it. The Latin word limbus, having meanings such as "an ornamental border to a fringe" and "a band or girdle," was chosen by Christian theologians of the Middle Ages to denote this border region. English borrowed the word limbus directly, but the form that caught on in English, limbo, first recorded in a work composed around 1378, is from the ablative form of limbus, the form that would be used in expressions such as in limb, "in Limbo."


-snip-

Also, see this excerpt from http://www.businessballs.com/clichesorigins.htm

"limbo - state of uncertain balance or being between two situations -today's use is based on two separate meanings which may both have had the same origin: 'limbo' is the Caribbean dance requiring excellent balancing skills, in which the performer repeatedly passes beneath a horizontal bar reducing in height each time; the early English meaning of 'limbo' was for a a temporary holding place, eg between heaven and hell, or a waste basket; it also meant 'prison' in Victorian times; original derivation from Latin 'limbus' meaning 'the edge'."

-snip-

Furthermore, see this excerpt from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbo_(dance) :

"The name [limbo] comes directly from the English of Trinidad; Merriam-Webster lists the etymology as "English of Trinidad & Barbados; akin to Jamaican English limba to bend, from English limber" (see definition #2 at http://m-w.com/cgi-bin/dictionary?limbo). [2 a : a place or state of restraint or confinement b : a place or state of neglect or oblivion c : an intermediate or transitional place or state d : a state of uncertainty]"

-snip-

That reference to the Jamaican English word "limba" meaning "to bend" reminded me of the English word "limber". One definition of "limber" as given by wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn is "capable of moving or bending freely". One definition of the phrase "limber up" as given by that same source is "to "make one's body limber or suppler by stretching, as if to prepare for strenuous physical activity".

These definition certainly apply to the movements of the Limbo dance.

So, it seems that the dance name "Limbo" does come from the same root word as the Catholic "Limbo". However, "limber" [which also comes from that same root word]is probably a better fit for this dance name than the word "limbo" itself.

In my next post to this thread I'll share my opinion on whether the traditional Limbo dance has any relationship to the Catholic use of the word "Limbo".


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 06:23 PM

Most websites that provide an historical overview of the Limbo dance cite one or both of these theories about the traditional meanings of that dance:

1. "The limbo dance, as perceived by cultural scholar Wilson Harris, was inverted from its origins as a painful experience of African captives, cramped in the slave quarters of slave ships as human cargo, into a celebratory dance that was created and transformed into the "limbo" dance performed during contemporary Caribbean vacations."
How sweet the sound: A conversation with Nancy-Elizabeth Fitch [historian, professor, and author]

2.The name of the Limbo dance is derived from the original purpose of the dance which is to help a dead loved one's soul escape the state of Limbo
http://experts.about.com/e/l/li/Limbo_(dance).htm

See http://www.tntisland.com/limbo.html for an explanation that combines both of these theories:

"It is believe, that the people of Trinidad during this dance portrayed going down in the hold of a slave ship which carried them off into slavery. No matter how they twist or turn squirmed or arched they would go deeper and deeper, some would make it, some would not. The dextrous position had to be retained because the space between the upper deck and floor was narrow, designed for packing and not standing, hence basically they were going into Limbo."

-snip-

I would like to present another theory about the traditional meaning of the Limbo dance:

"It appears that the use of the horizontal bar and the movements of the Limbo dance itself may be of Trinidadian origin. However, traditionally, the Limbo dance symbolized the transformation that a person who has recently died must undergo. The origins of the dance are related to the Elegba {Esu} orisha of Benin {Dahomey} and the symbol of the Kalunga line which originated in the Congo".

http://www.takeourword.com/Issue069.html Spotlight on Dances mentions a possible connection to the traditional Limbo dance and Elegba.

The connection between the Limbo dance and the Dahomean god Elegba is also briefly mentioned in http://www.tntisland.com/limbo.html:

"The Límbó (Limmm-Bó) is a unique dance and is also known as the "Under Stick Dance". The limbo dance, originally a ritual performed at 'wakes' (funeral dance which maybe related to African legba or legua dance) in Trinidad from the mid or late 19th century does not appear to have any roots in West Africa where most African traditions within the diaspora have emerged."

