Dance On Film Students Respond to Racial Representations in Stormy Weather

Posted by on October 6, 2016 in Connecting Classrooms 16-17, Dialogue Blog | 9 comments

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In a recent session of Molly Faullkner’s DNCE 102 Survey of Dance on Film, students watched and discussed Stormy Weather. In the comments to this post, they will share some of their reactions.  Read the comments below and please, add your thoughts to the dialogue.  Remember to be considerate and respectful in the way you choose to express your ideas.

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Andrew Ghani
Andrew Ghani

Stormy weather was a very accurate representation of common cliche stereotypes for african american performers back in that era with their casual showing of “black face” and how the performers of that color were supposed to be ranked in their roles of significance during a performance, strangely yet satisfyingly, they give our lead character bill “bojangles” robinson, an up and down love story with our lead female actress selena who he falls in love with vice versa. Overall besides the cliches and racism and all the negativity that was thrown casually into this film towards african americans. I loved this… Read more »

Vitolo, P
Vitolo, P

Stormy Weather is yet another great film where it’s full of much more meaning. To some it could be yet just another dance film, but to other is could be a film where stereotyping is prominent. There where many scenes that involved racial representations, one including a dance number towards the beginning of the movie. Selena and Roger were performing with many back up dancers. One prominent stereotype is the black face that we had seen in the other films including Bamboozled and The Wiz. They incorporate the well known black face in the film because in this dance number… Read more »

Veronica T.
Veronica T.

Stormy Weather was a movie with the wonderful Lena Horne and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson. As you can guess there were some beautiful dance scenes by not just those two artists but Catherine Dunem, the Nicholas Brothers, and Cap Callaway. Intertwined with the movie were some racial factors like black faces painted on black men, black faces on the back of women dancers headpieces, etc. Catherine Dunem dances incorporated Afri-Caribbean with modern dance for a couple different scenes. The dance focused on selected body movements and the dances were very much to the ground and some up to the skies. She… Read more »

Molly Faulkner
Molly Faulkner

Stormy Weather highlights the amazing talents of Lena Horne and Bill “Bojangles” Robinson as well as a veritable who’s who of artists. There is an uncomfortable juxtaposition of blatant racist portrayals including blackface and stereotypes of lighter skinned actors playing middle and upper class characters and darker skinned actors playing the poor and struggling, blatant sexism with Lena Horne’s character having to give up her career as a famous singer to be a wife and therefore attain happiness, with the more positive aspects of this film being the one of the first times African-American performers weren’t portrayed as slaves or… Read more »

AA, Dance 102
AA, Dance 102

What makes “Stormy Weather” a great movie to watch is an abundance of singing and dance numbers of almost all actors. The whole take on “and we sing,and we dance and we play” makes this movie stand out both in costumes and dancing “stunts”. A dash of dry subtle humor and irony thrown into the dialogues of the characters makes them likable and entertaining. Although, like almost any movie set in the 1940s, it does have several representations of the racism: the Daisy dance number with the black face in the back, the zoot suit exaggeration of the main characters… Read more »

JOM
JOM

I loved Stormy Weather! There was amazing dance performed by Bill Robinson, Lena Horne, The Nicholas Brother and much more. Nick Castle the Dance Director of this film which is listed as uncredited did an amazing job with how the choreography fit so well with what was going on in the world at this time. Stormy Weather film was used to inspire African Americans to join the military during World War I. Bill Robinson’s Famous stair dance came from this movie along with The Nicholas Brother’s Performance at the end of this film. Taping up and down huge flights of… Read more »

Anonymous
Anonymous

This movie was a recruitment movie for African Americans to join the military and see the type of life they could live. If they did join, they would be freed African Americans making their own money, living as middle class men, possibility of fame, and having that brotherly bond with the people you served with.Which ironically makes sense because they’re fighting for their country, but all the country did for them was rob them from their identity.As well as representing the type of life African Americans desired to have, but the only way to get it was by joining the… Read more »

Tia Rivera
Tia Rivera

“Stormy Weather” certainly was the racial evidence that Spike Lee who directed “Bamboozled” was trying to manifest, which was the scenes of racism seen throughout the movie industry and in the overall entertainment industry that back then was implemented so casually in films. The portrayals of “black face” could be seen in “Stormy Weather” on the the backs of the dancers’ headressses or hats in the beginning of the film. The actual “black face” performance was also included in a scene of the movie. This was seen as a typical “trend” or form of entertainment back then, which wouldn’t have… Read more »

Rai

I love Stormy weather.