Dance History Timeline



  Dance History Timeline    



 The Cake Walk Dance


   Cake Walk Dance 
Cake Walk original name is Chalk Line Walk
Cake Walk Dance is know as a Plantation Dance
Birth Place: Florida
Creation Date: 1850 
  { maybe earlier }
Creator: African-American Slaves
Cake Walk, is know to be the first African - American two person, partner dance.




 Apollo Theater


It all started in 1914 when the theater was constructed on 125th  Street, the heart of Harlem. Originally, it was named Huring and Seamon's New Burlesque Theatre and African Americans were not allowed in the Audience. On January 26, 1934. Ralph Cooper, Sr.Benny Carter and "16 Gorgeous Hot Steppers" dazzled the crowds with "Jazz a La Carte" the theater's first colored revue. That same year, Mr. Cooper decided to do a live version of his already popular radio show, Amateur nite hour at the Apollo Theater.  Amateur night still remains the Apollo's most recognizable and longest running performance series.







The Cotton Club 


 Club De' Lux 1920
The club was owner by a black heavy weigh boxer, by the name of Mr. Jack Johnson, He name the club De' Lux which closed in 1923 and sold to a gangster by the named of Mr. Owney Madden, who at that time was looking for a place to sell his madden #1 Beer, He then renamed the club the Cotton Club and styled it after a plantation environment.  During that time the Cotton Club featured mostly black performers and only allowed white patrons through the door.  This "white only" policy miraculously heightened its appeals, not to locals but to world-wide visitors. 



Cotton Club 1923

Mr. Owney Madden, a prominent bootlegger and gangster, took over the club in 1923 while imprisoned in Sing Sing and changed its name to the Cotton Club.  The Cotton Club was the home of African American entertainers, such as Fletcher Henderson, Duke Ellington, Bessie Smith, Cab Calloway, The Nicholas Brothers, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Fat Waller, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday and Ethel Waters.







 The Savoy Ballroom

Owned by "Gangster" Mr. Moe Peddon who some say was just a front for Chicago's AL Capone and managed by Mr. Charles Buchanan, a black man. Opened its doors on December 14, 1926 and closed in 1958. The Savoy was a two story ballroom which spanned the whole block of 140th, street to 141st, Street on Lenox Avenue in Harlem, New York.  The Savoy was Known as the "Home of Happy Feet" and had the best Lindy Hop dancers in the nation.  Savoy Ballroom allowing interracial dancing of blacks and whites the best of these dancers would hang out together in the NE corner called the Cats Corner.  The roots of the Lindy Hop was the Breakaway and the Breakaway was the main dance of choice in the late 1920's and early 30's at the Savoy Ballroom. "Shorty George" Snowden, would soon rename the Breakaway Dance to the Lindy Hop and a smoother version would soon take over  called "Savory Style Lindy" ( which has roots in today's West Coast Swing









 Shorty George Snowden a.k.a. The King of the Savoy Ballroom

Shorty George Snowden was the top dancer in the Savoy Ballroom from its opening in 1927 into early 30's when he formed the first professional Lindy Hop Troupe, the Shorty Snowden Dancers. Although he was barely five feet tall Snowden made his height as asset rather then a liability.  With comic genius, he parodied himself in his signature "Shorty George" step by bending  his knees, swinging from side to side, exaggerating his closeness to the ground. Snowden is often given credit for giving Lindy Hop its name.  A reporter saw Snowden break away from his partner and improvise a few steps in a style that was populars is Harlem "What was that" he asked Snowden?  Snowden  thought for a few seconds and replied.  "Im doin' the Hop... the Lindy Hop" ( The name stuck ).








