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Steppin' on the Blues


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About the Author

Jacqui Malone is an associate professor of drama, theater, and dance at Queens College, Flushing, New York, and a former member of the Eleo Pomare Dance Company. She has published articles in The Black Perspective in Music and Dance Research Journal.


Opportunities for self-expression were limited during the days of slavery, but at a dance, anyone with the right moves could become the king or queen of the floor. Dance styles from Western and central Africa became the basis for a vernacular dance style that made the rhythms of the music visible. In stark contrast to the erect spines and stiff legs of European dance, the spontaneous, bent-kneed, and angulated bodies stressed a life-affirming joy that remains vital today. From the public Negro dance contests of slave times, to the wildly popular minstrel shows, to the Harlem cabaret scene of the 1920s, to the stylized moves of Motown vocal groups, Malone records this history with an energy befitting her subject. She takes us to the present, where the heritage survives in the choreography of African American marching bands and the recent explosion of African American fraternity and sorority step shows. Recommended for public and academic libraries.‘Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.

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