Josephine Baker, African dance styles.

Flexibility is a greatly valued quality in African dance, and was in great contrast to the style of European dancing in the 1920’s. In African culture flexibility is a sign of youth and vigour, these aspects of Josephine’s performances were deemed exotic and intoxicating by the audiences who saw her.

Josephine was almost double jointed, and the fashionable aesthetic of form seen through movement rather than the usual frozen attitudes of beauty was exactly what Josephine embodied. Her energy was infectious, she epitomsed the metaphor of pure abandon. The dance fashions of the time such as the Charleston, were physical representations of liberty and freedom. There was no one who could demonstrate this better via dance than Josephine Baker.

“… I improvised, crazed by the music… Even my teeth and eyes burned with fever. Each time I leaped I seemed to touch the sky and when I regained earth it seemed to be mine alone.” Josephine Baker.