Cover for MALONE: Steppin' on the Blues: The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance

Steppin' on the Blues

The Visible Rhythms of African American Dance
Awards and Recognition:

Special Citation from the de la Torre Bueno Prize of the Dance Perspectives Foundation, 1997. A CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title, 1998.

It's impossible to think of the heritage of music and dance in the United States without the invaluable contributions of African Americans. Those art forms have been touched by the genius of African American culture and have helped this nation take its important and unique place in the pantheon of world art.

Steppin' on the Blues explores not only the meaning of dance in African American life but also the ways in which music, song, and dance are interrelated in African American culture. Dance as it has emanated from the black community is a pervasive, vital, and distinctive form of expression--its movements speak eloquently of African American values and aesthetics. Beyond that it has been, finally, one of the most important means of cultural survival.

Former dancer Jacqui Malone throws a fresh spotlight on the cultural history of black dance, the Africanisms that have influenced it, and the significant role that vocal harmony groups, black college and university marching bands, and black sorority and fraternity stepping teams have played in the evolution of dance in African American life. From the cakewalk to the development of jazz dance and jazz music, all Americans can take pride in the vitality, dynamism, drama, joy, and uncommon singularity with which African American dance has gifted the world.

"Excellent . . . An outstanding history of black dance. There is no comparable book available."--William Ferris, director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture


Jacqui Malone is an associate professor of drama, theater, and dance at Queens College, Flushing, New York, and a former member of the Eleo Pomare Dance Company. She has published articles in The Black Perspective in Music and Dance Research Journal.

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