Educational CyberPlayGround ®


Mary Wigman Mother of Modern Dance

Traude Schrattenecker 1925 - 2005
studied and performed with Mary Wigman then developed the dance pedagogy with Carl Orff and Keetman for Orff Schulwerk. I studied Orff Schulwerk in Canada 1970 with Traude Schrattenecker.

Royal Conservatory of Music University of Toronto
Schrattenecker taught Karen Ellis [certified Orff instructor 1973] also founder of the Educational CyberPlayGround.

The Physics of Mosh Pits at Heavy Metal Concerts (Explained by Cornell Grad Students) "dancers collide with each other randomly and at a distribution of speeds that resembles particles in a two-dimensional gas," Absolute genius.

Choreography is Copyrightable

Simone Harris President of 360ARTISTS and Founder of the Choreography is Copyrightable project.


Roots of U.S. Folk Dance

TAGS #First Nation # African American #Tap #flatfoot #buck #hoedown #tap dancing #square dance #clogging #Southern dancin #Native American #Eastern European Folk Dance Culture


Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance. By Phil Jamison. 2015. Champaign: University of Illinois Press. 280 pages. ISBN: 978-0-252-03927-0 (hard cover), 978-0-252-08081-4 (soft cover)


Hoedowns are the roots of southern square dancing. Jamison describes how Southerners blended elements from Scotch reels, English country dancing, French cotillions and quadrilles, plus African and Native American dances, to form a uniquely regional dance style. Along the way, he looks at the origin and development of dance calling (far more African- American influence than is generally understood), offers numerous observations on the development of southern fiddling and fiddle music, and presents a very plausible theory on the origin of American "Minstrelsy" (Americans of European descent were inspired to take up the 5-string banjo through encounters with the African-American musicians who plied their art along the Ohio River).
Cecil Sharp was fixated on the notion that the inhabitants of Appalachia had retained a legacy of purely English folk arts and customs, and failed to realize that the dances and dance-routines he witnessed were actually amalgams of diverse cultural influences. An example is the Virginia Reel; which is an amalgam of couples' dances such as the waltz, polka, and mazurka; and "mixer" dances such as the Paul Jones and Broom Dance.

Wisconsin Public Television has produced a new film, Polka!
It was inspired largely by Richard March's recent book, Polka Heartland, and he does a great job on-screen as a talking head and accordionist. I'm in there too in a supporting role. Mostly it's about the music, dance, musicians, and events. Despite being a little heavy on the "happy music" theme, it's well-paced and edited.

The evolution of the cakewalk, which became a dance craze late in the nineteenth century: "Here were upper class whites imitating black performers, who had patterned themselves after white minstrel performers in blackface, portraying African American slaves, who in turn were satirizing the white Southern aristocracy!" (127-28)
The origin and development of southern step-dancing, or "clogging," which has British and Irish step- and hornpipe-dancing at its root, but also incorporates movements and rhythms from African-American and Native-American cultures (at different points during its history southern step-dancing has been referred to variously as "breakdowns," "hoedowns," and "buckdancing"). Step- and square-dancing traditions intersect when clogging steps are used to negotiate square dance routines - a style of performance that first appears in the late eighteenth century and still thrives today among the square dance "teams" who perform at contests or on stage. Speaking of which, the author is able to offer an important personal perspective to his description and analysis of contemporary developments in southern step-dancing: for many years he performed as a member of a highly innovative precision dancing team called the Green Grass Cloggers.
In terms of southern square dancing and clogging, accounts coming from plantations and urban balls need to be considered separately from those describing back-country barn dances and fiddlers' conventions. Because after the second quarter of the twentieth century community square dancing in the South was almost entirely superseded by variants adapted to competition and performance, it becomes extremely difficult for a contemporary observer to extrapolate back in time from his or her personal experiences.

