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davebanks

Where And When Did Northern Soul Dancing Start?

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When I were a lad in the 60's most dancers at youth clubs etc danced with partners or girls danced around handbags and then lads joined in.

Only a few hardy souls danced alone to club sounds and then Northern soul but they may have seen this at the Wheel. I didnt see NS dancing proper until I attended the Torch, then WOW. Then we started attending other NS events large and small and everyone was NS dancing, but in "mainstream" clubs it was still dance around your bags time.

Where did this solo style of NS dancing start, the Wheel?

We did do some solo dancing in the youth clubs to specific records like Harlem Shuffle and I seem to remember one dance probably best forgotten called the shitshaker where you stood still and waggled your legs!! Well we were young and foolish.

Dave Banks

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soul mods started with the odd shuffle and a little backdrop here and there (as seen by the flamingos and others)...it was also a great excuse while getting busted by the cops at a club .. (droping the gear on the floor while dancing or picking it up a little later when everbody was sweet and dandy again) ... then a little later someone accidently slipped on some dodgy pills trying frantically to get up... that's when all the crazy acrobatics moves came in... :hatsoff2:

http://youtu.be/xMRLrf4pNn4

Edited by viphitman

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I guess the style of dancing came from the performances of Jackie Wilson,James Brown and the acrobatic styles of the Mills Brothers.

Dancing solo that's probably connected to the male mating ritual(lol)

Do you mean the Nicholas Brothers? They were doing their thang as far back as the 30s, so I don't see a direct connectionto Northern Soul there, only an indirect one, and even then the Nicholas Brothers were but one theatrical dance act among 100s, probably 1,000s. And they weren't the only ones doing the acrobatic routines, even at that time. They all have their roots in the Vaudeville tradition though, and that stretches back as far as the historical eye can see.

In fact, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to directly connect Northern Soul dancing to the Jazz Tap of the Nicholas Brothers, etc, to the Vaudeville tradition of centuries past and the development of Morris Dancing of Olde England which, with its weird dress sense, funny rituals, peculiar music, not to mention the view the public has of it, sounds exactly as if it could have been a precursor to the eccentric scene we have today.

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For me,watching Sam and Dave,James Brown shuffling their feet,and it just developed into doing your own thing,most clubs were packed(much smaller venues)had to be able to dance on a postage stamp size piece of the dance floor.Eventually into the 70's (in much bigger venues) acrobats turned up(me not included).Just our adaption of breakdancing.

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Do you mean the Nicholas Brothers? They were doing their thang as far back as the 30s, so I don't see a direct connectionto Northern Soul there, only an indirect one, and even then the Nicholas Brothers were but one theatrical dance act among 100s, probably 1,000s. And they weren't the only ones doing the acrobatic routines, even at that time. They all have their roots in the Vaudeville tradition though, and that stretches back as far as the historical eye can see.

In fact, I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to directly connect Northern Soul dancing to the Jazz Tap of the Nicholas Brothers, etc, to the Vaudeville tradition of centuries past and the development of Morris Dancing of Olde England which, with its weird dress sense, funny rituals, peculiar music, not to mention the view the public has of it, sounds exactly as if it could have been a precursor to the eccentric scene we have today.

You're absolutely correct there. The Nicholas brothers are the focal point of that style because they seem to be the only ones recorded.

Backdrops don't seem that far removed from Cossack dancing,when did Fiddler on the Roof come out?

Trends now seem to be moving towards the Hokey Cokey and Greek line dancing.

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im sure the footwork would have come from the black artists....

back drops?...can remember the remaining teds doin that at the youth clubs in the mid 70s when i was a kid

got a dvd with kev darbe saying everyone was into kung fu in the mid 70s and thats where the kicks came from ?

dean

rex garvin -you dont need no help...you can do it by yourself!

http://youtu.be/yy4-oC6NjUU

http://youtu.be/7jNaScs33bg

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Remeber talking to an original brazenose street chap at a nighter in the mid 80's and he said back in the sixties dance steps changed weekly but as 'northern soul' as we know it developed everyone settled in to the basic 4x4 pattern that we all are familuar with and has remained the basic NS soul step for 40 years or so. He was rather disapointed by this lack of invention.

dean

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im sure the footwork would have come from the black artists....

back drops?...can remember the remaining teds doin that at the youth clubs in the mid 70s when i was a kid

got a dvd with kev darbe saying everyone was into kung fu in the mid 70s and thats where the kicks came from ?

dean

rex garvin -you dont need no help...you can do it by yourself!

well there certainly loads of adds for kung fu gear, sharagan wheels ect in the back of 'blues and sou'l and 'black music', along with spencers ect, in the 7ts

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i did a similar thread last october called "soul dancing" , have a look, interesting replies.

