I wanted to blog about the kind of hillbilly clog dance I used to see on tape at John K's place, but I couldn't find a good video of it. Hillbilly line dancing is different than country. If you have any Ernest Tubbs tapes watch the line dancers in the background...see how their bodies are completely stiff while their legs scramble in place at a mile a minute...now THAT'S authentic hillbilly line, or at least it's the kind I like.
Anyway, thinking about that reminded me of the Irish dance it was derived from, which you can see in the "Riverdance" clip above. I imagine tap dancing began with the Celts.
Here's (above) another hillbilly style. Man, those hillbillies were sharp!
Thinking about line dancing reminded me of a popular line dance of the 1920s called "The Peabody." The couples version is complicated, but the line dance can be learned by anybody in an hour or two. The oldsters above don't seem to have any trouble with it. I like line dances. it's fun to do synchronized choreography.
The Peabody survived through decades of permutations, the last one I'm aware of being "The Madison" (above) in the early sixties. Hmmm....there might be a video problem here. If you're seeing a blank space where the film should be, just double click on the empty space.
It's off-topic, but I can't resist throwing in this version of The Charleston." It would be hard to over-estimate the importance of this dance. Similar dances like the Shimmy and the Cake and the Black Bottom pre-dated it, but they were confined to blacks and small numbers of hip whites. The Charleston was the breakout dance that introduced really large numbers of whites to black dance and black culture.
If you've only seen the inverted knee style of Charleston, then you're in for a treat when you see this video (above). I knew from old photos that the dance had a lot more to offer than the knee step. When it's done right The Charleston is liberating and innovative and feels years ahead of its time.
One last digression: one dance that was almost a complete dead end, was burlesque. The intimate dances you see today all seem to have other roots. It never developed into an art form, though you could argue that Gypsy Rose Lee, Marlena Dietrich and others tried to give it a push in that direction.