Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dance in the Harlem Renaissance

In the Harlem Renaissance, as well as any other era, a particular kind of dance came about as different kinds of music progressed. The popularity of jazz music as well as the debut of the Shuffle Along in 1921 piloted the subsequent incorporation of jazz dance into the local clubs (e.g. Cotton Club, Apollo Theater, and the Savoy Ballroom).This specific dance required the use of the entire body, it is said to be a concoction of European steps and the indigenous African body movements. Later, a different version of jazz dance came along, called the Charleston. It was also of African decent, and most movements came from recognizable black folk dances which incorporated intricate moves. The Lindy Hop Dance, containing facets of the Charleston, was the most famous dance throughout the 1920’s, but was overshadowed in the 1930’s by the swing.
Many great dancers sprouted from the ordinary neighborhoods through out Harlem, some even went on in pursuing their dancing careers in the glamorous Hollywood and other parts of the world; however, many had difficulties with racist remarks that were often brought about. Josephine Baker was a successful dancer of the era, well-known through out most of Harlem, she later moved on to Europe to greater pursue her career as a professional dancer. Fayard and Harold Nicolas, also known as the Nicolas Brothers, are thought to be one two of the greatest tap dancers that lived. They went "From Harlem to Hollywood,” starting their career at the Cotton Club, shortly after they were performing in Hollywood and touring the world (Africa, South America, etc.).

[By: Daglys Rivas]

Works Cited
"Performers of the Harlem Renaissance." The College of New Jersey Home. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. <>.

"The Official Nicholas Brothers Website." The Official Fayard Nicholas Website. Web. 10 Oct. 2010. <>.

"The Official Josephine Baker Website." CMG Worldwide. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. <>.

Garcia, Ercina, Erica Messmer, Caryn Monta, and Kristina Odumes. "Harlem Entertainment." The College of New Jersey Home. Web. 08 Oct. 2010. <>.

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