Ms. Norma Miller a.k.a. "The Queen of Swing"

Norma Miller was first   discovered as a gifted young Lindy Hopper by Mr. Herbert "Whitey" White, when she was just 14 years old.  Since she was too young to go into the Savoy Ballroom, she often danced outside on the sidewalk where the music could be heard quite well.  The first time Mr. Whitey saw her she appeared out of nowhere on the dance floor and won a Savoy Dance contest with Twistmouth George as her partner. Not long after that, Mr. "Whitey" White,  was watching some of his dancers in a contest at the Apollo and once again saw young Norma defeat his dancer. The next day Mr. Whitey appeared at Norma's home and told her he would prefer her to dance with him rather then against him.  He invited her to join Whitey's Lindy Hoppers and she did.  Norma Miller was the youngest of Whitey's Lindy Hoppers when she joined the group in 1933.  She was from the start a very creative dancer with her own often comic style and she possessed and outstanding sense of rhythm.








 Frankie Manning "The world Ambassador of Swing Dance"

Since the 1930's Mr. Frankie Manning has been one of the most important forces behind the development and dissemination of the Lindy hop.  He is credited with many influential and lasting innovations to this truly American art form, including the creation of the Lindy Air Step and synchronized ensemble Lindy Routine both of which helped catapult the dance from ballroom to stage and screen. In 1986, with the resurgence of Swing Dancing, Mr. Frankie was rediscovered. This living legend emerged to lead a new breed of Jitterbug Swing Dancer.  In 1989, Mr. Frankie was profiled on ABC's Primetime News program, 20/20.  Producer Ms. Alice Pfeiffer said, "Frankie Manning is one of our country's cultural treasures and for too long he did not have full recognition".  That's why she felt he warranted a profile on national TV.   

Mr. Frankie Manning 1914 - 2009





Just about every adult on the South Side knows the 50 Yard Line Sports Bar & Grill at 69 E. 75th St.

The iconic sports bar has been a gathering spot for private parties, jazz performances and the freestyle dancing known as “STEPPIN’” for as long as I can remember.

Mary Mitchell


 Chicago-Style Stepping, affectionately known as steppin, like most social dances, evolved from the "Bop" in the 1970s. In 1973 Sam Chatman was the first to coin the term "Chicago Step", and has been widely credited with marking steppin's evolutionary transition from Bop. The swing dance known as Steppin’ is a part of the Western Swing family. The parent dance “Chicago Bop” may have been more Eastern Swing, but Steppin’ has characteristics more similar to Western, especially its usage of a lane or slot. The term “Bop” was used to describe the dance form by Chicagoans until the early 1970s. Prior to that time, “Bop” was a universally known term with its origin beginning sometime between 1945 & 1950 to express music and dance. The dance known as Chicago Steppin’ evolved from Bop and is more likely a derivative of Jitterbug. No published syllabuses exist for the dance. Chicago-Style Stepping gained a real foothold when a local radio station, WVAZ (102.7FM/1390AM) began playing "Mr. Fix-It" and "Loves Gonna Last", two obscure songs recorded by Jeffree (Jeffree Perry) from his MCA 1979 Jeffree album. Mr. Fix-It was a modest hit reaching top 30 on Billboard R&B singles chart. Love's Gonna Last, an album cut, became so popular in Chicago, many steppers dubbed it the original stepper's national anthem.

Chicago Stepping is a slotted style dance or as the community will call it a lane dance. The follower is typically kept traveling up and down the slot. Two action two one count cycle is the structure. Patterns like "roll-out and rollback" describe the action on the slot or lane. The lane belongs to the follower and the leaders travel on, off and around the slot or lane. Steppin’ has a 6 or 8 count basic pattern. Its tempo ranges 70 to 100 bpm. Its basic rhythm pattern consists of a double and two syncopated triples. The patterns start traditionally on the downbeat of one. The leader’s footwork is started on their Left and finished on their Right. The follower's dance is naturally opposite. Steppin’ is danced within a lane. The dance has characteristics strongly more related to New York Hustle than Bop. The lane or slot pattern and the dance being one syncopated step difference is the base of this summation.


   "Together, let's preserve our dance history."  


 It Was With Great Pleasure To Highlight The Dallas - Fort Worth Dance Scenes And Other Dance Platforms From: 11/2009 to 11/2016.


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