- Richard Powers
The decade before World War I witnessed one of the largest Social dance crazes in Western culture, most of which developed in the United States.
During the 19th century most of North America’s social dances were imported from Europe, as American dance masters emulated the latest styles from London and Paris. A wide variety of social ballroom dances had blossomed during the Romantic era, including such turning couple dances as the Waltz , Polka (ii) , Schottische (USA), and Galop (USA) and such set dances as the Quadrille . However, by the end of the 19th century this variety had decreased to the point where a typical ball program comprised only two dance forms, the waltz and Two-step, a newer and smoother version of the polka.
In the early 19th century African American slaves had combined their native music with European forms, resulting in the spirituals and “Ethiopian melodies” that were then popularized by minstrel shows and American composers like Foster, Christy, and Gottschalk. During the 1890s and early 1900s this uniquely American music developed into a new, syncopated music, ...