Boogie-woogie is a very energetic dance that is danced to jazz, rock and roll melodies, rockabilly. Boogie Woogie is fun and perky, a great choice for theme parties and just for fans of rock and roll and swing. Boogie Woogie is ideal for dancing in parks and clubs, restaurants, and jazz festivals. Regular retro parties, concerts, and festivals take place all over the world.
What is Boogie Woogie Dance? Is this the exact dance that everyone calls Rock and Roll?
Boogie-Woogie is a pair contact dance that anyone can learn, at any age, with any level of initial training. All movements are based on improvisation. There are no clear canons and strict rules, but there is freedom of self-expression, fun, drive, incredible style, and atmosphere of the 50-60s of the last century. At the same time, it is also an official sport in which everyone can try themselves if they wish.
Boogie Woogie isn’t all about dancing. It is always a good mood, active rest, dancing, and a warm company of friends. These are comfortable conditions even for the most gloomy and shy people, an inexhaustible source of positive emotions and new friends. And also, for sure, no one just can sit still and everyone will want to dance to the fiery rock and roll!
You’ve probably seen at least one movie where boogie-woogie is dancing. Compared to other jazz dances, this is perhaps the most famous and popular dance. In terms of fame, he can even compete with tango, and all thanks to the groovy rock and roll music and culture, numerous musicals, and film performances.
Why is boogie-woogie so attractive to people?
This is an energetic and flamboyant pair dance game. It is enough to know the elementary figures and principles of leading and following in order to interact with a partner together to create a new unique dance each time. Boogie-woogie is a social dance that you can dance with a partner from anywhere in the world, relying only on your own creativity. There are no wrong movements, here you determine how to do it correctly.
Boogie-woogie is always diverse and unique, it can be fast or slow, sporty for a competitive, flamboyant performance for a TV show or a simple enjoyable dance for yourself. Take some Boogie Woogie lessons from scratch and you won’t regret it!
Boogie-woogie is one of the prominent representatives of the venerable family of swing dances. It is younger than Lindy Hop and was originally a faster variation. However, now there is no such division, they also dance "slow boogie", which can be much slower than lindy. In the 50s, boogie danced to the music we call rock and roll.
Every dance school has a boogie-woogie class.
Thanks to the lessons, you will quickly master the basic movements, and the practice will help your further development in exactly the direction of the dance that you choose for yourself. This dance is available to everyone, even those who do not know how to dance at all. It matters whether your desire to dance and the desire to master this fiery dance. But for those who have already learned to "twist" somersaults, they can learn to "jump over their heads" or amaze others with their acrobatic show. Performing alone, in the center of the circle, is possible at any party, in a club, and on stage.
Have you always enjoyed watching others dance to rock and roll? That’s a good reason to attend a beginner’s boogie-woogie dance lessons. Boogie-woogie classes are available for beginners and kids.
At the dance school, you will be taught how to move correctly in the boogie-woogie dance, but they will also help you communicate with body language, share impressions, and good mood with each other. An ideal choice for those who are not confident in themselves or want to hone their skills better. Any dance studio will be happy to teach you, even if you have never done this dance before. Often in the dance classes, it is possible to choose an accelerated training format in the form of individual boogie-woogie lessons, so you can learn this dance from the instructor directly. It will be more intense and exciting.
You can practice in a group, in pairs, or alone. Having mastered the basics of boogie-woogie and get a lot of joy and fun!
First of all, boogie-woogie is a style of playing the piano in a blues chord progression. While the right-hand plays the riffs, the left-hand plays the boogie-woogie rhythm: syncopated eighth notes per measure, that is, "eight to the bar" (aka shuffle), as opposed to four to the bar. Before the term "boogie-woogie" appeared, this style was also called fast western or fast blues.
The name "boogie woogie" has African roots and is close to the words "beat", "dance" and also "come off". The style itself is attributed to African American pianists in Texas in the 1870s. The first audio recording of a boogie-woogie bass figure is dated 1919. This is "Weary Blues" by Louisiana Five. Then there was the first boogie solo on the piano, back in 1924, but the official date for the appearance of the style is December 29, 1928. The day when the recording of Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie "Clarence" Pinetop Smith was released.
This is very similar to what we are used to. And it’s called boogie woogie (for the first time). Today this dance even has instructions.
"Now, when I tell you to hold yourself, do not you move a peg.
And when I tell you to get it, I want you to Boogie Woogie!"
Two more musicians of the same style who are worth knowing are Albert Ammons and Meade "Lux" Lewis. They were friends. Although popularity came to them a little later, already in the swing era. In the early 1920s, both worked as taxi drivers.
Speaking of the Age of Swing. In 1938 and 39, producer John Hammond organized From Spirituals to Swing concerts at Carnegie Hall. Ammons and Lewis also shared the stage with Basie and Goodman. And Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson played Roll ’Em Pete, now called the first rock and roll.
