Sunday, April 27, 2008

Dance on the Rise

Throughout the 20th century, dance has always been a large form of entertainment in the United States. It evolved from a couple of techniques to an abundance of forms that took over the nation. Change was the reoccurring theme throughout this era due to WWI and II, which caused the beginning of the social revolution. Returning soldiers and their wives were more likely to go dancing at bars and nightclubs. Accordingly, the fun and entertainment era erupted, and swept through the states. There have been three major spikes in the development of dance in the 20th century. Television allowed nationwide access to a variety of dances through shows like American Bandstand and later MTV. The Internet allowed videos to be seen at any time, and created another medium by which the public could see new dances. Dance movies stormed through America and the world, exposing dance to a much wider population. From the early days Vaudeville, to present day television, dance has become even more commercialized due to the media outlets that have been invented in the last 20th century like television, the internet and movies.

The birth of the television created new ideas in media. Apparel stores were able to commercialize their clothing and accessories on TV in order to get new customers to enter their stores. Soon, shows such as American Bandstand entered the homes of many people throughout the nation. Putting musicians on television to commercialize their albums opened doors for new dance techniques that went right along with the music industry. As the music industry changed, the forms of dance began to change. When James Brown engulfed the nation on American Bandstand, the teenage population began to shimmy, funky chicken, and mash potato. As time went on, “the old James Brown, the robot, the bug-a-loo, and the soul train” all became major steps used in techniques such as break dancing, popping and locking, jazz, and Broadway. Also, once television hit mainstream, movies followed right after. Top Hat, one of the first Fred Astaire movies from 1935, took Broadway dance and theatre to the big screen, which caused choreography by Jack Cole, Fred Astaire, Gwen Verdon, and Bob Fosse to explode, and become popular in the mid- 1900’s. As the popularity of musicals grew, performance style dance became a new branch of technique within the dance world. Later, movies such as Save the Last Dance, Center Stage, and You Got Served created an increase in ballet and hip-hop popularity. Finally, television shows such as, Dancing with the Stars, So you think you can dance, and America’s Best Dance Crew, gave rise to ballroom dancing, hip hop and contemporary dance.

While dance began to erupt through the mid-1900’s due to television, the late 1900’s introduced the Internet. As the Internet began to expand, YouTube created an outlet for choreographers and dancers, along with anyone in the nation, to put their videos and creations on the web for all to see. With YouTube people can learn how to do popular dances from their favorite music videos such as “lean wit it, rock wit it”, “two-step,” and “crank dat soulja boy”. As YouTube expands, more and more people observe and view new dance styles everyday, which causes a rise in new dance techniques and commercialization.

Television and the Internet created a major increase in popularity for dance throughout the nation and the world. Although dance has always been commercialized through advertisements in newspapers and people yelling them out on the streets, the development of the TV and Internet created a boom for dance forms and techniques everywhere.

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