-snip-

The are numerous online articles about Elegba {Esu}. Here is an excerpt from one of those articles:

"The orishas are the emissaries of Olodumare or God almighty. They rule over the forces of nature and the endeavors of humanity. They recognise themselves and are recognised through their different numbers and colors which are their marks, and each has their own favorite foods and other things which they like to receive as offerings and gifts. In this way we make our offerings in the manner they are accustomed to, in the way they have always received them, so that they will recognise our offerings and come to our aid…

Elegba (also referred to Eleggua or Elegguá) is the owner of the roads and doors in this world. He is the repository of ashé. The colors red and black or white and black are his and codify his contradictory nature. In particular, Elegba stands at the crossroads of the human and the divine, as he is child-like messenger between the two worlds. In this role, it is not surprising that he has a very close relationship with the orisha of divination, Orunmila. Nothing can be done in either world without his permission. Elegba is always propitiated and always called first before any other orisha as he opens the door between the worlds and opens our roads in life..."

http://www.orishanet.org/orishas.html

There are also a number of online articles about the Kalunga line.
Here is an excerpt from http://www.geocities.com/beargomke/Kongo.html:

"In the Kongo religion, one of the major icons is the Dakenga. This is a circle with a cross inside. It represents the cycle of life: the world of the living above the horizontal line (white) and the world of spirits (black) below it. The horizontal line is called the Kalunga line, and it is red. The vertical line is the Simbi line and crosses between the two worlds freely. The Kalunga line keeps the two worlds separate, and both King and Queen guide spirits back to life and the dead to the land of spirits."

-snip-

See also this excerpt from Caribbean Espiritismo altars: the Indian and the Congo [The Art Bulletin, June, 2005 by Judith Bettelheim]

"...Because they are part of a Kongo-derived religious practice, the firmas used by [artistLudvik Reginfo Perez] often employ Kongo-derived references, (47) such as the circling of the sun around the earth and the Kalunga line, or horizon line, the division between heaven and earth.As Robert Farris Thompson makes quite clear in his groundbreaking analysis of Kongo cosmograms, "In Kongo there is scarcely an initiation or ritual transformation of the person from one level of existence to another that does not take its patterning from the circle of the sun about the earth."

-snip-

The connections between the Limbo dance and Elegba/Esu and the Kalunga line became less known over time. However, there still was a religious purpose for that dance's performance- to protect the community from the recently dead person's spirit {duppy}.

I'll write more about that in my next post.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Rowan
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 06:45 PM

When the waltz (from the word "rock") first arrived in 'cultured' Europe as a dance of the upper classes it created a bit of a storm among the middle classes because of the close proximity of the partners; it was thought by many to be lewd and immoral. How things change; nobody ever described rock music like that, did they?

My mother was a championship ballroom dancer, in the 30s, before she married and, when she taught me (I was 13 or so) such ballroom dancing was done pelvis to pelvis. She commented once that when learning, she'd had to practise with a record held (vertically) between the partners by only their close proximity. They were 78s and would break if they hit the floor.

This lead to the old definition of dancing; A dance is a naval encounter without loss of seamen. Sigh!

I'll get into other aspects of Azizi's question later.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 06:55 PM

In my opinion, the Limbo dance is rooted in rituals related to the transition of a soul from one state of being to another {ie. death}. Even after the connection between the Limbo dance and Elegba and The Kalunga Line {both symbols of transition}, Caribbean folk associated the Limbo with activities that were performed during nine or 10 day funeral wakes.

See Nine night: death and dying in Jamaica - death rituals in Jamaica [American Visions, Oct-Nov, 1996 by Beranrd Burrell]

http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Ha-La/Jamaican-Americans.html provides some insight about the reason for Caribbean wakes:
"A highlight of the funeral in Afro-centric religions is the "Nine Night" service, conducted to ensure that the shadow of the deceased does not return on the ninth evening after death to visit with family members. In most funerals, it is a custom for men to carry the corpse in a coffin on their shoulders. During the funeral, a phase of ritual mourning and howling in a sorrowful manner occurs. An offering of libation and sacrifices accompanies communication with the deceased at the gravesite. A phase of ritual joy mixed with mourning precedes and follows the interment, which is concluded with a second ceremony at the gravesite. Funeral rites involve dancing, singing, music, and grand incantations. There are often elaborate superstitious grave decorations to fend off evil spirits or bad omens from the deceased who lived a wicked life."


