Sunday, March 4, 2012

1920's dance craze, sprang from Harlem.

 1920s dances seen in Silent Films, had interesting roots and helped Maybelline become an overnight sensation in the rebellious, Jazz Age. 




 a phenomenon was born. 
While the Charleston as a dance probably came from the "star" or challenge dances, that were all part of the African-American dance called Juba, the particular sequence of steps which appeared in Runnin' Wild, were probably newly devised for popular appeal.




The Charleston was the dance that captured the spirit of the 1920s. It was danced with wild abandon by a new generation of independen​t young flappers and Jazzbo's.




Tango sprang from the poor and the disadvantaged, in Argentina tenement blocks and on street corners, to become...
 The Dance of Love.




  Rudolph Valentino dancing tango.  Silent movie; sixth best grossing silent film of all time; turned Rudolph Valentino into a super star and gave him the image of the 'Latin Lover'







Harlem's increasing popularity as an entertainment district, as well as a vibrant creative center for African Americans in the 1920s and 1930s eventually saw both the creation and popularizing of Lindy Hop.




Born in the late 1920's, the Lindy Hop is the Grandfathe​r of swing dances. But it wasn't until after the opening of the Savoy Ballroom that Lindy Hop got its name and a home. At the Savoy  the Lindy Hop got hotter and hotter.





Upper and middle class white audiences were exposed to Harlem's working class entertainment, at first through white audiences attending black venues and shows in Harlem, but later through traveling shows, popular music and cinema and prompting a mainstream thirst for "black" cultural forms, like the Lindy Hop. 





My grandmother, Evelyn Boecher Williams  on the right, with her sister, Verona Boecher Stroh, are pictured here at a Halloween party in their family's ballroom, in Chicago, around, 1920. 

Nana, went on to dance with the Ballets Russes, and like so many girls in her generation.... rebelling from the straight-laced ways of Old World thinking..... hoped to become an actress/dancer, in Hollywood Silent Films.  But she met and fell in love with my grandfather, William Preston Williams and gave up her dream, to be a wife and mother.  However, she kept up her love of dancing, all her life and even taught me the Charleston and the Tango, when I was 15. 


With the wild abandon..... Jazz Age dances..... brought into 1920's culture.... epitomized in film.... it was only natural for young women to gravitate towards Maybelline.  Here is a Jazz Age Maybelline ad, that appealed to the girl ready, to Jazz it up, for a night of dancing, movie going, or just ridding in cars with boys.


My cousin, Linda Hughes, (Mabel Williams granddaughter and Maybelline's namesake,) and I, have loved working together all week, creating the

Vintage Maybelline Silent Film and Concert Series, to celebrate, THE ARTIST, winning the Oscar, for BEST PICTURE...  


We have one more day to go before it all comes to an end, so stay tuned. 

Next week the Blog will head towards Tom Lyle Williams, classic, 1940 Packard Victoria.  We hope you have enjoyed the ride so far.

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