Jook Continuum - a major draw for young Negroes Church main social center with its ban on dancing Jook Joints, dance joints for free blacks, where social dances evolved Dance Halls Honky Tonks After Hours – Buffet affairs House Parties
Harlem Nightclubs and Ballrooms Savoy, Renaissance, Alhambra New dances included Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, Shag, Suzi Q, Camel Walk, and Truckin
Jook Continuum Issues of identity - How did the jook joints help shape African-American identity? What is the jook continuim?
Circumstances of slavery Blacks lived together and danced openly and in secret in their quarter a homogeneous environment decided African-American Post slavery - some blacks headed for nearest urban area, most stayed rural as share croppers Distinctions between family/community blurred because of the constant slave trade
Emancipation- forced major changes in rural black life Families dispersed into separate living quarters Landowners still exerted control over their sharecropping work force Didn ’ t bear the burden of paying for housing or food African-Americans moved around the south, so did entertainers
Emancipation- forced major changes in rural black life Reconstruction, sacred and secular had separated, Benevelant societies arose to fill need for social events Churches became primary social gathering place Emancipation Day Celebration/Juneteenth Day -June 19
End of Reconstruction 1877 Segregation entrenched vigilante violence Lynchings were common, economic depression
Jook Houses, Honky Tonks, After hours Joints Linked to peasant class African-American Night clubs that offered drinking, music, dancing and gambling, some prostitution Classic jook in small town, shoddy confines, First dance arena after emancipation nurtured the black regional culture Music provided by guitars in south, in north pianos predominant Dances - snake hips, charleston, skinny, funky butt, twist, slow drag, buzzard lope, black bottom, the itch fish tail and the grind
Honky Tonks Urban versions of jook joints comes to refer to a kind of music Jelly Roll Morton - more up tempo suited many African-American dances Patrons differed - mostly laborers, railroad workers, loggers, not farmers Music more sophisticated, blues and early jazz dancing Honky Tonk dances were part of a cultural cycle
After hours Joints - more urban and upscale Called buffet houses because of variety of offerings included drugs, erotic shows, homosexual encounters Popular with entertainers and Pullmen porters – upper class blacks Dance styles responded to the fancier dress and costly hairdo ’ s People wanted to sweat only so much Dances became more upright, dance = sexuality and pleasure Partner dancing becomes more isolated and individual
House Parties, responded to need to pay the rent Temporary events as the need arose Food, drink, dance and music, often live or from a Victola or radio Gambling, run by a pro-took a take 4-10% Rent parties even more intimate than jooks, again free of white eyes, Dances -charleston, shimmy shake etc, cutting up or embellishing vernacular steps was important
Roadshows in the South Three big ones - Plant and Tom shows In Old Kentucky, white with black musicians and dancers Friday night dance contests, on tour, anyone could enter Black Patti ’ s Troubadours
TOBA Theatre Owners Booking Association Tough on Black Actors A circuit for young talent to mature Bill Robinson, Eddie Rector, Pete Nugent, “ if you couldn ’ t dance you were out instantly ” Not a place to make money, but to belong, sense of community and to learn the business.
Shuffle Along 1921, Black Broadway hit that initiated the Harlem Renaissance Written by actor dancers Flourney Miller and Aubrey Lyles Lyricist/composer Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake Starred Florence Mills with young Josephine Baker in the chorus Included popular songs and chorus line dancing, Introduced tap dance to white audiences.
Shuffle Along Encouraged changes in all Musical theatre- especially toward chorus lines that could dance. Hard time getting show launched After NYC run – a huge hit and long tour – still faced resistance by unknown theatre producers
Shuffle Along Main achievement, introduction of the strong 16 chorus girl line Show opened up opportunity for future black musicals and for black dancers and singers to emerge in white arena Negro vernacular dancing recognized as a significant influence for American dance
Running Wild - 1923 Main achievement, making the Charleston the rage Introduced the Broadway version of the Charleston with a song “ Charleston ” that popularized it Actually 1st introduction in Liza – 1922
Savage Dance - A later sensation of Josephine Baker
Chocolate Dandies, Dixie to Broadway Featured Josephine Baker, 1924, 96 shows this tour was smooth and successful Not the struggle for acceptance of Shuffle Along Reviews criticized the white Broadway themes and tendencies. This contributed to a lull in black musicals though mid 20s The dancing remained, had changed all future Broadway dance routines