Popular Music and Dance
I am particularly interested in the relationship between popular music and dance. This is a very under-researched field, and it’s possible to collect all the books on the subject on one bookcase shelf.
Here you’ll find links to some of my work in progress on different aspects of dance that I posted on the blog page as well as references to my own published work and the most interesting pieces produced by others.
First off here’s a series of articles on US fad dances of the late 1950s and early 1960s. It’s quite difficult researching the history of another culture, and histories of popular culture are notoriously inaccurate or selective; I hope I’ve got all this right. I’d very much welcome comments.
I am also very interested in the Northern Soul scene in the UK, and particularly the evolution of dancing on the scene. The first item I posted was received with such a lot of vitriol on some Northern discussion groups I’ve become rather nervous about posting other stuff. I felt the clash of social and professional worlds in that moment. However, I’ve now added something on dance style on the Northern dancefloor.
I’ve been dancing at Northern Soul nights for over 35 years, so it’s easier to collect data, but of course it’s harder to step back and analyse when involved. It seems it is even harder for others on the scene to believe that it is possible to make sense of our cultural experience in a wider context of the history of black music and dancing. I’ve made a couple of stabs at making some points about the way other academics have written about the relationship between the Northern Soul scene and African American culture. The most recent one is here. The earlier draft is here.
Here’s an analysis of dancing Northern Soul style.