Russia's King of Folk Dance Turns 100 By MARIA DANILOVA, Associated Press Writer Jan 27, 2006
He has amazed Americans with rock 'n' roll and square dance. He has infatuated the West with Russian culture at a time of deep hostility. He has won standing ovations across the globe. And he has lived to celebrate his 100th birthday.
Igor Moiseyev transformed folk dance into a legitimate genre for world choreography. As he celebrates his centennial this week, viewers, art critics and presidents alike salute him. Moiseyev, who turned 100 Jan. 21, brought traditional folk dance onto the professional stage by combining ethnic moves with classic ballet. His numbers — from the Russian peasant girl dance to the Greek Sirtaki — are hailed for promoting peace and tolerance by showing that cultures are numerous and each is unique. "He invented a new genre in world choreography — the genre of folk dance," said Yelena Shcherbakova, director of the Moiseyev Dance Company, who was a dancer for over 20 years. "He was the first man to see that folk dance — the people's art — has a lot of rich material that can be made into real theater." Born in 1906 in Kiev, now the capital of independent Ukraine, Moiseyev enrolled in a dance school at age 14 reportedly because his parents wanted to keep the street-loving adolescent busy. He showed such talent that he was soon transferred to the Bolshoi Theater choreography school and became a Bolshoi dancer in 1924. However, he was soon ousted from the classical theater for his love of daring experiments and began to choreograph and direct independent performances. After staging a series of productions for a Moscow theater studio, Moiseyev toured all 15 republics of the Soviet Union and in 1937 founded the Moiseyev Dance Company, which he heads to this day. The company's first performance was the groundbreaking "Dances of the Peoples of the USSR," a colorful performance that explored the music, culture, traditions and costumes of the numerous ethnic groups of the former Union. Other countries around the world quickly followed suit by founding their own folk dance companies, which are said to have been inspired by Moiseyev.
"He turned ethnic dance into an authentic art; he awakened folk dance, which was asleep," said Marina Timasheva, an art critic for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Moiseyev is also credited with pioneering the genre of gymnastic performance — a blend of dance and acrobatic elements — which for decades has been used in parades and celebrations in Russia and throughout the world.
Although he repeatedly refused to join the Communist Party, he was favored by Soviet leaders including dictator Joseph Stalin, and his dance company was the first to travel abroad, even before the Bolshoi dancers. "They (Soviet leaders) very quickly and very wisely understood that there is no better way of winning over the West than by introducing them to the Moiseyev dance," Timasheva said and they proved right.
Moiseyev's company caused a sensation on its first tour in the United States in 1958 with a parody on rock 'n' roll. It was Moiseyev's humorous take on what was then America's most popular dance. Doing parody was a bow to Soviet censors, who otherwise were likely to forbid the show, since the dance itself was banned as an element of bourgeois Western culture. But the American audience loved the performance. "He is the ambassador of peace," Shcherbakova said. Moiseyev could not be interviewed for this story due to poor health. Looking very frail, Moiseyev, who is rarely seen in public these days, made an appearance at a Moscow anniversary concert in his honor on Wednesday. Two aides walked Moiseyev, clad in a dark suit and wearing a black beret, to his seat and he then struggled to lift himself from the chair to salute an applauding audience. He was accompanied by his wife Irina, 80, also a former dancer. As he looked at his students' performance with his usual demanding eye, long-braided Russian girls in traditional red tunics and red shoes twirled with robust men in red-belted white robes and long black leather boots. In another number, a Korean folk dance was performed by a flirty girl luring two apparent admirers with a fan.
Moiseyev has staged a record number of over 300 different shows. Aside from folk dances of Russian provinces and ex-Soviet republics, his company also tours the world with Chinese, Jewish, Spanish and Vietnamese-themed shows and thrills local audiences with his own vision of their ethnic dance.

Interdisciplinary Dance Resources

Eastern European Folk Dance Culture

  • Dance Style Locator
  • New York Times documents folk dancing in Iraq is considered an act of courage. On Dangerous Footing in Iraq, Where Dancing Is a Courageous Act. The members of the national dance troupe of Iraq are hoping one day to thrive again as a troupe. But the religiosity sweeping Iraq does not bode well for their future. The members of the national dance troupe of Iraq are performers without an audience. They rehearse daily, but hardly ever put on a show. Yet each turn of the hip and dip at the waist in their choreographed pieces has become weighted with a dangerous new reality, even as they wait for the chaos around them to subside so they can perform again. In todays Iraq, with conservative religious parties and radical militias exerting growing influence over every aspect of life, even dancing is an act of bravery.Society is overwhelmed by these religious ideologies, said Tariq Ibrahim, a male dancer in the Baghdad troupe, the Iraqi National Folklore Group. Now a woman on the street without a head scarf attracts attention. What about a woman onstage dancing?

in the US



Buck Dancing [tap dancing] is a southern style that came before clogging.


Clogging starts in the 1930's in the square dance form.

Lucy Margaret Long lucyl [at] BGSU[dot]EDU
Irish dance in the US, you might be interested in a booklet and documentary video I produced awhile back (1998) on an Irish dance school in the U.S. The video looks at how the dance is transmitted, its historical origins, some of the technical aspects of it, who is involved, their motivations, their relationshiop to Irish ethnicity--basically all of the social and cultural issues that folklorists look at. The booklet includes articles on the history of Irish dance, the community surrounding it, the Riverdance phenomenon (by Mick Maloney), and suggestions for activities and discussions. The video is available through WBGU-TV at Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio.

