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date: 26 January 2021


  • Pauline Norton


(1) A black American folk and spectacular dance characterized by rhythmic patterns created by the feet hitting the floor. It became a theatrical dance in the middle of the 19th century principally through the influence of William Henry Lane, who performed under the name ‘Juba’. The dance often concluded the song-and-dance numbers in late 19th-century minstrel shows, and seems to be related to the ‘break’ sections in these numbers, which consisted of short, two- or four-bar interludes of danced rhythmic patterns between the solo verse and the chorus. Both the dance itself and the idea of performing dance between the sections of a song influenced tap dance in the 20th century.

(2) A riotus dance or gathering (see also Hoedown). The fiddle or banjo music accompanying such dances, particularly in the white-American folk tradition from the late 19th century, often has rapid figurations, arpeggios, and triplets added to vary the melody, suggesting something like the 16th- and 17th-century English practice of ...

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