- Paperback: 508 pages
- Publisher: Da Capo Press; 2nd edition (March 22, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780306805530
- ISBN-13: 978-0306805530
- ASIN: 0306805537
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #742,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Jazz Dance: The Story Of American Vernacular Dance Paperback – March 22, 1994
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From the Back Cover
Artists like Bill Robinson, King Rastus Brown, John Bubbles, Honi Coles and others who speak to us in this book, are our Nijinskys, Daighilevs, Balanchines, and Grahams. There are so many books on ballet and modern dance. There are still a few on tap dance and they are so cavalierly allowed to go out of print even though the interest in them is so deep and sustaining.
About the Author
The late Marshall Stearns was author of The Story of Jazz, and was the founder of the Newport Jazz Festival and Institute of Jazz Studies. He was also a professor of English at Hunger College in New York and a medieval literature scholar. He died in 1966 while completing his book Jazz Dance co-authored by his wife Jean. Jean Stearns is an authority on jazz and assisted her late husband Marshall in researching and writing Jazz Dance.
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/Jonas Nermyr, Sweden
Vernacular dance in 20th century America wasn't represented or devised solely by a handful of the best remembered: Vernon & Irene Castle, Bill Robinson, Fred & Ginger, Eleanor Powell, Hal Le Roy, the Nicholas Brothers, Gene Kelly, Ann Miller, Donald O'Connor and Bob Fosse.
From the age of variety saloons and minstrelsy through a century of vaudeville and nightclubs, there were hundreds of dancers, black and white, female and male, who contributed to the development of American vernacular (or jazz) dance. Hoofers invented, borrowed, stole and adapted rhythm steps, jumps, slides, contortions and even style from each other---and American dance became richer for their efforts.
Marshall Stearns understood that. Instead of choosing to write about the best known dancers of his day, the ones blessed by luck, Stearns took on the nearly impossible task of interviewing every dancer of ability he could locate. Some like King Rastus Brown, Ginger Wiggins and Groundhog were remarkable talents known only by a very few--most of whom were other dancers who held them in high esteem. Others like John Bubbles, Ida Forsythe, James Barton, Pete Nugent, Eddie Rector, Alice Whitman, Willie Covan and Harlan Dixon were peerless dancers of their day but forgotten despite years of stardom. Mr. Stearns brought more than a hundred fine hoofers to tell their stories to readers and dance enthusiasts.
Stearns wove those stories together without forcing themes and, within the warp and woof of his narrative, emerged bits of social history and showbiz lore, explanations of certain dance steps, claims and counter-claims as to origins and originality, faulty recollections and all but forgotten gems of clearly remembered facts.
Many reputations emerged brightly restored in luster while others, perhaps more famous, proved less admired by professionals who had more discerning views than fans with less knowledge of dance.
Whenever I need to check a fact about vernacular dance--jazz dance or tap--I turn first to Marshall Stearn's invaluable book.
founder, American Vaudeville Museum publisher of "Vaudeville Times"
author: "Vaudeville, Old & New: an Encyclopedia of Variety Performers in America" (2006, Routledge Press)