  • From Shore to Shore Folkstreams video
    A film on Irish immigrant musicians and their offspring, tracing the influences of family and community, ethnic identity, and American popular culture on the traditional music played in contemporary New York City. 1993 -- 57 minutes
  • Chicken Dance: The Ultimate Icebreaker
    To help get folks over feeling afraid to ask questions during a seminar because they are self concious and think they may look silly to their collegues, try starting the session by asking everyone to stand, and play the "Chicken Dance," explain that they should do it to loosen all our limbs before we sit for the long haul (wink wink).
  • The Australian Dance Collection : a Directory of Resources
  • Ballet and Dance Companies on the Web. There are over 1700 links to companies here, browsable by country while the site itself is searchable by keyword.

Mailing Lists for Dance Cross-Cultural Dance Resources information ss-Cultural Dance Resources information exchange

An American Ballroom Companion: John Paul Jones as one of the popular dances in the time range they give as far back as 1820-1899:
Dance Instruction Manuals contains Wehman's complete dancing master and call book: containing a full and complete description of all the modern dances, together with the figures of the german. By J. H. Harvey which lists it in the contents of *Wehman's Collection of Songs, No. 13,Containing 93 Songs*.
A mixer dance form called the Paul Jones, where the radom whistle blows signaled different changes, circle, grand-right-and-left, and change partners.

Paul Jones Whistle blowing

The dance is a mixer where dancers continuously switch partners.


1919 Dancing made easy, by Charles J. Coll and Gabrielle Rosiere
*Paul Jones* is the name used for a number of mixer dances that were popular in the first quarter of the 20th century but continue to be used in traditional dance settings to the present day. One common variation is as follows. At the signal of the caller (who may also be called by other names, such as "prompter", "cuer", or "Master of Ceremonies ), all dancers join their hands to form a circle (or several concentric ones, if crowded), with ladies being to the right of their partners. At the second signal of the caller, the dancers repeatedly do the Grand Right and Left move, well known in square dancing. As a result, the ladies move to the left (clockwise) along the circle, while gentlemen move to the right. At the third signal, dancers dance with the partner whose hand they are holding at the moment. This "third signal" is traditionally the shouted words "Paul Jones", but a whistle or other device can be substituted. This procedure may be repeated "as the master deems it advisable".


Square dance is a folk dance with four couples (eight dancers) arranged in a square, with one couple on each side, beginning with Couple 1 facing away from the music and going counter-clockwise until getting to Couple 4. Couples 1 and 3 are known as the head couples, while Couples 2 and 4 are the side couples. Each dance begins and ends each sequence with "sets-in-order" in the square formation. The dance was first described in 17th century England but was also quite common in France and throughout Europe and bears a marked similarity to Scottish Country Dancing. It has become associated with the United States of America due to its historic development in that country. Nineteen US states have designated it as their official state dance.
The various square dance movements are based on the steps and figures used in traditional folk dances and social dances of the various people who migrated to the USA. Some of these traditional dances include Morris dance, English Country Dance, Caledonians and the quadrille. Square dancing is enjoyed by people around the world, and people around the world are involved in the continuing development of this dance. Square dancers are prompted or cued through a sequence of steps (square dance choreography) by a square dance caller to the beat of music. The caller leads, but usually does not participate in the dance.


Cajun's had the fais-do-dos on Saturday nights which were basically was a house dance.

Why the name 'contra dance'?

English country dancing gained a certain legitimacy in the 17th century. What might have happened next is described by James Hutson in his article "A Capsule Chronicle of Contradancing, Part One," from the Fall 1994 issue of Contra Corners, the newsletter of the California Dance Co-operative:

The French, who thought that they invented country dancing (as well as anything else culturally significant), and who were miffed at the notion that the English should receive credit for anything, converted the name 'country dance' to French contredans (which conveniently translates as 'opposites dance'), then turned around and claimed that the English term was a corruption of the French!

Later, the French term evolved in the young U.S.A. into "contra dance." At least this is one theory. An exchange on this very topic took place on in 1996 and is reproduced in the article, Why Is It Called Contra Dance?



May Day Celebration from the digital commons.


