Music: Big Apple

  • Share
  • Read Later

Next to Negroes (but a long way behind them), white Southern youngsters are the most inventive and dextrous dancers in the U. S. They work hard at their fun, and to "shine," or perform so as to attract attention, is accounted worthy. Last spring, at a prom at the University of South Carolina, a dance was launched which promised to give Southerners more scope for shining than they had ever enjoyed before. It was called "The Big Apple." A party of students had seen Negroes cavorting through its steps in the "Big Apple Night Club," a onetime synagog in Columbia, had given the name to the dance and practiced it secretly for their prom. By last week the Big Apple was gaining currency which, but for the fortunate fact that it is too strenuous for mature ballroom dancers, threatened to make it a national menace like the Charleston (1920).

Danced in a circle by a group, like the Paul Jones, the Big Apple is led by one who calls the steps, as in a Virginia reel. Fundamental step is a hop similar to the Lindy Hop. In the words of Variety, "it requires a lot of floating power and fanny-ing." In groups or singly, the dancers do such steps—mostly of Negro origin—as the Black Bottom, "shag," Suzi-Q, Charleston, "truckin'," as well as old square-dance turns like London Bridge, and a formation which resembles an Indian Rain Dance. The Big Apple invariably ends upon a somewhat reverent note, with everybody leaning back and raising his arms heavenward. This movement is called "Praise Allah." Through it all, the "caller" shouts continuously—"Truck to the right. . . . Reverse it. . . . To the left. . . . In place. . . . Stomp that right foot. . . . Swing it. . . . All right, shine. . . . Suzi-Q to the right. . . . Praise Allah."

Last week a troupe billed as Big Apple champions from the South appeared in Manhattan at the Roxy Theatre. The swank Rainbow Room in Rockefeller Center unbent to stage Big Apple exhibitions under the direction of Dancing Teacher

Arthur Murray, who was also making a cinema short for Educational Pictures. A Negro Big Apple troupe was assembled in Harlem and the South, sent out to tour the U. S. with Ted Wallace's Swing Band. And two different tunes, both called The Big Apple, were on best-selling phonograph record lists of the week.

  1. Previous Page
  2. 1
  3. 2