We've always seen the break in the Jitterbug dance in the climactic dance contest at the Savoy as a way of incorporating choreographed stage tap dancing and dance styles from the future, influenced by the likes of Fosse and street dance makers using anything that might work, including robotic and dub steps. Here's an example by Karla Garcia of what would look cool at the break, that we are sure would blow the minds of the 1931 Savoy crowd-- and win the dance contest for our heroes.
It's where our heroes Billy Rhythm and Tharbis Jefferson dance for the first and last times, where the dancical's climatic dance contest takes place. With Chick Webb pounding the skins and Ella Fitzgerald singing.
Opening in 1926, it was America's first integrated ballroom. Now, like most of the historic Harlem Swing-era landmarks, it's just a memory and, at best, a plaque.
You can learn more about the Savoy by clicking the Harlem Swing Dance Society.
Billy Rhythm, the main character in the dancical Jitterbug!, is a hip-to-the-scene black gang member with dreams of becoming a professional dancer on Broadway. He's going to be played by a Flushing High Junior from India. Billy's girlfriend, Tharbis Jefferson, dances in the chorus line at the Cotton Club. She's going to be played by a Flushing High Junior from Guatemala. And Candy, my dangerous, short-fused gang member, is going to be played by a Flushing High Sophomore girl from the Dominican Republic. Oh, yeah, man! We are diggin' this casting!
And Ms. Lindsay Shields' 7th Period Drama class in Flushing, NY.
Only in America.
We look forward to seeing how her production progresses-- she plans on taking her students on field trips over the next couple of months to explore the actual Harlem sites found in the play and maybe even take a dance lesson or two from a Harlemite working to preserve and raise the awareness of the Lindy's-- and the jitterbug's-- Harlem roots. You can learn more here.
Multi-hyphenate with a penchant for writing.