MAYPOLE / MAY DAY DANCE history and the Irish Connection

Comes from the Irish Bile Pole
Beltane marks that winter's journey has passed on and summer has begun, it is a joyous festival as it heralds the arrival of summer in her full garb. However, it is still a precarious time when the crops are still young and tender. People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the sun and his light. Fires, celebration and ritual were an important part of the festivities to ensure the warmth of the sun's light and to promote the fecundity of the earth. On Beltane eve the Celts would build two large Bel fires lit from the nine sacred woods. The bel fire is an invocation to Bel to bring his blessings and protection to the people. The herds were ritually driven between two needle fires built on a knoll to purify, protect them and ensure their fertility before they were taken to the summer grazing lands.The Bel fire is a sacred fire with healing and purifying powers. The fires further celebrate the return of life, fruitfulness to the earth and the burning away of winter. The ashes of Beltane fires were smudged on faces and scattered in the fields. The flames were also used to bless and protect humans. Conversely, it was considered very dangerous for another to be allowed to take fire from one's home on May eve or May day because they would thereby gain power over the inhabitants. In 16th century Ireland a woman who tired to borrow a light from a neighbour was then reckoned to be a witch. In Ireland the sacred Bile tree was the centre of the clan. As the Irish tree of life, the Bile Pole represents the connection between the three worlds. Although no longer the center life, Bile pole has survived as the Beltane maypole. In some areas there are permanent maypoles, perhaps a clan recollection of the bile pole memory. In other areas a new maypole is bought from the wood on Beltane eve. The maypole dance is an important aspect of encouraging the return of fertility to the earth. The pole itself is not only phallic in symbolism but also is the connector of the three worlds. Dancing the maypole during Beltane is a magical experience as it is a conduit of energy, connecting all three worlds at a time when the gateways are most easily penetrable. As people dance around the maypole, the energy it raises is sent down into the earth bringing about her full awakening and fruitfulness.

MayPole Dance People did everything in their power to encourage the growth of the sun and his light. Fires, celebration and ritual were an important part of the festivities to ensure the warmth of the sun's light and to promote the fecundity of the earth.

Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930

MAYPOLE / MAY DAY DANCE ~ Michael McKernan
The 1920s and 30s collegiate Maypole/May Day practices probably developed from the efforts which began around 1900 in N.Y.C. and perhaps other large urban school systems, where elementary and high school students were taught such material as a form of both physical and social education. One of the leaders of the movement to introduce such material was Luther Gulick. It seems to me that he published a book called THE HEALTHFUL ART OF DANCING (or something like that) around 1911, by which time a number of educators had accepted the materials and concepts. Elizabeth Burchenal, sometimes remembered as a founding leader in the 'International Folk Dance' movement, was perhaps in a 2nd generation of that original impulse from around 1900, and was heavily involved in promoting school (and probably) collegiate 'folk' dancing by 1920.
I expect that there were severak other educators / administrators involved in promoting this movement (and other pageantry besides May Day practices). A close look at Gulick and Burchenal should help to identify at least some oF them.
AFAIK, this phenomenon was somewhat of a reaction to immigration, and the high level of 'foreign' students in urban public schools. While it paid considerable attention to 'Anglo-Saxon' heritage, it also seems to have embraced a 'melting pot' concept of blending multiple traditions, especially as expressed in Burchenal's 'folk dance' work.
Distinct from these heavily-institutionalized practices, there is some evidence (such as local newspaper and diary data) of ongoing, vernacular England (and perhaps elsewhere in the USA), in the 19th century and into the early 20th. Most instances I've seen refer to 'Maying,' 'May baskets,' or simply bunches of May flowers--which were gathered by children and left on doorsteps in their neighborhoods.

The following is an excerpt from the diary of a Woodstock VT boy (14 y.o.):
[May 1, 1850 Woodstock, VT]
It is well known around here that all the boys and girls go up onto Mt. Tom the first May .......snip...
a Maying, and I with them, but in coming back I revenged myself by leading them through Hartwell swamp.

This locally 'well known' practice is a good example of the many aspects of life which generally 'went without saying,' and thus, are somewhat difficult to find in historical records. The adult-organized, mass pageantry practices of 50 years later may have arisen in part as a reaction to a perceived disconnect between urban/immigrant children and such vernacular 'American'/'Anglo-Saxon' practices. Of course, elements of ritual disorder (or the ad hoc 'revenge' mentioned by the diarist above), as well as any child-directed activities, could be edited out, or even suppressed by the adults directing the pageants.


Morris Dancing Sat 09-24-05 this occurred last year during the Charlottesville's annual vegetarian festival in Lee Park. The origins of this dance occurred in Victorian England and represent springtime planting, growth etc.

