Thursday, March 15, 2012

Josephine Baker and her banana skirt

In European History, students are learning about the changes to society after World War I. They have seen some of the "Dada" creations and also the new dresses of Chanel. They have also seen this picture of the famous Josephine Baker in her banana skirt.

She danced in a show called La Revue Nègre, it proved to be a turning point in her career. Amongst a compilation of acts, Josephine and dance partner Joe Alex captivated the audience with the Danse Sauvage. Everything about the routine was new and exotic, and Josephine, boldly dressed in nothing but a feather skirt, worked the audience into frenzy with her uninhibited movements. She was an overnight sensation.

Just as Picasso and cubism borrowed from African elements, Joesphine also paid homage to her African roots. Her later years were just as interesting....she went on to adopt 12 children from different ethnicities.