Monday, February 15, 2010
Today's featured article
Master Juba (c. 1825 – c. 1853) was an African American dancer active in the 1840s. He was one of the first black performers in the United States to play onstage for white audiences and the only one of the era to tour with a white minstrel group. Master Juba frequently challenged and defeated the best white dancers. In 1848, he is said to have traveled to London and became a sensation in Britain because of his unique dance style. Nevertheless, an element of exploitation followed him through the British Isles, with writers treating him as an exhibit on display. Juba subsequently faded from the limelight and died in 1852 or 1853. He was largely forgotten by historians until a 1947 article resurrected his story. Existing documents offer confused accounts of Juba's dancing style, but it was likely to have incorporated both European folk steps with African-derived steps used by plantation slaves. Blackface clowns and minstrels adopted elements of his style, which enhanced the authenticity of their performances. By impacting blackface performance, Juba was highly influential on the development of such American dance styles as tap, jazz, and step dancing. (more...)
Yea so that means he died at 28.