Sunday, October 20, 2013

New Edition - "Candy Girl" And Examples Of "Candy Girl" Foot Stomping Cheers

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases the Rhythm & Blues song "Candy Girl" and the foot stomping cheer with that title.

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

WARNING: Remember that multiple songs & dances may have the same or similar names and some of the videos for those dances aren't suitable for children's viewing.

FEATURED VIDEO Candy Girl official video New Edition 1983

dakwa4life, Uploaded on Mar 19, 2009
Click for the complete lyrics for this song.

A form of that song's chorus was used as the beginning of the Candy Girl foot stomping cheer. While the song's chorus is
"Candy Girl/You are my world/You look so sweet/You're a special treat", the "Candy Girl" foot stomping cheer begins with "Candy Girl/all my world/look so sweet/special treat". (or candy treat).

Three text (word only) examples of that foot stomping cheer are found below.

Foot stomping cheers are a relatively new category of children's informal recreational activity. The earliest documentation that I've found for these cheers is in the 1970s.

Foot stomping cheers & their performance actvity are different from the type of cheers and the cheerleading performances that are usually associated with "mainstream" cheerleading.
That said, since the early 2000s, a number of mainstram cheerleader squads have included foot stomping cheers or foot stomping-like cheers as part of their repertorie.*

Unlike hand clap games, people performing foot stomping cheers don't stand still. However, they also don't move across the performance space as other cheerleaders, drill teams, and dancers do.

Also unlike other playground rhymes & cheers, rhyming verses may only make up a small portion of a foot stomping cheer. Foot stomping cheers have a distinctive structure which is a variant form of "call & response". Unlike other call & response composition, in foot stomping cheers the group voice is heard first. [Depending on the particular cheer, sometimes the soloist speaks along with other members of the group, and sometimes she doesn't.] The first soloist then responds to the group, and the group then responds back to the soloist. In some foot stomping cheers, the soloist then has a short solo part which the group may or may not respond to. At "the end of the cheer", the cheer immediately begins from the beginning with the next soloist. This pattern continues until every member of the group has had one equal length turn as the soloist.

"Foot stomping" ("doing stomps" or "doing steps") is characterized by two or more children (usually girls between the ages of 6-12 years old) chanting a distinctive form of cheer* while they perform synchronized, choreographed routines that emphasize the creation of bass sounding foot stomps. The stomping routine is performed in a metronome like manner throughout the entire cheer. Once the beat starts, it continues until the end of the cheer, although sometimes the soloist's portion is slightly different.* Those foot stomps alternate with (individual) hand clap or (according to the agreed upon, rehearsed routine) alternate with body pats, including foot pats. The foot stomps have a bass sound because the foot hit the floor (or ground) and the hand claps or body pats are loud & crisp.

*I consider "Shabooya Roll Call" from the cheerleading movie Bring It On: All Or Nothing to be an exaggerated, "foot stomping-like cheer, as are the other cheers performed by "urban" [meaning Black & Latina cheerleading squads in those Bring It On movies, including the first movie in that series.]
"Candy Girl" is an example of a Dance Style foot stomping cheer. Those cheers provide opportunities for the "cheerers" (steppers) to show off their dancing ability. The focus in these cheers is on dance names. Ideally, when it's her turn as soloist, each girl is supposed to highlight a different dance. Usually, this means current dances, but old school dances [popular dances that aren't done anymore] can also be highlighted.

The foot stomping cheer "Candy Girl" begins with the group-including the soloist-chanting these lines that are lifted in folk process style from New Edition's "Candy Girl" record:
"Candy Girl
All my world
Looks so sweet
Special treat."
The person whose turn it is as soloist then briefly does a particular dance and the group performs that dance along with the soloist. (The members of the group don't need to perform the dance exactly the same way as the soloist).

The cheer then immediately begins again from the beginning with a new soloist.

In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, I observed that girls who performed this cheer & other cheers stood in a semi-circle with the soloist not moving to the front of that formation. However, in the early 2000s, I noticed that soloists stepped out in front of the others forming the semi-circle, but not necessarily moving to the center of that formation. At the end of her soloist portion, that girl would then move back to a place in the semi-circle, while still facing forward. (That need not be the place where she was standing before.

I believe that this change occured because these cheers were being featured as part of stage performances. Other formations-such as foot stomping cheers performed by people standing in a circle (which I've never directly observed but read about and saw on YouTube) don't allow every member of the group to be seen by an audience. Furthermore, a soloist standing in front of her group is the format that those girls are familiar with as it is used by secular and religious musical groups.

(These examples are presented in chronological order according to their posting date, with the oldest dated example given first.)

Example #1: CANDY GIRL
Everyone: Candy Girl.
All my world.
Look so sweet.
Special treat.
Soloist #1: This is the way we do The Bounce.
[Soloist does The Bounce while standing in the same spot and while continuing to chant]
Candy Girl.
Group: Do the bounce.
Do The bounce.
[The rest of the group does their version of The Bounce while standing in their same spot and while continuing to chant]
Soloist #1 All my world
[Soloist continues to do this dance for the reminder of this rendition of this chant]
Group: Do The bounce.
The bounce.
[The rest of the group continues to do this dance for the reminder of this rendition]
Soloist #1: Look so sweet.
Group: Do The bounce.
Do The bounce
Soloist #1 Special Treat.
Everyone: Candy Girl
All my world
Look so sweet
Special Treat
Soloist #2: This is the way we do The Snake
[Soloist does The Snake while standing in the same spot and while continuing to chant]
[Continue the same pattern as before with each new soloist naming and performing a different current or favorite "retired" R&B/Hip-Hop dance. This continues until everyone in the group has had one turn as soloist.]
-Tazi M. Powell (African American female; remembrance of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid 1980s; transcribed by Azizi Powell in 1997 from an audio tape that I made in the mid 1980s of my daughter and her friends.

