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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Azizi African American Secular Folk Songs (149* d) RE: African American Secular Folk Songs 17 May 05

Sorry about that. I meant to write "I mention the Grizzly Bear dance and include the information posted on, for the historical folkloric value though I don't agree with that site on where the dance originated."

And Guest 17 May 05 - 02:40 PM, I agree with you that there is no connection between these two songs and that the Grizzly dance dos not come from the song that I posted above.

Click here for More on the Grizzly Bear dance

Here is an excerpt from that site:

"'Grizzly Bear,'" better known as "Doing the Grizzly Bear," by Irving Berlin/George Botsford, was a ragtime song intorduced by entertainer Fannie Brice in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1910. The song is often associated with Sophie Tucker who performed it in vaudeville and later recorded it for Mercury. "Grizzly Bear" was recorded for Victor by Bill Murray and the American Quartet. The song's lyrics describe one of the ragtime animal dances supposed to have originated on San Francisco's notorious Barbary Coast. These animal dances of the early 1900s were descended from African-American social dances in which the characteristic manner of various animals is imitated. The grizzly bear dance was a variation of the turkey trot, performed with a swooping, swaying walk culminating in a bear hug between partners. (Bears, incidentally, do not dispatch their prey with death hugs.) Unlike the buzzard lope, snake hip, fish tail, camel walk, bunny hug, horse trot, crab step, kangaroo dip, lame duck, and chicken scratch, the grizzly bear escaped censorship by the strict dance establishment, possibly owing to the absence of grinding steps. In 1911 the grizzly bear was offically adopted on California's state flag, and was later featured in souvenir songs and promotional material for the 1915 San Franciso World's Fair (Panama Pacific International Exposition). Perhaps Beard's image of romping bears in his late 19th century painting, The Bear Dance, suggested itself in 1907 when Scott Joplin began plotting his opera in three acts, Treemonisha. "The Frolic of the Bears" (c. 1915) in act two, wherein costumed actors mimic the bears' frolic, or party, in the Ozark forest, seems rather odd apart from the bear fad. Because bears are not found in Africa and therefore do not figure prominently in African-American folklore, one might speculate that Treemonisha's "BoogerBears" are in essence superstition's hobgoblin, dispelled by the heroine's love, wisdom, and Christian enlightenment."


For those who aren't familiar with the name, Scot Joplin was an African American.

And, just for the record, there is no method to what songs I decide to focus on in this thread. My selection of 'Grizzly Bear' was probably influenced by Bobert's current thread on bears.


Ms. Azizi

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