Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Orleans Buck Jumping (Second Line Parade dancing) information & videos)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Latest Revision: February 25, 2020

TBC Brass Band performing Donny Hathaway's 'This Christmas' at the Big Nine 2009 Second Line Parade

BigRedCotton, Uploaded on Dec 24, 2009

This is Part II of a two part series on the 19th century dance known as the "buck & wing", and the "buck jumping" dances that derived from it.

This post features information about & several videos of buck jumping.

Part I provides information & video demonstrations of buck & wing, buck dancing, and several wing movements in tap dancing.

Click for Part I of this series.

The content of this post is presented for folkloric, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owner.

Disclaimer: I'm not a dancer or a dance historian. My comments are shared in the interest of eliciting more information & opinions about this subject.

Update: October 12, 2014
Neither "buck dancing" nor "buck jumping" as described in this series is the same as (majorette) "bucking". That dance movement consists of pelvic thrusts (pops) that are done within a dance routine.

Click for more information about and examples of majorette "bucking".

"Buck jumping" is a rhythmic, percussive style of dancing that emphasizes fast foot work. This style of dancing is closely associated with members of New Orleans Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs and with New Orleans second line paraders who aren’t affiliated with any Social Aid & Pleasure Club.

Here's an excerpt from
"Buck dancing is a folk dance that originated among African Americans during the era of slavery. It was largely associated with the North Carolina Piedmont and, later, with the blues. The original buck dance, or "buck and wing," referred to a specific step performed by solo dancers, usually men; today the term encompasses a broad variety of improvisational dance steps.

In contemporary usage, "buck dancing" often refers to a variety of solo step dancing to fiddle-based music done by dancers primarily in the Southern Appalachians. Among North Carolinians, buck dancing is differentiated from clogging and flatfooting by the use of steps higher off the floor, a straight and relatively immobile torso, and emphasis on steps that put the dancer on his or her toes rather than heels."...

Buck jumping is closely related to- if not the same as- the 21st century HIp-Hop dances known as footwork, gangsta walkin, jookin, buckin, and other terms. Click for information about these Hip Hop dances. That Wikipedia article traces the origin of "gangsta walkin" and suggests that dance may have "a New Orleans connection. Early gangsta-walking in Memphis was often called "buck jumping", and "buck jumping" was another name for second-lining in New Orleans.”...
-end of quote-

Here's some information about "buck jumping" & New Orleans Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs from "Second Line Jump: New Orleans Rap And Brass Band Music" By Matt Miller; September 27, 2010
"The number of brass bands has expanded along with the proliferation of “second Line” clubs, so-called “social and pleasure” organizations which hire bands for parades. These clubs stage parades on Sunday afternoons throughout the second line “season” (which spans much of the Fall, Winter and Spring), often to celebrate the anniversary of the club’s founding. These second line parades, along with the “jazz funerals” and Mardi Gras parades that often define New Orleans in the national imagination, serve as a central venue for brass bands and play a key role in disseminating and reinforcing a commonly-held musical sensibility. To outsiders, second line parades might seem like a purely celebratory event, but they can also channel more destructive energies.

The bands are often joined by a rowdy group of spontaneous participants (often teenagers or young men) who contribute highly expressive dance and ad-hoc music-making. “Buck jumping,” an individual dance form associated with both brass bands and local rap, is one of the many features of New Orleans’s musical culture that in concept and nomenclature can be traced back to the 19th century and the era of slavery.”...
That article was reformatted to increase its readability.

Here's information about the New Orleans Social & And Pleasure Clubs from
"Strutting and jumping and high-stepping underneath their decorated parasols, blowing whistles and waving feathered fans, the African-American members of New Orleans’ social aid and pleasure clubs are the organizers, originators, and sponsors of the second line parades for which the city is famous. The brass band that follows the parade’s grand marshal and club members, who are always dressed in coordinated suits and classy hats, blast out exuberant rhythms to propel everyone’s high-spirited march through the streets. The club and brass band are known as the first line, and the audience that forms behind the parade to join in the festivities is the second, hence the term second line parade.

African-American social aid and pleasure clubs aren’t just about parading, however. They grew out of organizations of the mid to late 1800s called benevolent societies, which many different ethnic groups in New Orleans formed. Serving a purpose that today has largely been supplanted by insurance companies, benevolent societies would help dues-paying members defray health care costs, funeral expenses, and financial hardships. They also fostered a sense of unity in the community, performed charitable works, and hosted social events. Benevolent societies always had strong support in the African-American population, and some scholars trace the roots of the African-American societies back to initiation associations of West African cultures from where the majority of New Orleans blacks originally came."
The members of New Orleans Social Aid & Pleasure Clubs (SAPC) & the second line paraders certainly strut, and they may also jump. But their dancing is a particular fast hopping kind of jumping, sometimes with leg lifts and squatting, and more that typifies "buck jumping". It seems to me that the brass bands perform the high stepping more than the SAPC members or the second liners. Click for a video of such a brass band in a SAPC parade.

These videos are posted in chronological order with the videos with the oldest dates posted first.

Video #1: New Orleans Secondline Dancing

SneakinSal, Uploaded on Dec 25, 2006

Secondline dancing on a porch on Washington Avenue, New Orleans. New Generation Social Aid & Pleasure Club parade, December 10, 2006.

Video #2: Sudan 2008 Second Line featuring Rebirth

Posted by BigRedCotton, December 03, 2008
Notice the dancer crawling under the legs of another dancer. I've seen videos in which that same dance movement in some traditional Senegalese dances. I've also noticed that movement in performed in certain videos of African American Jazz dancing (swing dancing) and in videos of African American "krumping".

Video #3: The Hot 8 Brass Band with Ladies And Men of Unity -'Poppa Was A Rolling Stone'

Uploaded by BigRedCotton on Apr 6, 2009

Ladies and Men of Unity Social Aid and Pleasure Club 2nd Annual Second Line Uptown

Video #4: Divine Ladies Social Aid & Pleasure Club 2009 Annual Parade

Uploaded by BigRedCotton on May 17, 2009
Notice the "wing"* leg movements (leg lifts) that are done in this video (such as at 1:54-1:57; 2:50-2:53, and 6:27-6:32).

*derived from the buck & the wing dance

Video #5: Buck-jumping dance-off on Oak St. during the Pigeon Town Steppers Easter Second Line

Lisa Pal, Uploaded on Apr 5, 2010

This concludes Part II of this series.

Thanks to those whose comment I quoted. Thanks also to those who are featured in these videos, and thanks to the publishers of these videos on YouTube.

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Visitor comments are welcome.


  1. Thanks for the schooling Aziz. Loved learning about these New Orleans trads.

    1. You're welcome, mg.

      Unfortunately, I've never been to New Orleans. And, I wouldn't be lying if I wrote that (almost) everything I've shared about New Orleans traditions I learned online. :o)