Rock'n'Roll is a cheerful, fast and sporting dance that is oriented on the spectators reactions. It is characterized by high precision movements in high speed and the fluid combination of dance and spectacular acrobatics. Characteristic for Rock'n'Roll are the jumped basic step with kicks and kick-ball-change as well as acrobatic dance steps. Rock'n'Roll is danced straight, kicks and arm movements stand in a clearly recognizable, regular angle to each other. The dancers dance almost exclusively on the foot bale, with exception of the acrobatic steps, which the gentleman performes in a stable state. Movements are carried out characteristically quick and dynamical, arms and legs are involved in same way.
Rock'n'Roll is danced in 4/4-time with 44 to 52 beats per minute to music, that shows characteristically a clear Offbeat. In contrast to the Offbeat of the music, the dance is emphasized on beats 1 and 3.
Past and Present
Three music styles had a main influence in the evolution of Rock'n'Roll: Jazz, Country & Western, Rhythm & Blues. The term Rock'n'Roll appeared when in 1954 the American disc jockey Alan Freed sang the refrain "Rock, rock, rock everybody - roll, roll, roll everybody", with the title "Rock-a-beatin´ Boogie" by the "Treniers". The breakthrough was achieved by Bill Haley and the Comets with the song "Rock around the clock", recorded on April, 12th 1954.
With Rock'n'Roll not only a new music style was born, Rock'n'Roll had a formative influence on an entire generation: a new life feeling evolved, causing conflicts between young people and the generation of their parents. Sometimes Rock'n'Roll was marked as an 'ape dance' and the followers of this music named to be savage or ferocious mad. In the Germany of the economic miracle, the fans of Rock'n'Roll were called "Halbstarke", in England they were named "Teddy Boys".
Like each new lifestyle, Rock'n'Roll had a lot of influence on fashion as well. Tube jeans, ringlet socks, pointed shoes, large sports jackets and velvet ties were all the rage for boys. The hair was combed backwards with hair cream. The girls wore broad belts, wore petticoats under their wide skirts and wore their hair pony tail fashion, merrily rocking in time.
In dancing schools, Rock'n'Roll was disapproved of for a long time. Rock'n'Roll was danced with devotion in discotheques and dusky bars. With this dance hype numerous dancing contests were established, where the winners were judged by a panel of celebrity judges or by the intensity of the spectators applause. In 1961 the first world championships tool place in Switzerland, but the temporary end of the Rock'n'Roll wave was near. With Twist and Beat new Modern Dances came to be and in the audience's favour, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones took Elvis Presley's and Jerry Lee Lewis' place.
In the beginning of the seventies, Rock'n'Roll had a comeback - in 1975 the German Rock'n'Roll federation was founded, turning the dance in a well-ordered way. The jump step, which is compulsory at dancing competitions since then, altered Rock'n'Roll from a life style to a type of sport. But the fascination of the music remained, even when new songs in 4/4-time replaced the songs of Bill Haley or Chuck Berry.