Learn where the Snake Charmer Song came from.
The Streets of Cairo, or the Poor Little Country Maid is a well-known melody. In the United States. Alternate titles for children song using this melody include "The Girls in France", "The Southern Part of France."
The song originally was purportedly written by Sol Bloom, a showman (and later, a U.S. Congressman) who was the entertainment director of the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. It included an attraction called "A Street in Cairo" which featured snake charmers, camel rides and a scandalous dancer known as Little Egypt.
The first five notes of the song are similar to the beginning of a French song named "Colin Prend Sa Hotte" (1719), which in turn resembles note for note an Algerian or Arabic song titled "Kradoutja". The song appears frequently in cartoons when something that is connected with deserts, Arabia, Egypt, belly dancing, or snake charming is being displayed.
The song was introduced to the collective consciousness of the American public a century ago by Sol Bloom, a show business promoter who later became a U.S. Congressman. Bloom was the entertainment director of the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition of 1893, which was celebrating the 400th anniversary of Christopher Columbus' discovery of the New World. One of its attractions, called A Street In Cairo, included snake charmers, camel rides, the infamous dancers that later spawned the legend of Little Egypt, and other exciting things to entertain turn-of-the-century fair-goers. In his prestigious role, he made more money than the President of the United States--$1,000 a week. It was the performances by the dancers at the this fair that brought the "hoochy koochy" dance which is Irish into the North America entertainment world. As with many songs often sung by children, there are wide variations to the common lyrics.

Variant #1

Oh the girls in France
Wear their whiskers in their pants
And the things they do
Would kill a Russian Jew
And the clothes they wear
Would freeze a polar bear.

Do what your mama says
And do what your papa says
But don't split your pants
Doing the Hootchy Kootchy Dance

Variant #2

Oh the girls in France did the hokey cokey dance
Singing Annie put your fanny close to mine:
Oh the girls in Spain did the very, very same
Singing Nellie put your belly close to mine.

Variant #3

There's a place in France where the naked ladies dance.
There's a hole in the wall where the men can see it all.
The way they shake is enough to kill a snake.

Variant #4 (Common in Britain)

There's a place in France where the naked ladies dance.
and the men play drums
on the naked ladies' bums !!
There are alternate endings of the final verse, including:

* But the men don't care 'cause they're in their underwear
* But the men don't care 'cause they like to see them bare
* But the men don't care 'cause they chew their underwear

Variant #5 (Common In United States)

There's a place in France where the naked ladies dance.
There's a hole in the wall where the boys can see it all.
But the ladies don't care 'cause they're in their underwear.

Citations from 1893-95 [snip cites from 1893-95 for "koota-koota", "kuta-kuta", "kutcha-kutcha"]
Mostly referring to the belly-dancers who performed at Chicago's 1893 Columbian Exposition in the "Streets of Cairo" exhibit on the Midway Plaisance. The dancers apparently traveled the country on the vaudeville circuit, or at least spawned imitators who promoters claimed had performed in Chicago. The most common spelling variant is "kouta-kouta":

