1. Are there other areas or activities of movement demonstrating the qualities of African-American d

  

1. Are there other areas or activities of movement demonstrating the qualities of African-American dance not addressed in this chapter? 2. Choose two movement forms in this category you personally enjoyed and justify your choices.
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[ Music ]
^B00:00:26
>> Hi, we’re on our last leg of these lectures. I’ve enjoyed myself. I really
have. And I hope you have too and I hope that you can remember and think about
these people and I’m sure that eventually you will see them somewhere in life and
you will remember their contributions.
Now we finished basically jazz dance, but there are three people who I’d like for
you to know in the jazz dance area and they are considered specialists in Broadway.
Now when I say that, what I mean is that basically these performers, even though
they have learned all kinds of different dances, they seem to get most of their
work on Broadway or doing Broadway shows that have been converted into your movies.
So there are three I’d like for you to know.
The first one is Eartha Kitt and then we will go further into Ben Vereen and Paula
Kelly.
So let’s try to look at these slides so that you can see what their names are.
First slide, Eartha Kitt. Eartha Kitt, Timbuktu. She was original Catwoman in the
Batman tv series. Paula Kelly, was in Sweet Charity and Night Court, and Ben
Vereen was in Fosse, Pipin, and All that Jazz.
Now these three have made a mark in the area of Broadway dance. Now, when we
talked about Eartha Kitt, Eartha Kitt was also an original Dunham dancer. So she
really started in the modern style of dance, doing ethnic forms of dance. And then
she started singing. So you can also see her that movie Boomerang. We talked
about that with Jeffrey Holder. She also makes a cameo, an appearance, in
Boomerang. Now Timbuktu we talked about with Jeffrey Holder again and Jeffrey
Holder choreographed that for Broadway and she was one of the stars of that. Now
you probably don’t remember or some of you might, I don’t know the ages, but there
was one time when Batman was on television and the Catwoman was the original
Catwoman, was Eartha Kitt. And she had sort of a growl when she would talk.
Now with Paula Kelly, Paula Kelly can be seen in the movie, Sweet Charity and she
was also on a television show, Night Court. But she is an exquisite dancer and
very exciting and when she danced Sweet Charity, she did this dance with two other
people. I think it was Shirley MacLaine and Chita Rivera. And they dance on this
roof in these heels and it’s quite exciting. So if you ever see Sweet Charity, you
will recognize her because she’s the only African-American in that particular
movie.
And then Ben Vereen, who is a wonderful performer. He sings and dances and he
worked a lot with Bob Fosse. And Bob Fosse you might know, from Chicago. The
movie Chicago has been out. Well Bob Fosse was the one who choreographed
originally Chicago for the Broadway stage. And he used Ben Vereen in a lot of his
shows, Pipin was one of them. And also this Fosse is actually is on videos and you
can basically see the kinds of movements that Fosse does. Very sort of balletic
but very abstract at the same time. And also Ben Vereen was in All that Jazz,
which was loosely autobiographical about Bob Fosse’s life.
Okay, so we have gone through this jazz period and now I just want to kind of talk
a little bit about some of the movements of other arenas that African-Americans
have had a foothold in and have really made some inroads.
So we’ll go to our first one. Let’s look at the slide. Basketball. You have the
Harlem Globetrotters and the Nike commercial. With basketball, basketball of
course is a sport. The intention of the sport has been expanded in the movements
that are used in order to get the ball into the basket and a lot of those movements
have been basically created on the street again. Remember we said a lot of dance
has to do with the street. That people take and make it palatable. The middle
class make it palatable for the elite or the masses so to speak. Well a lot of
basketball that was done on the street, street ball, some of those qualities have
been incorporated into your professional basketball. So you see these movements
that have developed out of putting a ball in a basket. It’s just not put the ball
in the basket but there are so many different ways of doing that. Dunking and
those kinds of things. So those have basically have been created in the AfricanAmerican community.
Now with the Nike commercial, you have these rhythms that people using with the
basketball. It’s called freestyle and freestyle is basically just putting your
flavor so to speak of, your personality, in the basketball movements. And in doing
that, there’s been created a lot of rhythmic sounds that come out from the
basketball and so with the Nike commercial, the creators decided that they would
zero in on that. Now when you see the commercial or if you see the commercial on
television, you’ll see that there are some places that are very synchronized with
the ball players and those spots were choreographed by Savion Glover. I mentioned
that before.
