(Turn of the Century)
This chapter begins with a dramatic account of a buck dance challenge between Bill (“Bojangles”) Robinson and Harry Swinton at Brooklyn’s Bijou Theatre, on March 30, 1900, and describes such early percussive dance forms as buck, buck-and-wing, Lancashire clog hornpipe, and ragtime stepping at the turn of the century. Progenitors of Afro-Irish styles of buck–and-wing dancing include Bill Robinson, Harry Swinton, Lotta Crabtree, Katie Carter, King Rastus Brown, Billy Lynch, Nellie DeVeau, George and Josephine Cohan, Barney Fagan, Ned Wayburn, and Bert Williams, as well as George and Ada Overton Walker, whose supreme style of ragtime stepping informed the “class act” stepping of Charles Johnson and Dora Dean, who insisted on the absolute perfection of sound, step, and manner.
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