Tazi mentioned that if someone chose the dance "The Cabbage Patch" in order for the syllables of that dance name to fit the beat pattern, the group wouldn't say "The" and just say "do the Cabbage Patch/the Cabbage Patch".

I also collected this exact same foot stomping cheer [with some different dance names] in 2000 from African American girls in that same age group in Braddock, Pennsylvania (about 10 miles from Pittsburgh. However, I'm not sure if this cheer is still performed in 2013 in Pittsburgh or its surrounding communities. When I did my last informal gathering of rhymes & cheers in 2007, few girls knew any of the foot stomping cheers from the 1980s and 1990s.

Example #2: CANDY GIRL
Candy girl,
all my world,
looks so sweet,
candy treat
This is the way
we do the (insert a dance)
Candy girl
Do the (dance) the (dance)
All my world
Do the (dance) the (dance)
Looks so sweet
Do the (dance) the (dance)
Candy treat
Do the (dance) the (dance)
This one involves the whole participation of the group at once. You repeat it for as many dances as you have until you can’t think of anymore.
- Jennifer (Korean), undergraduate female college student University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania ; remembrances of rhymes she performed when she was 8-12 years ; (she indicates that she learned this from African American girls); collected in 2005 via email to Azizi Powell in 2005
In 2005 my daughter, my pre-teen nieces, one of their girl friend of the same age, and I conducted a session on playground rhymes & cheers at Carnegie Library (main branch. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania). One of the college students in attendance talked with me afterwards. I gave her my email address, and she sent me this cheer and two hand clap rhymes.

Jennifer described this example of "Candy Girl" as a "Handclap with dance". I wonder if her description that entire group participates as once means that the group decided what dances to do beforehand. In my opinion, this way of performing this cheer is a modification of the original "consecutive soloist" structure where each member took turns as a soloist, and came up with a different dance on the spot and not with prior knowledge of the rest of the group. The rest of the group would then all do the dance with the soloist.

Example #3: CANDY GIRL
Candy girl, all my world,
look so sweet special treat
this is the way we (then they name a dance i.e the whop)
Candy girl
do the whop the whop
all my world
do the whop whop
look so sweet
do the whop the whop
special treat
do the whop the whop...
goes on with different dances mostly what is in at the time.
-Guest KLC,(East Harlem, New York, New York); "Folklore: Do kids still do clapping rhymes?" July 11, 2008
The comment "goes on with different dances mostly what is in at the time" means that the cheer continues with the group doing different dances which are popular ("in") at that time.

These three examples of "Candy Girl" foot stomping cheers are the only ones that I've come across to date. In addition to those examples, I've also read a comment on from Shari (July 29, 2009 at 5:50 pm) who included "Candy Girl" in a list of rhymes that she remembers from her "elementary school in New York in the mid-1990s. (Presumably, "New York" here means "New York City".)

After sharing her example of “Going to Kentucky", Shari wrote
“Other songs I sang as a child in school or with my friends were “Little Sally Walker”, “Candy Girl”, “Down, Down Baby”, Numbers...& others that I can’t really think of right now, but thanks for bringing back great memories!”
All of those examples are featured on various pancocojams posts. ("Numbers" is featured on the post entitled "Playing The Slide Handclap Rhyme" With the exception of "Little Sally Walker" which is a singing game, and "Candy Girl" which is a foot stomping cheer, all the other examples that Shari listed are hand clap games.

Click this page of my cocojams website for more examples and comments about foot stomping cheers.

Click for a post that features five videos of a number of Hip Hop dances from the 1980s and 1990s. For some reasons, none of those featured videos include a demonstration of the Bounce (which is mentioned in Example #1 above - unless that popular dance is known by a different name.

WARNING: There are a lot of videos about songs & dances known as the Bounce as I think there's been at least one relatively recent Hip Hop song with "bounce" in its title. Those videos may contain content that is unsuitable for children.

Click this page of my jambalayah website While that page has videos of a number of R&B/Hip Hop dances from the 1970s to 2011, there's no video entitled "The Bounce". If you know of a video of the old school version of that dance, please post a link in the comment section below.

Please post a comment if you remember the "Candy Girl" cheer from back in the day, or if you do that cheer now.

It would be great if you would also add the decade you remember this cheer from, and other demographical information such as your race/ethnicity, your gender, where you lived when you learned that cheer, what age you were when you performed it, and how you performed it [You could write "performance the same as given above" if that is the case.] Thanks in advance!

My thanks to The New Edition for their musical legacy. Thanks also to the publisher of that video on YouTube and thanks to all those who are quoted in this post.

Thanks for visiting pancocojams.

Visitor comments are welcome.

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