So let’s go on to another aspect that is becoming popular. Let’s go to our slides.
And we’ll go into stepping. Stepping is with the use of the African boot dance is
where stepping actually originated from. You have your fraternities and your
sororities in demonstrations. And stepping out and showing out in 1980. Let me
just explain all that. Your stepping came out of the African boot dance. You will
see footage, I believe, on that or maybe you’ll see the stepping footage. But
basically Africans sometimes would have boots, depending on what their work was,
and they started to do movements where they would slap the boots and they would
slap their hands and their bodies and they made these movements that were
coordinating with their work. Remember we were talking about the chain gangs?
Sort of that same kind of principal. So they had these boots that they were using
to work in and they started getting rhythms with that and then it kind of evolved
here in America, once it was introduced to American society and the public. It was
taken and it was used in the fraternities and sororities. Now originally these
fraternities and sororities started because there were a lot of African-American
people, students, who were in universities that were predominately European
American. And so in order for them to get together and have some kind of unity,
they did in terms of meeting and then they named themselves with Greek lettering.
And eventually around in the 30’s and 40’s, they started to do movements that were
characteristic these different sort of societies that were established. The
fraternities were full of men. Sororities were for the women. And they would do
these, what they called demonstrations or they would demonstrate on campuses. The
would do it on campuses that were predominately European American and also on
predominately African-American campuses. And so sometimes on the campus you would
see that a certain fraternities or sororities would demonstrate. In other words,
they would show the essence of their particular society. And sometimes they would
use attire. They would dress them in certain kinds of attire to really bring more
attention to their society so people would pledge to come into them.
Around into the 80’s, it was becoming very flamboyant and the movement was
basically earth bound. It had that African feel to it and as it started to evolve,
it became more and more complicated and sometimes they would even use props like
canes. It was called cane tapping. There was a commercial that uses that. I
believe it was with the Kappas. But this kind of movements started to evolve so
that they had these shows and these competitions between the different fraternities
and sororities. It is quite exciting to watch. They are called step shows.
Let’s go back to our slides. We have, again, I spoke about the 80’s, these
spectacles were to generate crowd appeal. They started using contemporary hit
tunes. The use of the canes was called cane tapping and it was rhythmically
complicated.
Now with your stepping and we’re going to go next into the double dutch. There
were these rhythmically complicated movements that were in your stepping and also
with the stepping, you had the use of sometimes there would be the voice where they
would also chant so to speak, whatever chant they have made for their particular
society.
Now we’re going to go into the double dutch and the double dutch is with your two
ropes. It’s not like just the plain jump rope, but it’s two ropes. And the two
ropes move together and the person will jump into the middle and they have to avoid
the ropes as they jump. This was basically introduced in New York in the 1600’s by
the Dutch. It started to evolve into the African-American community because of
just the absence of, say, sports that could be done by women.
So let’s go to our slides and get a little bit of information about the double
dutch. Your double dutch, you have the two ropes. In 1973, you had the
competitions. David Walker started these competitions and the reason why he
started it was because he felt the boys had sports and the girls didn’t have any
sports to do. Because at that time there wasn’t a lot of girls going into the
sports so they started doing the double dutch and this started in New York by the
Dutch settlers. Again, in the 1600’s. With the double dutch, you find that it’s
not just with young people. Double dutch is really with older people. There’s a
group of ladies who are in their 40’s and 50’s that would and still do this double
dutch and they do it first for fun and for exercise, but then they became so
proficient in it that they started traveling around and they did it in different
communities and were recognized for it.
Now as double dutch started to evolve, like I said, in 1973, when it first started
to do the actual competitions, these competitions started of course to perfect the
double dutch. I call it dancing but it really starts to be dancing. I mean they
actually can dance while they are jumping the ropes. It’s very exciting to do, to
see, and to do. And there’s a lot of rhythmic, again, rhythmic quality in this
particular movement.
