THDA 463 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Pigmeat Markham, Body Percussion, Master Juba

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2 Oct 2015
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THEATRE DANCE I (THDA 463)
September 14, 2015
Minstrelsy
Dance as a form of entertainment
omid-19th century
Immigration becomes important to fusion of dance
Minstrelsy
oThe story of the increasing influence of the Afro-American style of song and
dance in American Life”
oReflects the points of view of audiences all over the world
Characteristics of Minstrelsy
o1845-1919
oThe peak was between 1850-1860
oIt was a cowardly way of white Americans to enjoy African American dance and
music without celebrating the race
oAudiences across North America enjoyed Minstrelsy because it reflected
something of their own point of view. African Americans were portrayed as
outcasts, sometimes comical, bumbling or drunk
John Durang
oCreated the “Negro dance”
oIn 1789, he wore blackface and performed his now famous Durang’s hornpipe
oPredecessor for what would become famous 30 years ago
oCombined elements of ballet with shuffles and double shuffles
“A Song of the Negro Boy” was the first and most damning song created in Minstrel
history
Jigs and clogs started to form
By 1820, blackface dancers imitating negroes accompanied by banjos, tambourines and
clappers were all the rage
Thomas Darmouth Rice
oDaddy “Jim Crow” Rice
oWitnessed a black man in an alley
Rumors say the man was old, drunk, or handicapped
Foolishly dancing
TD Rice decided to base all of his minstrel acts on this image
He named this caricature “Jim Crow”
oAdded a 4 year old to his act
oBecame the highest paid Minstrel performer of his time
African American minstrel companies surfaced
oAlways had white owners
William Henry Lane
oFirst African performer to make history
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