Genres: Music,Books,Arts & Entertainment,Nonfiction,Social Science,Dance

Between Beats


Product Summery

Between Beats: The Jazz Tradition and Black Vernacular Dance offers a new look at the complex intersections between jazz music and popular dance over the last hundred-plus years. Author Christi Jay Wells shows how popular entertainment and cultures of social dancing were crucial to jazz music's formation and development even as jazz music came to earn a reputation as a "legitimate" art form better suited for still, seated listening. Through the concept of choreographies of listening, the book explores amateur and professional jazz dancers' relationships with jazz music and musicians as jazz's soundscapes and choreoscapes were forged through close contact and mutual creative exchange. It also unpacks the aesthetic and political negotiations through which jazz music supposedly distanced itself from dancing bodies. Fusing little-discussed material from diverse historical and contemporary sources with the author's own years of experience as a social jazz dancer, it advances participatory dance and embodied practice as central topics of analysis in jazz studies. As it explores the fascinating history of jazz as popular dance music, it exposes how American anxieties about bodies and a broad cultural privileging of the cerebral over the corporeal have shaped efforts to "elevate" expressive forms such as jazz to elite status.