Music and dance have a close association when talking about African American cultural dance. Their cultural dance serves the purpose of not only companionship, but is also viewed as an intricate yet creative activity. People who fancy dance delineate African American dance as ‘vernacular’ which connotes native or being natural. Dance, music and other related arts come with cultural experience, thus it’s not innate.
Are you still wondering that African American cultural dance is where a group of ladies wearing bamboo made clothes with painted faces move their torsos? Well, it is partially true because their dance depicts ongoing changes and development along with great significance given to the improvisation. The whole idea of an African American cultural dance is to let the person feel free and to avoid a stiff intentional movement done by typical Europeans since the time immemorial. African American’s prefer dance movements that come from within instead of complex movements and this is what makes them unique from all the others.
Talking about the vernacular dances, which is organic in a way that it gives an individual freedom of space so that the body can adapt to changes in the environment. Their dances resulted in reaction to slavery prevailing in the seventeenth century in United States. African slaves who were commanded by Americans observed the white masters on their parties. Much of these slaves’ dances were a response to those frustrations to express their religion, cultural and social practises.
Like salsa, ballet and tap dance, African American cultural dance is not learned in formal dancing schools. Street dancers as they were majorly known as, their children adapt to their surroundings and dance in a natural manner. Stepping as a form of art dance is associated with African American cultural dance. It is when there are loose movements of limbs and pounding of the dancer is in great tempo. Cakewalk was the first African American dance which became popular with the whites. Some other dances majorly called as Charleston, the Lindy Hop, the Jitterbug and the swing followed a similar pattern of folk tradition. Nevertheless, hip hop genre has also been influenced by the African American.
Besides that, dance plays an important role in African American culture. These people dance on special occasions in order to celebrate religious occasions, births and marriage ceremonies. They use this medium to imitate ordinary events such as on harvesting of crops. African American cultural dance is all about lifting your feet; creating shuffling movements, swinging arms up in the air with shaking belly and enjoying to the fullest. Also read here Bayreuth Festival 2011.