Over-the-Top and In-the-Trenches
This chapter begins with the all-black production of Darktown Follies of 1913—the musical hit that popularized such tap steps as over-the-top and in-the-trenches—and the “buying” of that musical by Florenz Ziegfeld for his Ziegfeld Follies of 1914; and elaborates on the interest of whites in borrowing song and dance material from black culture. While buck-and-wing/tap dancing was slow to gain prominence on the white Broadway stage, it developed as a performance art in traveling medicine shows, carnivals, tent shows, and circuses. In the teens, tap moved onto the vaudeville stage, despite its evolution in two separate arenas, as black and white entertainers were kept apart. Heading down dual paths of development that rarely intersected, the great wave chain of black and white vaudeville created a sort of double helix that wound around the core of tap without ever joining into a single strand.
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