  • National Police Gazette, Dec 16, 1893, p. 6
    Crowds gathered in cornerns and gazed tremulously at visions of limbs flashing in difficult dances like streaks of lightning. The Koota-Koota dance, adorned with east-side variations, was realistic.
  • Boston Globe, Dec 31, 1893, p. 19 (advt.)
    Why, I've got a stage show for you this week that will fairly make you throw up your hands. There ain't a piece of dead wood in it from start to finish, and to cap the climax I've reengaged Mme. Carre and her famous troupe of Kouta-Kouta dancers for one more week. ...
    This Kouta-Kouta dance is the greatest card that has ever been offered the public. ...
    It created a furor in Chicago, was the talk of the town in New York, and it caused a heap of excitement when it was first introduced at the Howard, and you know it. ...
    Come early, and stay as long as you please, but don't miss the Kouta-Kouta dancers at the old Howard Athenaeum tomorrow....
    Olio: The Kouta-Kouta Dancers.
    The four original and only Kouta-Kouta dancers who created the sensational furor on the Midway Plaisance, and whose fame has spread from one end of the continent to the other.
  • Boston Globe, Jan 2, 1894, p. 3
    The Kouta-Kouta dancers made their usual hit, being encored several times.
  • Los Angeles Times, Jan 18, 1894, p. 2
    By a unanimous vote of the Alderman at a special meeting today, the notorious "Mussell," or "Kouta Kouta" dance, alleged to have been performed by dancers from the Midway Plaisance, World's Fair, has been officially declared immoral and banished from Boston.
  • Washington Post, Apr 22, 1894, p. 14
    Another feature will be the appearance of another installment of the Midway dancers in the persons of Hadji Sheriff, Viobela, Zara, and Montezo, in the Kouta-Kouta, the national dance of their country. They are said to be the same dancers who created such a sensation in Cairo street at the World's Fair.
  • Washington Post, Jan 13, 1895, p. 4
    Kinetoscope Pictures.
    It is Omene in the nearest approach to the kouta kouta dance that has been seen in this city.
  • Washington Post, Aug 27, 1895, p. 2
    Later in the evening she appeared as Princess Kouta-Kouta and gave a dance which was wild and hilarious.
  • When belly-dancers performed in a reconstruction of Chicago's Midway in Atlanta in 1895, "coochee-coochee" and "coutah-coutah" were used in the press interchangeably:
  • Atlanta Constitution, Oct 23, 1895, p. 7
    Have you heard Cora Routt sing of the simple country maiden who "had never seen the coochee-coochee dance?" The boys around town are all whistling away on that delicious oriental-American tune which is so suggestive of the Midway, and Cora certainly sings it with great feeling.
  • Atlanta Constitution, Oct 24, 1895, p. 2
    AGAINST THE COUTAH-COUTAH.; Manufacturers Say It Detracts from Their Exhibits at Fairs.
    A resolution was adopted which cited that windmills, threshing machines and vehicles stood no earthly chance whatever by the side of the seductive coutah-coutah dance and a vigorous campaign will at once be begun to wipe out this innovation.
  • Los Angeles Times, Oct 26, 1895, p. 1
    The committee visited the Midway, ate the "hot-hots" of Egyptian commerce, drank of the seductive liquid refreshments purveyed by the Turks, witnessed the "coochee coochee" dance, and pronounced it a good thing.
  • Atlanta Constitution, Oct 26, 1895, p. 7
    ON WITH THE DANCE; But It Is Move On, the Georgia Legislators Say. THEY HAVE BEEN ON THE MID The Coutah-Coutah Is Too Much Like a Tamole for Their Taste--A Day in the Legislature.
    "There is no record of any law compelling a lady or gentleman to visit the 'coochee dance,'" said he.
  • Atlanta Constitution, Nov 4, 1895, p. 4
    He explained that while he was in sympathy with the legislative bill prohibiting the coochee-coochee dance, being a fair-mind man, he could not condemn the dance without seeing whether it was naughty or not.


Tracing Ballet's Cultural History Over 400 Years
Ballet's origins, Homans explains, grew out of the Renaissance court cultures of Italy and France. Dancers would perform at the royal courts and then invite the audience members to participate. "It was a dance that was done by courtiers and kings and princes at court in social situations," she says. "It was not a theatrical art set off from social life." The first ballet dancers did not wear tutus or dance in satin shoes, but they did formalize the footwork patterns — known as first, second, third, fourth and fifth position — that are still used today. "Louis XIV realized that if his art form was going to be disseminated throughout his realm and even to other European countries, he would have to find a way to write it down," Homans explains. "So he asked [choreographer] Pierre Beauchamp to write some these positions. The positions themselves are the grammars of ballet, they're the ABC's, the classical building blocks of ballet."
In ballet's early days, men were expected to perform the more extravagant and intricate footwork. It wasn't until years later, during the French Revolution, that female dancers became stars. "During the French Revolution, the aristocratic male dancer was really discredited," she says. "The hatred and bitter animosity toward the aristocracy had direct consequences for ballet. Why should you have this aristocratic art? If you're going to take down the aristocracy, why not take down ballet, too?" It was given an elevated form, so instead of stomping around, it became an image of the ethereal, a wispy sylph or somebody who can leave the ground or fly into the air.
By the 1830s, men were actually reviled onstage, she says. "They're thought to be a disgrace," she says. "Female dancers take the ideals that existed in the aristocratic art form and turned them into a feminine and spiritual ideal of which they are the masters. Then you get this image of the ballerina on toe, in these more romantic-era ballets of sylphs and unrequited love and the romantic themes that carried ballet into the 19th century."


Dance Notation

Bill "Bojangles" Robinson dances with a partner in a deleted scene from the movie "Cafe Metropole" (1937).


Savion Glover the best tap dancer in the world performed the moves for the penguin Mumble in Happy Feet. "Celebrate Brooklyn Series"


Ina Ray Hutton Doin' the Suzi-Q 1930


Talking Feet is the first documentary to feature flatfoot, buck, hoedown, and tapdancing, the styles of solo Southern dancing which are a companion to traditional old time music on which modern clog dancing is based.


