Music and Dance...
This is what happens if a group of superb dancers just have fun with a good band...
And here's another, with a special scene from 4:40...
Truly excellent this kind of exuberant display was everywhere in the early days of jazz. Jazz and dance were solidly intertwined up until the 1950s.
The in the USA in the 1950's jazz venues began introducing bans on dancing.
Whether that was a local cultural thing or driven by local by-laws and local restrictions I have no idea.
Signs saying "No Dancing allowed" became commonplace in what were dancehalls until then, I have seen the signs on display in old movies of the period and I believe that this drove a wedge between jazz bands and audiences that remains to this day.
Jazz it appears transitioned from an event full of high octane enjoyment into an activity for polite gatherings where standing or seated audiences politely applaud a fabulous display of musicianship that gets the heart racing and the blood pumping.
People love to dance they do it spontaneously. They dance to a kazoo if they enjoy the kazoo music I have seen that too.
Jazz is not a concert hall activity it is of the people from the people and for the people.
GeorgeB last edited by
A fantastic group of dancers and a great Jazz band. I love to dance and wished I were there.
@trumpetb Blame that dance prohibition on the radical Killjoys... after prohibition failed, that was their new method of getting back to what they call "Christian morals". Dance was seen - and some still do today - as the direct road to hell, as were innocent things like milk bars - in fact anything that might give pleasure to people. As one wit once said,
"The English Puritans banned bear-baiting not because of distress to the bear, but because of the pleasure of the spectators."
I think you are totally correct on that, the killjoys definitely rheigned, plus a little bit of good old fashioned prejudice thrown in for good measure.
Let us thank the stars that we live in more enlightened times.
Dr GO last edited by
Every 3rd Thursday of the month I have played in a an 18 piece jazz orchestra at a dance hall (The Milton Club). The floor is always packed. I enjoy watching the dancers as much as I do playing. Have been doing this gig since 2012.
I don't know what kind of history some of you have with Jazz but it's not mine. I have never seen a no-dancing sign in a previously dance hall or club.
At the end of the Swing Age many big band players got tired of life on the road went into the studios and clubs, many "residential". These clubs could house neither big bands nor dancing. So-combos for listening.
Furthermore, there was a Musicianss Union ban on recording during WWII which killed a great source of income for big bands. Another reason for musicians leaving them.
Perhaps the biggest reason was simply that going out was replaced by people just wanting to have stable, quiet lives. The era of a house in the suburbs with a man and wife, two kids and a dog. After the Depression Years and then a World War people pretty much wanted to be left alone. Not conducive to high=energy night life.
And TW, this is historic and doesn't have anything to do with today. I spent 20 years in Germany playing clubs that were high-energy and had plenty of dancing. Actually, that's why they came to the clubs in the first place.
I dont have any images right now that I can share that show the signs but I can assure you Kehaulani that such signs existed I have seen them, and the audiences that had no freedom to dance but were only allowed to listen.
There were other instances of segregation prejudice and control during jazz/blues dances and jazz performances that performers had to endure and that other musicians in other genres did not have to suffer or at least not as much.
Jazz and Blues suffered the most of all genres I think. This may not be in the general historical record available to a researcher of Jazz history but it lives in the memories of the Jazz and Blues greats of that time, performers like Ruth Brown, Koko Taylor, Ellie May Thornton..
In the excellent documentary Blues Story I believe it was Ruth Brown who recalled the rope which was used at dances to segregate audiences into racial groups that were not allowed to share the same dance floor or come into any kind of contact during Jazz/Blues performances in dance halls.
Sheriffs would step in and bring the dance to a halt mid performance by snatching the mic from Ruths hand as she was singing and cut the musicians off, no music or singing was allowed and no dancing was allowed until order was once more restored and the sheriff was happy that things were respectable and once again dancers were only dancing in the way the sheriff approved of.
It is only a small step from there to banning dances altogether to make sure that racial groups cannot interact together at the same event.
Even a short period of persecution can have a profound effect on audiences and their behaviour.
If I had to seek approval from a sheriff at a dance before I was allowed to dance the way I wanted, I would not be going back, I would seek other entertainment.
Nashville Parks & Recreation holds big band dances at Centennial Park during the summer months. I have been playing some of these for years. The park is near Vanderbilt University. There are frequently a lot of college age kids there who an REALLY dance. A very fun gig.
Racial segregation was not the reason for the demise of big bands and the associated high-energy dancing,
I think you are misunderstanding my posts kehaulani.
I never said that racial segregation is the reason for the demise of big bands and associated high energy dancing.
Changes can happen to big bands and dancing without it being an either or, nothing has changed, or it all has ended.
The fact is jazz was always accompanied by high energy dancing and was inseparable from it and the population loved jazz because of the opportunity for them to dance and mix racially just having a good time.
Then racial segregation caused restrictions in dancing in jazz clubs and then led to the ending of dancing in jazz clubs. And when the opportunity to do something dies the desire to do it shrinks or disappears.
I have not travelled widely I can only speak of my city.
In my case in my city I play for the public just about everywhere, and they love to dance wherever and whenever I play, in venues, in clubs, or in the street. They were dancing to my jazz just 2 nights ago but not in a jazz venue I was playing Jazz in several places around the city.
But consider this. Tonight I was in a jazz club for the evening in the audience and nobody danced at all, all night.
In no jazz clubs here do people dance, but everywhere else they dance to jazz. Why might this be.
Could it be that Jazz clubs have lost the association with having a good time and dancing.