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La folie du jour

Banana's dance

Numeridanse.tv 1926

Choreographer(s) : Baker, Joséphine (United States)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv

en fr

La folie du jour

Banana's dance

Numeridanse.tv 1926

Choreographer(s) : Baker, Joséphine (United States)

Present in collection(s): Numeridanse.tv

en fr

La danse des bananes

It was the summer of 1926 at the Folies Bergère in Paris. Hordes of white Parisians flocked to the famed theater to see La Revue Nègre,  a musical show that emerged from France due to the country’s  fascination with jazz culture. And there, wearing little more than  strings of pearls, wrist cuffs, and a skirt made of 16 rubber bananas,  Josephine Baker descended from a palm tree onstage, and began to dance.  This dance—the danse sauvage—is what established her  as the biggest black female star in the world. She became an overnight  sensation: Thousands of dolls in banana skirts were sold all over  Europe; beauty editors advised women to rub walnut oil on their faces to  darken their skin like Baker’s; postcards, featuring Baker with a  glossy, slicked-down­­ hairstyle in her famous banana skirt with jewelry  strategically placed over naked breasts, were widely distributed.


©Gaumont Pathe Archives, Actuality Pathé's collection

Source: Vogue

Baker, Joséphine

(1906 – 1975)
French dancer and singer of American origin.

She learnt how to dance in the streets and courtyards of Saint Louis (Missouri), assimilating an immense repertoire of movements before debuting at the age of fifteen and gaining notice with her facial expressions and buffoonery in the chorus for "Shuffle Along" (1921), where her number mocked the idea of the chorus line. In 1924, she appeared on Broadway with "Chocolate Dandies" then in the L. Leslie review at the Plantation Club. She appeared in Paris in 1925 at the Theatre des Champs-Elysées in the Revue Nègre, where her sense of rhythm, vivacity, stage presence, and exotic nature in the eyes of the public earned her immediate success. At nineteen, she became the symbol of the latest Parisian fad: hot jazz. She then teamed up with the Folies-Bergère for a long association that would end in 1950, also appearing in “The Siren of the Tropics" (1927), "Zouzou" (1935), and in cabarets around the world.
If in the 1920s the French public compared her to an animal, it was due to racial prejudice, and also because of her apparent spontaneity which, in fact, masked well-known steps and dances (mess around, shake, shimmy) and years of daily practice. By dropping and rising, sliding, squinting, twirling a finger on her head like a spinning top, she achieved the essence of jazz through her dance, built of a series of improvised changes. Also called a “living African sculpture", multi-rhythmic and perfectly dissociated, almost joint-less, she demonstrated enormous elasticity and used her entire body, including her pelvis: her “fanatic jiggling" violated the conventions of the day, eliciting criticism which, most of the time, reflected male hypocrisy. Through the ease with which she executed, her enthusiasm and contagious joy, the way she gave herself entirely to the dance (in particular the Charleston, which she made fashionable in France), she symbolises the 1920s and their rejection of all bonds.

Source : Dictionnaire de la Danse, dir. Philippe Le Moal, Larousse, 1999

Gaumont Pathé

Gaumont Pathé Archives was set up after the catalogues of  Cinémathèque Gaumont and Pathé Archives were combined in 2004. This  venture is now the leading French image bank for black and white and  colour images illustrating the history of the 20th and 21st centuries.  The archive contains nearly 12,000 hours of footage including Pathé, Gaumont  and Eclair newsreels from 1908 to 1979, Sygma archives and the recently  acquired Soviet archives from the Arkeion catalog, and numerous  documentaries. 

Gaumont-Pathe Archives also conserves and showcases silent movies  from the combined catalogues of Gaumont and Pathé which contains over  2,000 titles. These include films by the founding fathers of French  cinema, from Leonce Perret and Albert Capellani to Ferdinand Zecca and Louis Feuillade. 

Source: Wikipédia

More information: http://www.gaumontpathearchives.com/ 

La danse des bananes

Choreography : Joséphine Baker

Interpretation : Joséphine Baker

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