A Description Of Jitterbug Dancing
The jitterbug dance is composed of energetic, acrobatic and improvisational movements performed with a partner, solo or in a line. Under the umbrella of swing dance, its freedom of movement influenced other dance styles, including the shag, jive and push.
Name Origin: The jitterbug takes its name from the jerky movements attributed to the exuberance of dancers during Prohibition, who had the "jitters" from drinking too much alcohol.
Influences: The Charleston and Lindy Hop, two popular dances of the 1920s, influenced the movements of the jitterbug. Popular in Harlem, the Lindy Hop was influenced by African dance movements.
History: The jitterbug originated in the United States and spread throughout the country and into Europe during World War II, becoming a popular social dance in the 1930s and '40s.
Music: The jitterbug is danced to syncopated rhythms in 4/4 time commonly found in jazz and swing music. It is also danced to rock 'n roll and other styles of upbeat contemporary music.
Evolution: As swing and jazz music evolved, so did the jitterbug. When the jitterbug became an accepted form of ballroom dancing in the mid-1940s, dancers enhanced their movements with tap and jazz steps. It became a popular dance with teenagers in the 1950s.