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The Jam

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Jam or Hoe Down

         The "Hoe-Down" was done originally in the Minstrel shows of days gone by. Each dancer of the troupe would come out and dance a few steps, while the rest of the dancers circled around and watch and cheer them on, clapping and stomping their feet, as one dancer would finish another of the dancers would take their place in the circle. This would repeat till all danced. This Hoe-Down would also make it's way to the Barn Dance.

   The Hoe-Down incorporated a variety of early American Negro elements such as Foot Stomping, Hand Clapping, Ring Games and Spirituals.

   In later years the Swing dance community adopted this same type of Hoe-Down, but it would be called a "Jam" usually happening spontaneously and was done just for fun. The WCS Jam would form to certain known songs being played, usually a medium speed song such as "Rockin' at Midnight" or "Give Me Something Fried" and each subsequent song getting faster (usually 30 to 40 bpms faster each one,) then finally ending with Hand Clappin' or another blazing fast song upwards of over 200 bpms.

    This Jam would be used to generally showcase the "Hottest" dancers or local "hotshots" in the place as well as past Champion and/or Legendary dancers from the past and sometimes a challenger who thought they were good enough. Occasionally a couple would come out who should not be out there, usually an unknown dancer to the group but would quickly be replaced if dancing 'sloppy'. No one is ever booed out of the Jam Circle but sometimes cheered on or applauded. Each dancer is generally given about 30 to 45 seconds to shine before being replaced by the next dancer with some getting a few more seconds due to procrastination by other eager dancers confused on who's going next.

    These dancers would ease out onto the floor, letting the current dancer become aware they were coming out with the current dancers dancing off the floor. Once the current dancer was safely off the floor the then current dancers were somewhat in the center of the Jam circle, they would cut loose. The best dancer's would usually finish last as no one would want to replace or "follow them" on the floor, or the Music got to dang fast or occasionally the music would just end and the dancer's would go back to general dancing.

    The current trend in WCS Jams are really more a social mixer than a Jam, However they use the same Format as the 'Jam', whereas everyone participates regardless of level due to the slower music with many trying to keep it going by repeating many dances with different people to the same song. If a second song is used, it's usually around the same speed.

    The Hip-Hop community also does a "Dance Jam" or "challenge dance" or "Duels" with a solo or group taking the circle knocking out the previous solo or group that was dancing.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

U.S.A. n/a Minstrel Shows Folk

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a n/a Hand Clappin' (the Baxsters)
        Baxsters Boogie (the Baxsters)
        Tough Tennars (the Baxsters)
        Give Me Something Fried
        Rockin' at Midnight

Ballrooms / Night Clubs



Lion D' Or | Press Box Nightclub (CA) n/a U.S.A.
Palladium Ballroom        
Palomar Ballroom        
Savoy Ballroom        

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

Breakin' I & II n/a n/a
Flash Dance        


Love 'N' Dancing       n/a
Swing Kids        

Other Related Dances of the time...

Barn Dance Lindy Hop West Coast Swing
Folk Dance Swing Dance  
Jitterbug Hip Hop | Break Dance etc.    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Top Swing Dancers Kenny Wetzel n/a
Top Salsa Dancers    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Published Publisher



Poets / Writers

n/a n/a Wittke

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

Jams Olio   -
Minstrel Vaudeville      

The Basic Step : N/A