Origin of the MoonWalk


Robots Dance


52 Blocks America's only surviving indigenous martial art
may have originated in the Caribbean and Southern US (Gullah island) warrior traditions with fitness and combat form moves. The fighting style was initially suppressed during slavery because white slaveowners feared potential rebellions of disenfranchised African-Americans. History illustrates that after Reconstruction, the art form followed the African-American migration Northeast under different names and then into the margins of large urban centers. Urban prisons, because of their ethnic breakdown as well as their social code, actually provided a more fertile ground for the art to expand, especially in allowing novices to dedicate themselves to ongoing training intensively. It was between the prison system and closed urban communities that 52 evolved, fusing with popular urban dance and some modern boxing tactics. 52's predominance in the criminal justice system also reveals why it has been so obscured from the martial arts world and the world at large- in fact, the only aspect of 52 blocks to trickle into the mainstream has been its hip-hop offshoot break-dancing, which enjoys wide global popularity, most nebulous of its origins. (CHANGING OF THE GUARD film )
52 Blocks emerged and evolved through a 200 year boxing culture in the US, the prison system and closed urban communities, fusing with popular urban dance and some modern boxing tactics.

Hip Hop

Watch Toni Basil 72-Year-Old Hip-Hop Dancer Absolutely Slay

David LaChapelle's documentary about the "krumping" dance style (LaChapelle directed a short called "Krumped" that played at Sundance ).
* krumping, n.
2004 _NY Times_ 21 Jan. (Arts) 1 (Nexis) His quick, excitable mode of speaking is similar to krumping, the whip-quick dancing of his subjects that includes bits of hip-hop and pantomime martial-arts movement. ... "I got to be there before krumping became a Burger King commercial, before it started getting used in videos," he said. "You can see krumping in the OutKast video, where the kids are dancing and breaking into it while wearing tuxedos."
2004 _MTV News_ 23 Apr. (online) We've gotten a potent dosage of clown dancing or krumping, as it's called in videos such as Missy Elliott's "I'm Really Hot" and the Black Eyed Peas "Hey Mama." ... The dance form eventually evolved into what he calls krumping. "Krumping is when you're dancing and your body is doing a lot of different moves," Tommy explained.
2004 _Independent_ (London) 27 Apr. 14 (Nexis) Another artist who will be arriving next week is Tommy the Clown, one of the stars of the current underground movement in Los Angeles, "krumping", which is taking over inner-city neighbourhoods.
2004 _Plain Dealer_ (Cleveland) 1 Jul. F1 (Nexis) Johnson sees krumping as a creative, "happy" way for teens to express themselves. There are no set moves to krumping, which is done at a hyperfast speed and mixes herky-jerky break-dance and martial-arts-style moves with spasmodic booty shaking. "It's freestyle; we go with the flow," says Johnson, who coined the term krumping.
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) The allure of krumpin', a furiously energetic street dance unique to South Los Angeles, is its no-holds-barred physicality, its encouragement of improvisation and its unexpected and imaginative use of theatrical face paint. ... With Tommy's encouragement, Dragon and some of the troupe's best dancers, including 'Lil C, split off to form a group of their own, incorporating elements of break-dancing, karate and pantomime, as well as an undercurrent of very grown-up aggression. They named their new style krumpin'.
* krump, v.
2004 _Independent_ (London) 27 Apr. 14 (Nexis) Some of Tommy's dancers were krumping in Christina Aguilera's video for "Dirty".
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) Daisy is 14 years old, with red tennis shoes, pigtails and a broad, sweet face that, when she's krumpin', becomes suddenly lean and cat-like, beautiful in the fierce manner of Egyptian queens. "It all comes out when I'm krumpin'," she says. "Everything that frustrates me and hurts me, it all comes out. I'm angry when I'm krumpin', but when I'm done, it's all good. When I'm done, I'm calm." ... "We're all of the same tree, but we're different branches," says a 19-year-old clowner named Rocco. "If we're krumpin', it's more aggressive. If we're clownin', it's more happy and go-lucky. There's a style for every mood."
* krumping, attrib.
2004 _MTV News_ 23 Apr. (online) The krumping era just may be upon us. "The clowning and the krumping dance movement, it is a very positive thing because it really does keep kids off the streets," krumping originator Thomas Johnson, a.k.a. Tommy the Clown, explained in Los Angeles recently.
2004 _Plain Dealer_ (Cleveland) 1 Jul. F1 (Nexis) Johnson, who recently completed a krumping workshop in England, is hoping to take his show on the road. He wants to set up krumping classes in other cities and is in talks for a TV program.