Of course, the running of the band could not ignore this rhythm, especially if the band has a good pianist. Tome Dorsey with TD’s Boogie Woogie (1938), Count Basie’s Basie Boogie (1944) Cab Kelloway with Calloway Boogie (1947), Gina Krupa’s Drum Boogie (1941), Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar Vila Bradley (1940). And of course Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (1941) by Andrews Sisters, which Christina Aguilera then turned into "Candyman" (video not for the faint of heart). In the 40s, every respected band had at least a couple of tracks with a booze rhythm. And Whitey’s Lindy Hoppers danced beautifully to this (although then boogie could call any dance to fast music).
After the war, when no one had any money for big orchestras, the roads of jazz and boogie rhythm parted. Jazz grew serious and became bebop, boogie rhythm decided to stay in pop dance music and went into jump blues. It’s like the blues, only faster and with saxophone, which is literally used to the limit of its capabilities. The peak of his fame is in the mid-late 40s - early 50s, that is, in parallel with bebop.
They say that the grandfathers of the jump-blues were the running bands of Lionel Hampton and Lucky Millinder, who played quite a swing in the 30s, but gradually went in the wrong direction and raised a generation of new saxophonists like Jack McVea and Illinois Jacquet (Illinois Jacquet )), and vocalists like Wynonie Harris, Ruth Brown, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. In the late forties, Hampton was mixing boogie rhythm with swinging saxophone, funny lyrics, and explosive performance.
Jump blues is all about parties, alcohol, dancing, and other "fun". Only Amos Milbourne himself has a lot of whiskey songs. But the jump blues is also about freedom. Moreover, not only from external but also from internal restrictions.
Jump Blues and Boogie Woogie quickly became commercial music and took the place of swing. At a time when bands one after another dispersed, black Americans began to flock from villages to cities (especially in LA), took country blues with them, and gathered in small bands. Since the establishment could not afford many musicians, they had to rely on loud vocalists and even louder saxophones.
Louis Jordan is perhaps the most famous jump blues musician and the king of the jukebox. A singer and saxophonist, he played in the Chick Internet band in the 30th, and then assembled his own, the Tympany Five. He embodies everything that is in the jump blues - joke and rhythm, saxophone and shouts vocals, and of course, Boogie Woogie dancing. He is also credited as one of the first R&B artists to become popular with a white audience.
Who else should you look for on YouTube to get acquainted with Jump Blues: Amos Milburn, Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Charles Brown, Roy Milton, Wynonie Harris, and Louis Prima. And don’t forget the Shout Sister Shout women like Big Mama Thornton and Big Maybelle who have successfully continued into R&B.
Boogie-woogie is still very popular. In conservative Europe, it has long been viewed as a savage dance because of the manner of its performance: the partner threw the partner to the length of an outstretched arm, then with a sharp movement drew her to him.
Although the style of boogie-woogie has changed somewhat since then, it is still danced very rhythmically but gracefully. The movements are performed on the entire foot. The dance partners are somewhat distant from each other and are in a closed position. The partner starts and ends the dance movement in any direction. The partner takes the opposite steps.
The word “boogie” in the slang of that time had two meanings - it meant, firstly, sexual contact, and secondly, simply the state of “complete pleasure”. The dancing followed the music, as always. One of the movements of the popular dance "Ballin ’the Jack" in the 1920s was also called Boogie Woogie, and soon after the decline of this dance and the emergence of Lindy Hop and its varieties.
Today, the term Boogie Woogie has come to refer to any swing dance performed at a fast pace. After American soldiers and entertainment teams from USO (an American organization that performed concerts for American troops at military bases) brought the East Coast Swing to Europe during World War II, Europeans reworked this form into the basis of what we now call Boogie Woogie. The main period of the development of this dance falls in the late forties - early fifties. With the advent of rock and roll, bop became fashionable, although Boogie Woogie continued to dance for a while. With the advent of the twist, Boogie Woogie was finally forgotten by everyone except professional dancers. Mutations with Boogie Woogie in Europe became canon and formed complete forms - jive and acrobatic rock and roll.
There are two main versions - "social", that is, just dancing for fun, and "acrobatic" - requiring almost athletic training. If ever the Olympic program includes dancing, it will be the competitive acrobatic version of the Boogie Woogie. Although Boogie Woogie was originally a fast dance, today there is also a slow version.
Over time, Boogie Woogie was completely absorbed in acrobatic rock and roll, and the dance itself became incredibly complex, with many necessary elements - in fact, it ceased to be a dance and became a sport, a kind of gymnastics for two to music, it became impossible to dance for social purposes, even if you were a good dancer. Therefore, in the early eighties, a number of European dancers had a desire to get to the roots, to see how this dance actually looked in those days.
Boogie Woogie is a jazz style that has proven to be quite accessible to a wide audience. It is a piano style, but instrumental pieces in this style have sometimes been successfully performed by orchestras. This music itself appeared even before such an unusual name was given to it.
The search for old tapes and eyewitnesses turned out to be fruitful, and as a result, in 1984, the first Boogie Woogie championship was held in Munich in the form we know now, and after Germany, those who were keen on this dance appeared in Italy and Switzerland. Over the next decade, Boogie Woogie remained the domain of professional dancers, but the revival of swing in the United States prompted Europeans to also turn to this culture and rediscover Boogie Woogie as one of the more Europeanized parts of that culture.