-snip-

Also see this quote from http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Sr-Z/Trinidadian-and-Tobagonian-Americans.html:

"Afro-centric religions (Obeah, Shango, and Shouter Baptist) and Christians bury their dead after performing special rites or conducting a formal funeral church service. A Catholic priest recites the last rites to a dying member of the Church and may offer mass for a soul that may have departed to purgatory before making peace with God. On the night before the funeral, there is a wake for the dead, during which friends and family come to offer condolences, sing dirges, and drink rum. Afro-centric religions have a Nine Night service to ensure that the shadow of the deceased does not return on the ninth evening after death to visit family members. This practice is occasionally performed after Christian, Muslim, and Hindu deaths as well."
-snip-

An excerpt from The Caribbean Archaeology Program at the Florida Museum also provides further information about the reason for wakes:

"It all stems from the firm belief in survival after death. Or rather that there is no death. Activities are merely changed from one condition to the other. One old man smoking jackass rope tobacco said to me in explanation: 'One day you see a man walking the road, the next day you come to his yard and find him dead. Him don't walk, him don't talk again. He is still and silent and does none of the things that he used to do. But you look upon him and you see that he has all the parts that the living have. Why is it that he cannot do what the living do? It is because the thing that gave power to these parts is no longer there. That is the duppy, and that is the most powerful part of any man. Everybody has evil in them, and when a man is alive, the heart and the brain controls him and he will not abandon himself to many evil things. But when the duppy leaves the body, it no longer has anything to restrain it and it will do more terrible things than any man ever dreamed of. It is not good for a duppy to stay among living folk. The duppy is much too powerful and is apt to hurt people all the time. So we make nine night to force the duppy to stay in his grave.'"

-snip-

And, finally, this excerpt about the pyscho-social function of Caribbean dinkie {10 day wakes] might be of interest to folks here:

I can remember talking about it in Britain once, years ago. There was this lawyer who said he came to London years ago as a law student. He said to me, "I have become so British and have begun to look at things through the British eyes." You know the stiff upper lip and what-not. And he said, "I used to think that when you go to a funeral, it is such a sad thing and all that." And I said, "In our tradition, we danced." He said that he used to think that was primitive. He had this terrible thing about being primitive. And there I was talking about the Dinkie [during the lecture in London] and telling them about the jollity. You laugh your loudest; nothing sad must happen at a Dinkie. You find that in a lot of our folk songs, where the tune of the song might be sad, the mood is happy. Because it's a Dinkie. The whole Dinkie mood is happy. I always cite songs like "Linstead Market": "Carry mi ackee go a Linstead Market / Not a quattie wut sell." It is a sad thing, you know. But instead of singing it in a doleful mood, you sing it happily.
LB: So even though you're dealing with serious subjects. . .
MISS LOU: Yes, you can think about the Dinkie as a creative center because a lot of our folk songs come from the tradition of the Dinkie. Things like "Judy Drownded" and "Herrin' an' Jerk Pork." The important thing is that whatever the songs, they were topical at the time. Whatever was topical, they would make a song on it, eh.
LB: They are doing that still.
MISS LOU:Yes, the Dinkie goes on, man. The Dinkie really goes on. There can be a time in the Dinkie when you feel sad. If the people notice that there is somebody who is grieving within, and not dancing it off, not moving it off, not bawling it off, word would go around, "Boy, we don't mek her cry yet, you know. She no cry at all yet, you know. We haffi mek her bawl." Most of these things are done in circles, in a ring. Everybody would hold hands, including the grieving person. If it's a woman grieving for her husband or if it is a man grieving for his wife or if it's a parent grieving for a child, that person would be in the circle and hold hands, and in the center of the circle they would put. . .If it is a woman and a child, in the center they would put a woman and a child. And if a child had died, a child in the circle would lie down, as if he were dead. And the crowd would just circle. . .everybody start to sing this doleful song:

Bawl 'oman bawl, yuh baby dead Bawl 'oman bawl, yuh baby dead Bawl 'oman bawl, yuh baby dead Bawl 'oman bawl, yuh baby dead Bawl 'oman bawl.