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) Once you've watched Daisy in a krumpin' competition, this catharsis comes as no surprise. ... As more and more clownin' and krumpin' groups began to form through the late '90s, Tommy sensed a hunger for some healthy competition between the crews. ... As Miss Prissy says this, a round of cheers marks the end of Daisy's second krumpin' session of the day.
* krumped, ppl. adj.
2004 _NY Times_ 21 Jan. (Arts) 1 (Nexis) "Apparently the word krumped goes back a long ways, from the black church," Mr. LaChappelle said. "When you're krumped, you're feeling it. It's about being brave and doing something with grace."
2004 _NY Arts_ Mar./Apr. (online) When a person is said to be "Krumped" they are dancing the most intense form of a dance called "Clowning". ... "[I]f you're in that zone, if you're being brave, you're not intellectualizing and you're just flowing, youre doing your thing and just creating then you're 'Krumped'. That's why you're probably going to be hearing this term, it's going to become part of the vernacular."
2004 _Financial Times_ 1 May 12 (Nexis) Most of the moves are practised and rehearsed, but when a dancer is "krumped" (completely engrossed), he or she will perform moves that are purely improvisational.
2004 _Dance_ Jul. (online) "Getting krumped" is the state in which a dancer feeds off the energy of the audience, the other participants, the music, and his or her own adrenaline until the movement grows theatrical, inventive, and sometimes cathartic.
* krump, n.
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) As 'Lil C puts it, grinning: "The dance floor is our canvas, and krump is our 'Mona Lisa.'"
* krump, attrib.
2004 _NY Arts_ Mar./Apr. (online) You go to the Krump sessions and there's not one other person there taking pictures. ... I looked at Krump Dancing as a valid art form.
2004 _Independent_ (London) 27 Apr. 14 (Nexis) Tommy and the Hip Hop Clowns' krump dancing and hip-hop clowning demonstrations over the weekend are set to shake up the normally measured conservatism of Sadler's Wells. "It will be explosive," promises Tommy, the Clown who is bringing over 11 krump practitioners.
* krump, adj. (= "krumped")
2004 _Independent_ (London) 27 Apr. 14 (Nexis) "I started saying "He's getting krump" when a dancer was getting really busy with the dance moves," he says about his hyper version of clown dancing (a blend of hip-hop dancing and traditional party clowning) "but it is more athletic, more adult."
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) "You can't be krump unless you're pure, unless you truly believe in yourself." ... "You have to be born krump, you have to be in a krump state of mind."
* krumpness, n.
2004 _NY Arts_ Mar./Apr. (online) The thing about "Krumpness" this term that they use is it is not just for the dancers; it's not just Krump dancing. They say this in the film - "Krumpness", can be applied to your everyday life.
2004 _Dance_ Jul. (online) As Dragon, a dancer featured in Krumped, describes it, "Krumpness is an abstraction of your inner being."
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) "Krumpness," explains Miss Prissy, a whip-thin 23-year-old and one of the original female krumpers, "is an attitude. You can see my story when I dance. Theres a lot going on down here in South Central thats hard. There are homes being disrupted by violence, and a lot of people do drugs to deal with that, or they drink. Instead of doing that, we dance." ... "It's a real tribal movement," she says quietly. "It's hip-hop in its raw form; it's the meat before it's on the grill. That's what krumpness is, and that's how we give it to you, every time. ... Krumpness changes every day, and I think that's what's going to make it stick around."
* krumper, n.
2004 _Financial Times_ 1 May 12 (Nexis) By then, he had renamed his group Tommy and the Hip Hop Clowns. Now they're called Tommy the Clown and the Hip Hop Krumpers.
2004 _Plain Dealer_ (Cleveland) 1 Jul. F1 (Nexis) Not only do krumpers frenetically dance like clowns, they look like them, too.
2004 _Dance_ Jul. (online) The krumpers are young and work hard.
2004 _LA Times_ 21 Aug. E1 (Nexis) She and several similarly adorned krumpers have gathered in the parking lot... Interspersed among the krumpers is another group of dancers, the clowners, so named for theircolorful carnival gear -- baggy patchwork pants, faces decorated with bright mosaics of circus greasepaint. Where the krumpers are tribal in their choice of makeup, the clowners have opted for a look reminiscent of turn-of-the-century vaudeville.
* krumpy, adj.
2004 _Independent_ 27 Apr. 14 (Nexis) "It all kicked off when we started to get all krumpy at weekends," explains Tommy the Clown, who has been up all night at a party.

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