With the double dutch, let’s go back to our slides. We have also emerging your
cheerleading with your double dutch that started to emerge, we also had things that
would incorporate movements that would go into other sectors of the community. And
one of those is your cheerleading. And with your cheerleading, you have hip-hop
that is incorporated in the movement and the African-American schools add flavor to
their choreography.
Now I was, back in the day, a cheerleader, and at that time we would use a lot of
movements that represented our heritage and our culture, the African culture. And
that would be incorporated in the movements. Now even more so, because
cheerleading has evolved so much that there is so much movement now that is
entailed in cheerleading, that actually cheerleaders now have to study dance in
order to be on a squad. So your dance has really come into the whole cheerleading
sector and has evolved in something that is very spectacular and is something that
is sort of a spectator sport or art. And so you have again, the African-American
influence in your cheerleading.
Now when you have that African-American influence in the cheerleading, the
cheerleading which is usually for teams, has evolved even to affect your what they
call drumlines, which will be the next thing that we will talk about.
Let’s look at our slides. You have your drumlines which is your show style of
bands which is high energy. And it’s different from your corps marching because
it’s less formal. Your corps marching is more formal and there’s a military style.
William Foster was the first to start with this kind of spectacular band exhibition
and this was at Florida A&M University and he was considered, he was so good, he
was considered the Dean of American Band Directors. The music is memorized. The
instrument has to be played. You have dance. You have to stay in line. You must
have uniformity and it must be synchronized.
Now with your drumline, which is extremely exciting, and it’s becoming more popular
and it’s getting a little bit more play because of the movie Drumline. And you’ll
see some footage and some excerpts, but this is very exciting. It was started
because basically through an accident in a rehearsal in a band rehearsal, and it
started to evolve into sort of an exhibition kind of show. And originally the A&M
University wanted to make money for their uniforms. And so they decided to do sort
of this competition between two schools and have people to come to see the
competition. Well it became so popular, that each year they started to have
competitions with different universities and different schools. Basically you find
your drumlines in your African-American communities, your African-American schools,
universities, and colleges. And when they come together, they could be like 200,
300 people in a band. It could be that large. They have to focus on what they’re
doing. They have to be synchronized. They have to memorize the music. They can’t
go out with any stands. They have to memorize the music. They have to be able to
stay in line. We’re talking about 300 people together moving. They have to be
able to know the sequence, the dancing because with the drumline, there is such
flamboyance, there is such an expansion of movement. Remember we talked about the
single unit and the multi-unit. With the single unit, you have basically your
corps bands, which are very formal and they’re pretty much upright. Your drumline
is more of a show band. And so therefore, they utilize all kinds of movement.
They utilize modern incorporated with jazz movements. They utilize hip-hop. The
music is contemporary. Sometimes it is as extensive as going back to say, Flight
of the Bumble Bee or going even further back to jazz music. But the movement is so
expansive that they can be standing up one minute. They can be down on the floor,
cross their legs. They can do movements that they can actually take their
instruments and move them around their bodies. They can use the cymbals in all
kinds of ways. It is absolutely exciting to see. So if you get a chance to
actually go live to see a drumline competition, I would encourage you to do that.
So let’s look again at our slides. We have the movement can be traditional in your
drumline with popular movement added to it. And again, the music range is from the
Flight of the Bumble Bee to the latest pop tunes. It is exciting to see how
qualities of the African-American, the African and out of the country of Africa,
how these qualities have been incorporated in the movements of dance and other
movements that are evolving to be considered to be dance. We talked about African
dance itself. We talked about ancient Egyptian dance. We talked about dances on
the plantation and we talked about dances in the concert forms, in the concert
realms like tap and modern and ballet and jazz.
So we have really expanded and we have gone through sort of a bird’s eye view of
how African dance has infiltrated into all styles of dance and how the AfricanAmerican has been a great contributor to dance.
And I just hope that you have enjoyed this. I thank you for the interest that you
have had in this course and I know that even in the future, you will run across
some of these people that we have talked about and you will know a little bit more
about them. And remember that knowledge is power.
And so I will see you maybe at another time in another course. But for this
course, we are signing off and I have enjoyed every bit of it and I hope that you
will have a wonderful, blessed day, life and I will see you later. Alright, bye.
^E00:23:35

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