Saturday, March 13, 2010
Josephine Baker really knew how to cut a rug. Though I guess it was a lot easier to go all out in France than the U.S. in her time. Her dance moves are pretty epic, occasionally reminding me more of art school dance parties than black and white flapper movies. There's plenty you can read up on about the racial overtones of her costuming and dancing, while some see it as degrading there is also a lot to be said for the work that Josephine did to advance Civil Rights in the US, assist in the French Resistance, integrate American concert halls, and her role as the first African American to star in a major motion picture. Oh and she had a pet cheetah named Chiquita which is just cool. Mostly though, I love these old movies of her dancing cause she looks like she's having so much fun. She's not really adhering to any sort of formal dance but just being herself and everyone seems to get caught up in that attitude and love her for her own style.
Its hard to watch this one and not wanna get up and dance with her.
The Famous Banana Dance. Josephine is on the stage at the Folies Bergere wearing a banana skirt that was designed and made by Jean Cocteau. Oh and the stage set is pretty cool too.
Josephine in Princess Tam Tam (1935). Hey nobody puts Baby in the corner!
From a documentary...