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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.

Rocking Around The Clock: Teenage Dance Fads 1955 to 1965

Popular Dance and the Birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll

1960s Dance Fads: the Madison and the Twist

How the Madison and the Twist “Crossed Over”

Dancing the Madison and Twist

The Madison and the Twist [Conclusions and Notes]

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.


1. John Knight - December 13, 2007

Just re-read your re-written piece. I have no problems with it at all. Do go ahead with your piece on dancing. Anything that keeps the historical and social record straight needs to be printed – so print and be damned as they say! (That’s what happens when you stick your head above the parapet…) No doubt someone will find fault – someone always does. However, stick with it. Sent after my response to your email. Good luck and remember what Roosevelt said … “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself …” or a gang of hoodies on street corner in birmingham late at night!

2. John Crooks - September 21, 2009

thanks for this great blog, I just found it.
My work is more about composition and computers, but related.

wallofsound - September 21, 2009

Thank you for your comment at wallofsound. I appreciate it.


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