Josephine Baker Influence On African American Dance

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Before this unit, black dancing often differed from whites. First off, many of them seemed more comedic, Josephine Baker from Le Revue Des Revues. Her innovated performance brought her stardom, for she was the first African America international entertainer. She used her whole body in dances, freely moving around. In the 1920s, people deemed her dance ‘savage’ due to the lack of structure and revealing clothes. She received much criticism but celebrated her freedom. At the time, many people still performed very structured dances, like ballroom dancing, yet many dances whites performed originated from African Americans, like the Charleston and Jazz. They modified the Charleston to fit their ‘standards’. Many of African American dances seemed …show more content…

Their movements were slower, and their music sounded more ‘soulful’. They did not perform fast dances, and unlike before, their performances seemed more serious. Like the Jackson 5 clip, the background singers perform the same movements. Their feet cross over then they swing their hands up and down in a controlled fashion. If you slowed down Coles and Atkins clip, then Jackson 5 and Coles and Atkins performed similar dances minus the tapping. Cole and Atkins cross their feet multiple times, moving their arms in the same motion, and then they spin. The music gives off a free vibe, like Josephine Baker, for their dance looks choreographed and improvised. I think during this time music started to slow dance, and it was not as fast of a beat. Another difference, audiences became more integrate. Motown’s co-produce Smokey Robinson said: “I would come to the South in the early days of Motown and the audiences would be segregated. Then they started to get the Motown music and we would go back and the audiences were integrated and the kids were dancing together and holding hands” This shows the increasing respect for African American

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