Dance in white Middle America up to the early 1950's was traditional ballroom, where dance moves were standardized. It was more a technical exercise than an emotional one. White youth of the period began to look toward the black community and rhythm and blues music, which gave them the sense of wanting just to move in a whole new way. For white Middle American youth, this music morphed into rock and roll. Despite establishment deeming rock and roll to be Satanic and/or Communist, it took off amongst the younger generation. The combination of rock and roll and dance was presented to American youth through American Bandstand (1952), which told youth what the trends of the day were. However, much of the dance shown on network television was Caucasians trying to dance like black Americans, but with no hip movement. This changed with the dance "The Twist", which also revolutionized the concept of not being reliant on what one's dance partner was doing. Although it had its detractors, The ...Written by
It's the story of the iconic song and its culture changing dance. More than that, this documents the progression of music and dance over that era with its connection to race and culture. After the initial thirty minutes, it has Hank Ballard who first wrote and performed The Twist. Next, it's Chubby Checker.
It's fun to see the old footage and stuff. The racial politics gets fascinatingly personal like the white dancers who had to lie about coming up with a dance themselves rather than learning it from black folks. The first thirty minutes is very compelling. After that, it gets a bit repetitive and very silly with all the different subsequent dances. Anyone can find a stupid elephant dance that isn't anything in the culture. In a way, the movie goes down the wrong road. I don't need a whole list of the evolution of dance. It needs to do a little bit more on The Twist and the racial politics of that era. It doesn't need to keep going with different dances.
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