Here's the REAL Dr. Don Shirley in rare 2001 concert footage performing George Gershwin's The Man I Love. He's played by Mahershala Ali in the movie "Green Book" with Viggo Mortensen as his driver Tony Lip. His choice of music reminds us of one of Jitterbug's themes: how the Depression and Prohibition threw people of all colors and faiths together to make musical magic and magical dance. In the dancical. two young Jewish songwriters, Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler, are writing hit songs for the mob-ran Cotton Club's new 1931 revue, Rhyth-mania. Cab Calloway and his Orchestra are performing them with black performers. We also use Gershwin's Liza, the go-to number used by Chick Webb to "cut" any band that had the temerity to challenge his Savoy Ballroom house band in a Battle of the Bands. Only in America.
The free monologue is available at the Educator Resources link on the left. It's timed to a free video (available upon request through our Contact portal) that includes music and archival film footage.
By the Numbers the only thing Jitterbug! needs is Julie Taymor and an animal to be a hit Broadway show
So, going by these stats compiled into this Infographic by Ken Davenport of The Producer's Perspective, Jitterbug! has the potential for greatness by sharing 7 of the following attributes of the 20 Top Broadway Musicals:
Getting Julie Taymor or any of those other directors might be a stretch but finding a tap dancing dog that can jitterbug too may be equally difficult. We'll see.
The Jitterbug, the Lindy, and the vernacular jazz dance steps that happen during the dances' break, are still alive, They're celebrated around the world with annual dance contests. There's even a swing dance camp in Herräng Sweden that's been around for 32-years and is booked solid for five weeks every summer. So, yes, Virginia, there is an audience for Jitterbug! and it's very big.
And wait till they get a load at that climatic Jitterbug! dance contest scene at the Savoy, little girl. They-- all audiences, even those who know little to nothing about the music and its dances-- will never be the same.
*FB stats for this video.
The Slow Drag is featured in Jitterbug!s rent party scene where the dancical's protagonists Billy Rhythm and Tharbis Jefferson get it on in a crowded Harlem tenement apartment. Here's rehearsal footage of that scene by Emmy nominated choreographer Jeffrey Page. Because Billy and Tharbis are professional dancers from the Cotton Club, they take it to another level. Khalil Kain and Afi McClendon are the dancers. Music is Jitis Blues by Memphis Minnie (1930).
The Blues and Jazz Dance Book Club (BJDBC) has an informed and thorough examination of the Slow Drag's roots and interpretations with archival and new videos. A Landscape of Slow Drag borrows on first-hand observations from dancers who actually danced it back in the day. It also has a great video by Damon Stone showing the evolution of the steps-- from dancing in place in tight juke joints to moving across a dance floor (attributed to Savoy bouncers forcing dancers to "evolve" the dance in order to keep Slow Draggers from blocking the Savoy's "flow").
This article was found on the muy worthy American Lindy Hop Championships.
This year, National Arts in Education Week is celebrated September 9-15. Designated by Congress in 2010, the celebration recognizes the transformative power of the arts in education and calls for equitable access to the arts for all students.
Jitterbug! has an extensive list of free Educator Manuals available on this website. Based on the National Core Arts Standards, they are: Dance, Music (Composition and Ensemble strands), Theatre, Literature, and History/Social Studies. All of them include NCAS sections on empathy. On that same page (Educator Resources), free monologues are also available.
We love this idea of dancing among the tombstones of some of jazz's legendary greats-- with portions of ticket sales going to the Frankie Manning Foundation.
"Join us as we celebrate Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton, Illinois Jacquet, Max Roach, Jackie McClean, King Oliver, W.C. Handy, Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Cootie Williams, Coleman Hawkins, Milt Jackson, Jonah Jones, Ornette Coleman, Celia Cruz, Miles Davis, Harold Nicholas, our beloved Ambassador of Lindy Hop, Frankie Manning and others in a befitting tribute to them at their final resting place.
Date: Sunday, September 9, 2018
Time: 12:00 PM - 4:00 PM
Where: Jazz Corner at The Woodlawn Cemetery
Jerome Avenue and Bainbridge Avenue Entrance; Bronx, New York 10470
Cost: $40.00 per person.
Admission includes a tour of Jazz Corner, the final resting places of some of jazz and swing dance greats. Yes, there will be dancing!
