Monthly Archives: January 2020

African American Dance Culture


African American culture is multifaceted, but its distinct contribution to last century American culture has been musical. Blues, jazz and rap became global phenomena, but each was Black in its origins. In each case, folk or popular dance was integral towards the development of the musical form. Dance A brief history and traditions of African dance and movement focus on communication. According to , African music is really a way of life for the inhabitants of the culture. music is used to represent the experiences of life; a method to heal sick individuals; a mode of prayer towards the gods encouraging the growth of crops; along with a way to tell the stories and spread the traditions of the African culture. Ceremonial Ceremonial dance is an integral part of Africa's history. According to , the value of music has encompassed every aspect of African life throughout time. Ceremonies that contain symbolic dance include transition from childhood to adulthood, alterations in status within the community and social changes for example marriage. Slavery In Africa, music played an essential role in everyday life. Africans used musicto celebrate special events such as birth, marriage along with other rites of passage. Additionally they use it to emulate everyday events for example planting and harvesting crops. When slave traders brought Africans towards the Americas, the slaves in order to stay near to their roots. Slave owners banned the dancing. Since the definition of dancing was to raise your feet, the slaves adapted and commenced using shuffling movements, waving their arms and moving their torsos. Minstrel Shows The plantation dances soon started to show up on stage through minstrel shows. The very first time, African-American dance was introduced to white audiences in good sized quantities. Black and white performers composed the minstrel shows. They were often making fun from the black population, depicting them as lazy and ignorant. The white performers wore blackface when playing the function of an African-American. Although they were making fun of themselves, the black performers were drawing using their culture and displaying their original styles. Vaudeville eventually replaced minstrel shows, so that as African-Americans gained freedom and equal rights, the minstrel shows disappeared completely. Harlem Renaissance Success within the theater continued and played a huge role in legitimizing black dance and its performers. The success raised the bar for black and white performers alike. The very first time, the white population started to imitate the dances they saw. "The Creole Show" introduced an extensive white audience to the dance known as the cakewalk. Along with the theater revival, African-American dance moved in to the clubs, and Harlem was the middle of the action. In the 1920s and '30s, art, music, literature, were having a rebirth in the African American culture. Famous clubs such as the Cotton Club were the middle of the dance movement in which the African-American community experimented with dance styles for example swing, Lindy Hop and the Charleston.