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Unidentified Phot - Truckin' Dance (may be Cora LaRedd

Truckin' Title   Many lay claim that comedian Dewey "Pigmeat" Markhem of the Apollo Theatre, N.Y. invented Truckin'. (Markhem might have been the first to name what he was doing as Truckin' but he did not invent the dance, maybe, only a style/Idea version of it.) Ed Sullivan gave credit to Cora LaRedd of the Cotton Club.


   Walter Winchell thought that the dance had its conception some five or six years ago (his time), at the old Connie's Inn. Bojangles gave a description about a man at a dock walking, and some said that Willie Bryant came up with it. Allan McMillan, who was a Chicago Defender's nightclub correspondent, said the original idea was introduced by comedian Chunk Robinson who later performed in a revue at Small's paradise. According to McMillan ... "Chunk introduced it in a Columbia Burlesque chain of theatres as far back as 1928. There wasn't any particular name for the dance but Chunk continued to do it because it made the people laugh."


   Prior to the 1930's version, It also resembled the old "Buzz" step that was recorded back in the old minstrel days of 1915. It was as Sullivan stated Cora La Redd who most probably made it popular with the dancing public around 1927, but she did not invent it.


   Some historians have traced the "Truckin' Dance" way back to the old Minstrel Shows of the 1830's in Louisville, Kentucky with the dancing of Dan Thomas Rice (Jump or Daddy Jim Crow). Rice did a few steps that are known as 'Truckin' today. Rice introduced his Jim Crow dance at Ludlo and Smiths Theatre in Louisville Kentucky.

   Truckin' TODAY is considered a Harlem Dance originating around 1927 however. It signifies the Strutting Walk done when one is happy or joyful. It became very popular with the Lindy Hop dancers and finally arrived in London around 1935.


  Truckin' is mainly a shuffle rhythm (slightly pigeon-toed) that is really not a dance but a variation. Truckin' is mainly used in Lindy hop today after separating from your partner to return later back together again. Truckin' can be done as a couple or solo.


The main feature of Truckin' is the shoulders which rise and fall as the dancers move towards each other while the fore finger points up and wiggles back and forth like a windshield wiper.

In 1935 The Cotton Club Revue featured the shows: "Jitterbug Jamboree" which featured:
    1) the Floogie Walk and
    2) and "Truckin'


   The 'Joe Louis Truck' was reported to be a new dancearound 1937 when the Amsterdam News reportedly said that Don Redman's Orchestra created a new dance called the Joe Louis Truck. However Don Redman says "when he first saw the newspaper clipping he knew nothing about the song or the dance, so he wrote one," which he says was 'before the "Truckin' dance became popular." He also says "nothing became of the song." It is said to come from South Carolina.


   Dancer Buzzin' Burton used to finish his act with his shoulders hunched and would raise his hand and wiggle his index finger towards the sky as he exited years before "Truckin" became en vogue.


   The Swingeroo was basically Truckin' with the couple facing opposite directions, right to right arms interlinked while trucking in a circle. It is wrtitten to have come from Georgia around 1937.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Kentucky 1830s (1927) Dan Thomas Rice Folk/Swing

Swing Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

Black Thunder Swing Truckin' (1935) Tough Truckin' (Ellington)
Cabin in the Sky (Swing Movie)       Truckin' (Ellington)
Chick Webb and Ella Savoy (Swing)       Truckin' [MP3] (Washboard)
Daddy-O (Swing Movie)       Truckin' My Blues Away [MP3] (Fuller)
Groovie Movie (Swing Movie)       Truckin' on Down [MP3] (Dupree)
Hellzapoppin' (Swing Movie Poster) 2       Tuba On Truckin'
HI-DE-HO (Cab Calloway)        
Hot Mikado (Swing Play)        
Juke Girl (Swing Movie)        
Keep Punchin' (Swing Movie)        
Micheux Swing (Swing Art Print)        
Prisoner Of Swing (Swing Movie)        
Private Buckaroo (Swing Movie)        
Rock, Rock, Rock (ECS Swing Movie)        
Shag The Movie (Carolina Shag Dance)        
Stormy Weather (Bojangles, Horne)        
The Girl Can't Help It (Swing Movie)         

Night Clubs



Most Swing Dances Apollo Theatre Harlem, NY
Cafe Rendezvous Ludlo & Smiths Theatre London, England
Connie's Inn Harlem Opera House (1935)  
Cotton Club        
Savoy Ballroom        
Small's Paradise        
Trocadero Ballroom        


Truckin' dance during Big Apple dance at the Trocadero ballroom in Hollywood -1938

Ballets / Stage

1935 - Harlem Bound Connie's Inn
1937 - A Day At The Races | [DVD] Cotton Club Revue (1935)
1937 - Big Apple [Paramount] Hellzapoppin'
1938 - 'Alligators' plus 'Cats' plus 'Jive' [Paramount] Liberty Deferred (1938)
1938 - Radio City Revels (Kids) Truck On Down (1935)
1941 - Hellzapoppin' | [DVD] Truckin (Cotton Club)


        1/9/1935 - Chicago Defender
        7/19/1935 - Washington Post (Truckin)
        8/13/1935 - Daily News (Truckin)
        12/7/1935 - Winnipeg Free Press (London's New Dance)
        11/7/1937 - NY Times: From Turkey Trot to Big Apple
        11/5/1939 - Fresno Bee (Paul Semple Boost Truckin)

Other Related Dances of the time... and other related dances that use Truckin' steps!

Apple Jacks Charleston Joe Louis Truck Shag
Balboa Collegiate Dances Lambeth Walk Shim Sham Shimmy
Ballin' The Jack Eagle Rock Lindy Hop Shimmy
Baltimore Buzz East Coast Swing Little Apple Dance Shorty George
Big Apple Foxtrot Mess Around Slow Drag
Black Bottom Funky Butt Mooch Suzy Q
Boomps-a-Daisy Georgia Grind Mooch and Sugar Swing
Breakaway Grizzly Bear Mule Walk * Swingeroo, the
Buzz, the (1915) Jig Walk New Yorker Texas Tommy
Buzzard Lope Jitterbug Peckin' Truckin' Tap
Ceroc' / Leroc' Jive Posin' West Coast Swing

Truckin Blind Boy Fuller

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Buzzin' Burton Dixie Dunbar LaGuardia
Chunk Robinson Elida Webb & Leon Harper  
Cora La Redd Henry "Rubberlegs" Williams (Harlem Opera House)  
Dan Thomas Rice Paul Semple  
Dewey Markhem Willie Bryant  

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...





The Art Of Social Dancing Hostetler, Lawrence 1930 A.S. Barnes & Co.
Washington Post Ed Sullivan 7/19/1935 Newspaper
Let's Dance Murray, Arthur 1937 Standard Brands Inc.
How To Become A good Dancer Murray, Arthur 1938 Simon & Schuster
Jazz Dance: Story of Modern Vernacular Dance Marshall & Stearns 1968 Macmillan
Black Dance Thorpe, Edward 1990 Overlook Express
Dancing, The Pleasure, Power and Art of Movement Jonas, Gerald 1992 Abrahms
African American Films Through 1959 Richards, Larry 1998 McFarland & Co.



Poets / Writers

Blind Boy Fuller Danny Kaye n/a
Buck and Bubbles (Harlem Bound)        
'Champion' Jack Dupree        
Duke Ellington        

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

Boogie-Woogie Posin' Truck on Down -
Jump Jim Crow Daddy Rice Trucking or Truck    



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