Almost all traditional dances today have taken its root in the African American dance. Their history goes back in the early 17th and 18th century. If you look at it closely, we can safely say that most of the techniques and dance maneuvers of known styles have its root in the vernacular dance routines practiced by Africans during their migration to the American continent. (Image © innovatedcaptures / 123RF Stockfoto)
Rags To Riches – A History
The history of the African American “vernacular” dance is deeply rooted in Virginia, Maryland. African slaves who were brought to America have most likely introduced a diverse culture of music and dance without any fixed form. In order to retain their nativity as Africans, many of these groups have succumbed to perform their own set of dance routines without putting any emphasis on fixed styles, yet bordering mostly on improvisation and creativity.
Leading music and dance expert all agree that the African American dance routines are mostly improvised choreography. The diverse culture that captive Africans are exposed to during their sojourn in America, as well as in Spanish and European countries made it possible for them to adapt to other dance forms and uniquely coming up with their own.
Dance Of A Strong Body
It was observed that the dance routines of African American decent are those that require strong and flexible bodies — which are accounted to the time they worked as slaves in America, Spain, and Europe. The strong foundation of their body has made it possible for African dancers to produce more complicated feats that their hierarchs often find impossible. Emphasis of this dance on the body involves from the waste up — including bending and strong upper body movements with support of the lower.
The African American vernacular dance has included different dancing styles depending on the current gusto and trend of the local culture. African American artists utilize other dance styles with their own unique creative concepts to form new and more appealing maneuvers that are a norm in today’s dancing community.
Known dance genres that is influenced by African American artists includes tap dancing, cakewalk, swing, Hustle, funk and disco, and of course, the famous moonwalk performed by Michael Jackson that is considered to be an innovation of modern Hip Hop dances today.
Inclusive In Dance Competitions
The unique quality of African American dance has made it a highlight in many dance competitions today. Modern dance choreographers have utilized traditional styles with emphasis on African American dance routines to create unique and active maneuvers that is common in today’s competitive dance floor.
Learning To Dance
There is no fixed style you have to learn if you want to try out African American dancing. It is classified as dance lessons, but more into the personal interpretation of the dancer to the music. In most cases, evolution of this modern dance is made visible through the incorporation of creative concepts and persona of performers — not only training their mind and body to come up with unique dance routines, but also achieve the necessary aesthetics to pull it off.