And they keep up that tune until you hear this scream. The person who was grieving inside screams! And the minute she screams, you know, they hold her. They know she's gone. And they start something that is stronger, a more frivolous beat to get her moving, moving.

So I talked a lot about Dinkie at this lecture demonstration in London, and this fellow came to me and he said, "You know, I experienced that. I came to this country and for years, I never went back home." Then his father died. And the day he heard that his father died, he was so sad. And everything came down on him. And he talked about the number of times he could have really gone back to look at them. And all the things they did for him. And he felt it. And when he got at the airport [in Jamaica], his three brothers came to meet him, and they took him home. And on the way home, near home, he heard the music and the drums. All the time he was grieving inside, you know. And then he said to himself, "My father is dead, and they're dancing." But he never said a word; he just sat down inside the house. And the brothers came in and said to him, "Come and dance." And he said, "No. I am not dancing. How can I dance? My father is dead." And the brothers said, "Yes, your father is dead. Come." They grabbed him, man, and they took him out to the drums. And then he started to move. And the next thing, he was really dancing. And he got into the mood, until he suddenly realized what was happening. He felt so much better after the dance. And he said, "What a great therapy that I had, and yet I never realized how good it is." He said he saw everything in perspective after that."

A Chat with Louise Bennett {1992}

[Louise Bennet [aka Ms Lou] was a much beloved Jamaican poetess who performed her compositions in Jamaican patois]


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 08 Oct 06 - 07:34 PM

Correction:

The first quote in my last post should be attributed to:

Nine night: death and dying in Jamaica - death rituals in Jamaica [American Visions, Oct-Nov, 1996 by Beranrd Burrell]


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 02:46 AM

Being relatively new to Mudcat I might have missed such discussions but I admit to being a little nonplussed about the lack of discussion on Mudcat about the dance aspects of folk lore and music. I've put some comments on dance (when I thought them relevant) into some responses in other threads elsewhere but this thread is the first I've seen which seems to address the topic directly. Thanks Azizi.

In the part of Victoria I grew up in there were several phases of dance activities and styles of dance that I got exposed to. My earliest recollections (1940s) are from the community where my father's extended family were located, in South Gippsland. The community hall had music provided by the Holmes Family Orchestra and the dances were mostly what was described, in Australia, as "Old Time"; various couples dances, occasional quadrilles, some progressive dances.

Couples dances included waltzes as well as dances done to waltz tunes (Pride of Erin, Palma Waltz, St Bernard's Waltz), Gay Gordons, Highland Schottische, Evening Three Step, Military Two Step, Gypsy Tap, Charmaine, Foxtrot and Quickstep, and a few others that I'll probably remember the names of in the shower. The main progressive dance I recall, was the "Barn Dance", done to schottische and march tunes by large circles where couples would form for only 16 bars and then separate. Great for doing your duty by the ancient aunts and getting to know that new girl; 16 bars is just long enough for an introductory bit of conversation. The Lancers and the First Set are the only two quadrilles I can recall being done but I can't recall any details of them.

In the 1950s Victoria was overtaken by the square dance phase; more another time.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:11 AM

Hello, Rowan! Welcome to Mudcat. I'm somewhat of a newbie here also since it this month makes two years that I have been a member.

I agree with you that since music & dance are so interrelated, it would seem that there would be much more information presented and many more Mudcat discussions about dance.

However, there have been a number of archived Mudcat threads on Moorish dancing. Here's a link to one such thread: Origin of Morris Dancing . Under that thread's title, there's a hyperlinked list of related threads on that subject.

And here's a link to an archived Mudcat thread on the Origins of Broom Dancing

In addition, here's a link to a Mudcat thread What is with Ballet? and here's a link on
Teaching children country dancing...

I just found those last two threads by putting the key words
"folk dancing" in the Mudcat search box and hitting "submit".

I've put both of those threads on my "to read" list. And there are other threads listed besides those two.

Still, I think that it would be great to have more threads in which information is provided and discussions are held about continuity & change in specific dance styles, and the origins & meanings of specific dances.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:23 AM

With regard to the origins of dance names, see this excerpt from
Take Our Word For It-Spotlight On Dances

[I had previously quoted part of that excerpt in one of my posts about the limbo dance].

