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When jitterbug was all the rage


WHEN I was a boy, jitterbug was all the rage, not for my generation but those who were young adults at the time.

This dance craze was the early post-war precursor of jive, the twist and the locomotion, though not quite as controlled as any of them. It was a frenetic explosion of improvised moves, which sometimes included cartwheels, handstands and back-flips. It was not a routine for the faint-hearted.

I heard my elders talking about it in my early years, but it was no longer fashionable by the time I hit the dancehalls in the early 1960s. The twist was my dance, and I still have a bad back to prove it (only joking!)

This picture tries to capture the movement, colour and excitement of jitterbug, with razzle-dazzle orbs adding flashes of light. It was inspired by nothing in particular, but I regard it as one of my period pieces.


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©John Marquis, First Edition Press and Studio Books