I can remember hearing somewhere that the style is derived from an old afro-american style from before the abolition of slavery, 1800's, which evolved into a style called Sloan dancing and which was practiced in the early blues clubs in the states.

Artists in the Music Halls there danced in that style, wheeling, spinning, shuffling and sliding.

It may be that the name "Sloan" is attributable to the dancer and choreographer, Lenwood Sloan who may have influenced the dancing styles in those blues clubs and it could be that that's where artists like James Brown and Major Lance etc had their roots.

As to when and how that impacted on the style of dancing in the soul clubs here is hard to say. Did it come over with the American service men stationed over here, Gino Washington et al? I assume the early soul club goers where influenced by how the soul artists danced on stage and picked up some of the moves from them.

That's my theory but that's all it is.

My experience of how the dancing developed in the clubs I went to is that nearly everybody danced solo in the main stream clubs but congregated on the floor with their own group. The old guard that I know from the wheel used to say that they didn't have enough room on the floor to dance like we did at Wigan etc.

Suspect we'll only ever be able to speculate about all this.

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as long as music has been made, people have danced...... but for a soul point of view, my dad years ago after he was demobbed which would have been about 1948/49 had a job where he stayed and loddged in birmingham quite frequently into the late 50's (btw he was a massive jazz-soul lover and embraced motown with gusto in the 60's,) but in the 50's he went to blues parties in peoples basements of their houses within the afro caribbean community where individuals danced to themselves later when i was a kid my dad used to do a four tops style dance copied from theses parties (or i call it the levi stubbs side step ), so i suppose peoples individual love for music and dance moves that people used or copied just evolved and became more elaborate as the pacier "northern soul" beat emerged and of course as records had twists and breaks it gave some enterprising young acrobats a chance to show off for me its was to wooooo the girls, im mean cmon theres always a bit of an impression to make :D .

not gospel but....thats my take based on my growing up and seeing where it is today..

Edited by geordiejohnson

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soul mods started with the odd shuffle and a little backdrop here and there (as seen by the flamingos and others)...it was also a great excuse while getting busted by the cops at a club .. (droping the gear on the floor while dancing or picking it up a little later when everbody was sweet and dandy again) ... then a little later someone accidently slipped on some dodgy pills trying frantically to get up... that's when all the crazy acrobatics moves came in... :hatsoff2:

http://youtu.be/xMRLrf4pNn4

For those sitting around at tables etc I like the story told to me by passy and john boyd from corby about very early daysincluding harborough where they said you could use your chewing gum to stick your dubes under the tables if the the squad looked interested or were doing a bust,true,I dont know but I guess it would work,trouble is these days the best you could stick to the gum would be some script dex,I had also heard that this was an old mod practisce.Bring back the drinamil .

ps the gum and dubes thing was also apperently popular among the pubs frequented by northamptonshires many dube loving soul people of time gone by.

Edited by manusf3a

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When I were a lad in the 60's most dancers at youth clubs etc danced with partners or girls danced around handbags and then lads joined in.

Only a few hardy souls danced alone to club sounds and then Northern soul but they may have seen this at the Wheel. I didnt see NS dancing proper until I attended the Torch, then WOW. Then we started attending other NS events large and small and everyone was NS dancing, but in "mainstream" clubs it was still dance around your bags time.

Where did this solo style of NS dancing start, the Wheel?

We did do some solo dancing in the youth clubs to specific records like Harlem Shuffle and I seem to remember one dance probably best forgotten called the shitshaker where you stood still and waggled your legs!! Well we were young and foolish.

Dave Banks

I would just love to see a room full of blokes doing the "Shitshaker" :lol:

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you could use your chewing gum to stick your dubes under the tables if the the squad looked interested or were doing a bust

One of my mates, who shall remain nameless but he's on here, used to go into yo-yo mode at Wigan.

He liked to get off his tits on speed then as that started wearing off, he'd drop a barb before he came down (tewnal /chewnal/tunal?... not well up on barbs myself), then he'd drop some more speed, then another barb and repeat the process through the night.

He used to have barbs stuck in chewing gum under tables strategically placed all over the gaff ! :hypo:

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I know it's later than the period that we're talking about, but how 'realistic' (given it's a comedy!) would the James Brown/gospel and Ray Charles sections of The Blues Brothers be? The dancing on there must show some connection.

And let's not forget the huge amount of dance records from the sixties, how many of those dances were interpreted and incorporated into the soul scene?

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Take a look at this the flamingos from 1959

Bazza :hatsoff2:

Bloody hell, utterly brilliant and next time I see Tommy I'm gonna prostrate myself at his feet.