"Listening to the radio on the weekend, we heard a Swedish nykkelharpe virtuoso playing a traditional Swedish dance called the polska. Leaving aside for the moment the discussion of what a nykkelharpe is, it struck us as odd that a dance named polska should be traditionally Swedish. After all, polska is Swedish for "Polish". This got us thinking about dances and how they migrate far beyond their national borders. A real Polish dance is the polonaise (French for "Polish") as are the mazurka (from Polish mazurka, "woman of the Polish province Mazovia", via French masurka), the cracovienne (French for "woman of Cracow") and the varsovienne (French for "woman of Warsaw").

Surprisingly, the polka is not Polish but Czech, the dance being Bohemian and originally called the nimra. It has been suggested that polka was a corruption of Czech pulka, "half", a characteristic feature being its short "half steps". Just to add to the confusion, when this dance was introduced to England in the 1840s, it was considered synonymous with the schottische which takes its name from the German phrase der schottische Tanz, "the Scottish dance". The schottische is not actually Scottish. Its origins are uncertain but are not within the British Isles. And the pronunciation doesn't help, either. Although most people pronounce the word shot-EESH, as though it were French, the French call a schottische a scottish. The highland (or Balmoral) schottische was a later (1880) Scottish invention and the military schottische is American.

The polka is by no means the only instance of linguistic confusion regarding dances. The word tango originally referred to a Spanish gipsy dance of Moorish origins which is completely unrelated to the Argentine tango. Speaking of Moorish dances, the traditional English morris dance is actually a "Moorish dance", probably taking its name from the Dutch Moorsche dans. The dance which is known in the U.S. as the cha-cha is known in Cuba, its country of origin, as the cha-cha-cha. This dance developed from the elegant danzón which itself originated when slaves from Africa played the Spanish contradanza in a syncopated manner. Contradanza is not originally a Spanish word, being the Spanish form of the French contre-danse. This would seem to make sense in French ("against-dance") as two rows of dancers face each other, but actually it is a corruption of the English "country dance".

In the days of slavery in the U.S., African dances introduced by the slaves were sometimes known as Congo minuets. The West Indian limbo dance, in which each dancer in turn attempts to pass under a low bar, is also thought to have been introduced from Africa. It may well have developed from a ritual dance as its name is believed to be a form of legba or legua, the name of the supreme god in certain West African religions. Another dance that has its origin in African religion is the mambo which gets its name from mamaloa, the Haitian creole word for a voudun priestess. The Haitian word for a male voudun priest is babaloa. Just as we turned the Creole word voudun into "voodoo", we also turned babaloa into babaloo. A song by this name will be familiar to all fans of Ricky Ricardo, the conga-drummer husband of Lucy in the "I Love Lucy" show. It may come as a surprise to some that the conga-drum was not so called until the 1920s. In Cuba it is called the tumba or tumbadora, depending on its pitch, and Puerto Rico has a similar, but smaller, drum called the quinto. Most Americans had seen nothing like these drums until the conga dance craze of the 1920s, hence they were all called conga-drums. But whence the term conga dance? It comes from the Spanish word conga meaning" a Congolese woman". Isn't it odd how so many dances are named "woman of [place]"?"

-snip-

Btw- The comment that "legba or legua [is] the name of the supreme god in certain West African religions" is incorrect. Legba {Elegba; Eleggua, Esu etc}was/is not considered the Supreme God in the Fon and Yoruba religions {Benin [Dahomey] and Nigeria, West Africa]. Instead, Legba was/is considered an important orisha {Force} of the Supreme God. One name for the Supreme God in the Yoruba religion {Ifa} is Oludumare.