A portion of the proceeds from the event will go to the Frankie Manning Foundation.
This event is rain or shine. Tickets are non-refundable.
To purchase tickets for this event please go to www.WoodlawnTours.org
Event Producers in partnership with Woodlawn Conservancy
Julia Loving (1.646.319.7976)
Ronald Jones (1.917.913.6274)
Cynthia Brown (1.646.478.6642)
We look forward to spending a fabulous Sunday afternoon with you!"
Pablo Neruda won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. In his acceptance speech, he famously uses dance as a metaphor to describe our struggle as a species to find meaning in a harsh and unforgiving world.
“There is no insurmountable solitude. All paths lead to the same goal: to convey to others what we are. And we must pass through solitude and difficulty, isolation and silence in order to reach forth to the enchanted place where we can dance our clumsy dance…”
Many historians agree that the "enchanted place" he eludes to is the Savoy Ballroom where he not only became a legendary dancer as a young man but credits those years as some of the happiest in his life.
How he got there begins in Chile where he just couldn't dance despite his best efforts. Academic research attributes this to his profound shyness, now reexamined by some as "social anxiety disorder." Simply put, he was a lonely failure with women. Desperate, he traveled at considerable expense in 1931 to Harlem to learn how to dance at the most famous dance school in the world: the Savoy Ballroom (where the Jitterbug! climax takes place). At that time the Lindy Hop was all the rage. By the time he left Harlem a few years later, Neruda had mastered the Jitterbug and its air-steps, those jiu jitsu moves that were sending women into low earth orbit. He was so good it's reported Herbert White, founder of a slew of Lindy dance troupes-- the most famous being his eponymous Whitey's Lindy Hoppers which appeared in 1941's Hellzapoppin'-- wanted to add Neruda to one of them but the future Nobel Prize winner declined, citing his need to focus on his writing. When he accepted a Chilean diplomatic post in Barcelona a few years later, he brought the Lindy and the Jitterbug with him and is credited for establishing the first swing dance school in Spain at the height of the Spanish Civil War. Picasso and Hemingway were some of his first students.
In 1962 one of his poems was used by The Contours in their hit record, "Do You Love Me?"
Now you too can-- without any dance talent at all!-- dance like Marquese Scott!
Marquese Scott is a poppin'-lockin' dancer of the highest order that inspires moves for the breakaway in Jitterbug!'s climatic dance contest at the Savoy Ballroom (we ask choreographers to reach into the future for dance steps to blow the minds of the jaded Savoy regulars to win the contest). We've posted about him earlier. Now UC Berkeley has developed software that can transfer videos of one person to another person in a second video. In the demonstration above, Scott is the "Source Subject." But every dancer on video is up for grabs.
What does all of this mean? In a virtual world, everything is possible. At the touch of a button, you're a talented dancer, singer, or fighter. Muhammad Ali has nothing on you. Shed those pounds, break those records, no one has nothing on you. At least for that virtual magical moment where you can be anyone for as long as you want.
Henry Miller is a world famous author. His most acclaimed books Tropic of Cancer (1934) and Tropic of Capricorn (1939) broke with accepted literary norms especially those associated with describing sexual acts. Because of that, they were banned in the U.S. until 1961. During this period in order to survive, he became an occasional choreographer thanks to June Mansfield, a professional dancer he met in 1923. She was 21, he was 32 and married but subsequently divorced, leaving his wife and young daughter to marry Mansfield.
Mansfield is credited not only for introducing Miller to a wilder side of life that influenced his writing but also to the Charleston and the Lindy. Both were surprised how good he was at dancing. Before long they were winning dance contests around Manhattan and Harlem. Legend has it that Owney "The Killer" Madden, owner of the Cotton Club, hired him to choreograph one of the club's revues, 1931's "Rhyth-mania." Miller, however, insisted he remain uncredited, fearing critics wouldn't take his writing seriously. Furthermore, the Scronch, originally attributed to the legendary Lindy Hopper Shorty George Snowden, is generally believed to have been Miller's creation, a version of which is shown above.
Miller and Mansfield are also credited as being the first white couple to add air-steps to their jitterbug routine. Some historians believe this is the only film showing Miller lifting Mansfield over his head during an event at the 1939 New York World's Fair (lower right at beginning and ending of clip-- and in the frozen image below).
Multi-hyphenate with a penchant for writing.