Very Nicholas Brothers.

Yeah the Northants and harboro nighters I went to in 1969 had the blokes dancing in circles and taking their turn in the centre, you could also dance on your own and do your own thing. I loved that as otherwise you had to dance and try and chat up a girl which ruined the musical moment.

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Guest uroffal

Bloody hell, utterly brilliant and next time I see Tommy I'm gonna prostrate myself at his feet.

Very Nicholas Brothers.

Yeah the Northants and harboro nighters I went to in 1969 had the blokes dancing in circles and taking their turn in the centre, you could also dance on your own and do your own thing. I loved that as otherwise you had to dance and try and chat up a girl which ruined the musical moment.

Some more on the circle dancing at the Wheel here from some years ago

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Bloody hell, utterly brilliant and next time I see Tommy I'm gonna prostrate myself at his feet.

Very Nicholas Brothers.

Yeah the Northants and harboro nighters I went to in 1969 had the blokes dancing in circles and taking their turn in the centre, you could also dance on your own and do your own thing. I loved that as otherwise you had to dance and try and chat up a girl which ruined the musical moment.

Yep they could move

Anyone not sure which one is Tommy ,in the still picture he is first on the left,or the second dancer ,great stuff

Bazza :hatsoff2:

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For those sitting around at tables etc I like the story told to me by passy and john boyd from corby about very early daysincluding harborough where they said you could use your chewing gum to stick your dubes under the tables if the the squad looked interested or were doing a bust,true,I dont know but I guess it would work,trouble is these days the best you could stick to the gum would be some script dex,I had also heard that this was an old mod practisce.Bring back the drinamil .

ps the gum and dubes thing was also apperently popular among the pubs frequented by northamptonshires many dube loving soul people of time gone by.

Not sure about that mate........we used to hid em down our scrags.....had a good effect lol

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Back in the mid 60's, knowing the latest dance was more important than owning the 45 that people did it to.

The dances at clubs like the Wheel & Mojo changed every 3/4 weeks. The niter crowd would learn the dance & fetch it back to the local towns.

The mod / soul crowd would congregate at a mid week venue & watch the niter goers dance.

If you hadn't learnt the new steps within a week, you were no longer considered to be in with the 'In Crowd'.

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Watch these guys go from about 3 mins 30 secs into this video ... they appeared at the Wheel in the mid 60's, guess that's what inspired the Wheel dancers to improve / adapt their style ... though at the Mojo in 66/67/68, we were still trying to learn / dance the set US dances (jerk, hitchhike, dog, etc.).

 

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Norther  soul dancing already exsisted , Teddy boys all through  the late 1950,s early 1960,s plus the dancing done in R n B clubs over here and the USA with a more free style  move ment fitted the NS music the dance moves were already there probably as we know from 1950 onwards 

ML

 

 

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On 1/15/2013 at 22:27, gordon russell said:

first person to do any norman soul dancing.....was richard serling 1974

so that would be Northern Soul Dancing  Firstly carried out by richard Searling in 1974 but the casino opened in 73 and other well established clubs before that 

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on a serious note....... there is no such thing as Northern Soul Dancing but there are people (and this has been going on for decades) who dance to soul music, some of which is called 'Northern Soul' ...... just saying

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15 minutes ago, coops said:

on a serious note....... there is no such thing as Northern Soul Dancing but there are people (and this has been going on for decades) who dance to soul music, some of which is called 'Northern Soul' ...... just saying

Hmm... the Northern Soul dance is unique to the scene. Therefore it is Northern Soul dancing. It might have borrowed or been influenced by many other scenes and cultures, but it developed its own instantly recognisable style. It is a dance form in its own right.

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On 12/8/2017 at 12:06, Dayo said:

All I know is that young America has been responsible for starting most of the world's dance crazes.....

...who told you that...?  :lol:   

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Posted (edited)

the first time i encountered people,mainly guys dancing on their own was at the beachcomber club in nottingham 1966.

mainly becuse the girls couldnt be arsed to dance as much as the enthusiastic guys!

and slowly over te years this seemed to become the norm?

came into its own big time at the dungeon/Nottingham-iron door/liverpool-2nd twisted wheel/manchester-whitworth st...as is known the first location was  braznose st.

Edited by soulalways
made a mistake in comment

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I was going to clubs in the Wigan area ect in 1965 onwards, Room at the Top being one of them and what is termed as NS dancing was going on then believe me I used to dance, before that as a kid I used to watch the lads and the odd girls do a hybrid NS dance to Rock n Roll it's been going on in some sort or another since 1953 not 1973,  in the UK the teddy boys did their interpretation of it in the early 1950,s 

kind regards

ML

 

 

 

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