Btw2: It's helpful to think of these Forces {orishas} as being similar to the Egyptian, Greek, and Roman deities. For instance, there are stories about the escapades of thee West African gods and goddesses similar to the stories about the Greek gods and goddesses etc.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Azizi
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 08:40 AM

Though it is somewhat off-topic, here is a quote from http://www.religioustolerance.org/voodoo.htm about the name "voodoo"

"Vodun (a.k.a. Vodoun, Voudou, Voodoo, Sevi Lwa) is commonly called Voodoo by the public. The name is traceable to an African word for "spirit". Vodun's can be directly traced to the West African Yoruba people who lived in 18th and 19th century Dahomey. Its roots may go back 6,000 years in Africa. That country occupied parts of today's Togo, Benin and Nigeria. Slaves brought their religion with them when they were forcibly shipped to Haiti and other islands in the West Indies."

-snip-

I've known people who are members of the Yoruba religion. They usually refer to there religion as Yoruba {perhaps because I'm an outsider}. I've also read books which indicate that the correct term for that religion is "Ifa".

Are "Ifa" and "Vodoun" aspects of the same religion? I think so but I'm not sure. See these quotes on Ifa and Vodoun from http://members.aol.com/porchfour/religion/african.htm

"For the most part African spiritual traditions in the Americas derived from two or three major cultures in ancestral Africa, the Yoruba culture of Nigeria, Benin and neighboring areas being perhaps of greatest influence. The major faith found among the Yoruba people is called Ifa (it is also a name for God, known also as Olorun or Olodumare). Orishas constitute the pantheon of deities (emissaries of Olorun) in Ifa. On the Internet, websites may speak of Yoruba faith, Orisha worship, Ifa religion. These are, essentially, synonyms for the same thing....

Another major strand of African spirituality in the New World is Vodou, also known as Vodun, Voodoo (pejorative), Vodoun and other spellings. This specialization of derived faith has its roots in Benin (where it was formally recognized by the government in 1989) and areas to the west of Yorubaland in Africa. Perhaps to a larger degree than in the case of Ifa and Kongo belief systems, it has been influenced by Roman Catholic traditions as well as by the Spiritism movement espoused in the 1800s, by H.L.D. Rivail (1804-69) in France under the banner of Kardecism (so named after a Druidic spirit."

-snip-

That article provides additional information about other African and African derived religions. If you are interested in that subject, it's a good read.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Bunnahabhain
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 09:10 AM

Evening Three Step That makes more sense. It's currently known as an Eva three step in Scotland, but evenening actually means something..

The main progressive dance I recall, was the "Barn Dance", done to schottische and march tunes by large circles where couples would form for only 16 bars and then separate. For some reason, this is the Canadian barn dance to us....

Trusting any one source isn't sensible on this, as it's all open to intrepretaition. Fort instance, the general thinking on the Anglophone country dance is that it is a corruption of the French contre dance, and not the other way round as quoted above.

And as for dances moving about, modern dance festivals really don't help matters. You put a dozen different dance sides together for a week, and you find Country A is doing steps from Country B, in Choreography from Country C to Music from Country D. This is normal, but the national drinks of A to H tend to be involved somewhere.


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Subject: RE: Dance To The Music
From: Rowan
Date: 09 Oct 06 - 07:42 PM

Azizi,
Thanks for the thread links. I'd already seen them and, although I used to play for Morris in the past and my younger daughter has taken up Scottish Highland dancing (with its sharp version of broom dancing) I thought I'd leave those discussions to the experts.

Bunnahabhain,
My experience of social dances in Australia is that dance names are subjected to the same forces as tune names and song names, providing endless material for thesis writers. I don't pretend to know where (what Australians call) the barn dance originated nor under which name but I'm sure various 'catters will have some excellent information to throw into the ring. With a bit of an academic background I used to maintain quite a reference collection of relevant material but it got nicked (= half-hinched, ie stolen; tugging the forelock to various other current threads) and since then I try to research facts when I have the time but I'm on surer ground when trotting out stuff from my personal experiences.

There were several phases when American material came into Australians' experience in force. There were Americans (now called AfroAmericans) in the First Fleet, there was a vast influx of them during the goldrushes starting in the 1850s, minstrel shows toured Australia after the Civil War, one future US President worked at Kalgoorlie in the 30s and there were great mobs of US servicemen ("Over paid, over sexed and over here") during WWII. With the exception of the future US President all had some influence on Australian culture at the time. I can't say there was huge Canadian influence but you never know; we were both part of the British Empire and are still both part of the Commonwealth of Nations so bits of transference would have occurred.

Cheers, Rowan


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