[Ads-l] Jazz Girls, 1915?

Amy West medievalist at W-STS.COM
Tue Oct 27 12:18:03 UTC 2015

On 10/27/15 12:00 AM, ADS-L automatic digest system wrote:
> Date: Mon, 26 Oct 2015 13:36:04 -0400 From: Ben Zimmer 
> <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM> Subject: Re: Jazz Girls, 1915? On Mon, Oct 26, 
> 2015 at 1:18 PM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>> >
>> >Mary was a big star by 1912 at least, though I don't know when she adopted
>> >the sausage curls.
>> >
>> >As a title, "Jazz Girls" may imply no more than that jazz-loving women were
>> >more likely to - well, you know.
> Yes, like "jazz babies," those female jazz enthusiasts who the OED
> informs us were "frequently regarded as somewhat dissolute"! (The
> titular "jazz baby" of the 1919 song wanted to be "jazzing all the
> time.")
Because I do vintage dance, I'm beginning to wonder if the social dance 
of the period is the "missing link", if you will, between the sex and 
music senses of "jazz". With Ragtime and 20s there is a big shift in dance:

1) the dances shift from mostly contra to mostly paired


2) the paired dances "bubble up" (if you will) from the dance halls (as 
opposed to trickling down from formal balls), and there are taxi 
dances/dancers (rent a dance partner)


3) tango, which is just an overtly sexy dance

So, I'm thinking that folks working on "jazz" might be wanting to talk 
to some dance historians and see what they've found for instances of 
"jazz" in the historical dance materials . . .

(And I apologize for repeating myself if I've said this before. . . )

---Amy West

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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