Script for Dance Show
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we present "Jitterbug"!
Our story takes place during World War Two.
It is Britain in 1942.
The War brought many changes to our country. One was the arrival, between 1942 and 1945, over fifty years ago, of one and a half million soldiers, sailors and airmen from the United states of America, who fought with us against Nazi Germany.
The women of Britain were also playing their part in the war effort. British women were doing lots of jobs that had been done by men, before they joined up for the Army, Navy and Air Force.
ENTRY OF FACTORY GIRLS
"Alright Girls, you've got ten minutes for Tea Break, then it's back to the weapons' factory for the next shift!"
GIRLS SIGH, THEN CHAT AMONGST THEMSELVES
A large number of the young men had left to serve in the Forces. This affected the local social life, especially for the young women.
"Going out tonight, Vera?"
"Got a date?"
"You must be joking. A young man's about as rare as a fresh banana these days."
"Know what you mean. What we all need are some sugar Daddies to take us out and spend, spend, SPEND!"
MARCHING ENTRY OF AMERICAN SOLDIERS
"United States Fifth Army Platoon, HALT!
United States Fifth Army Platoon, Right TURN!"
INSPECTION OF TROOPS
"United States Fifth Army Platoon, AT EASE!"
O.K., one, two, three" . . . . . .
BOYS CHAT TO THEMSELVES AND 'EYE UP' THE GIRLS.
GIRLS CHAT TO THEMSELVES AND 'EYE UP' THE BOYS.
These American soldiers had a big influence on life in our country. Today we see and hear lots of Americans on our TVs and many Americans come and visit Britain. But in the 1940s not many British people had ever met an American nor heard an American accent. The British people were therefore surprised at some of the things the American soldiers did.
The American soldiers did things which to British people sixty years ago seemed strange.
PAIRS OF SOLDIERS ACT OUT THE FOLLOWING 4 ACTIONS.
They chewed Gum.
They walked with a swagger.
They chewed tobacco.
They had short crew-cut hair styles.
They acted more casually and laid-back than the British soldiers.
And most important, when they went out in the evenings to enjoy themselves, they DANCED. They danced a wild dance called the Jitterbug.
There had never been a dance like the Jitterbug in Britain before. Because of its wildness and acrobatics, it was according to the rules not allowed to be danced in the British Dance Halls. But the Americans ignored these rules and danced it anyway.
The young British women had never seen a dance like this before.
What you are going to see was a typical scene at many Dance Halls in Britain during the War:
GIRLS COME TO FRONT OF STAGE, FACE THE AUDIENCE AND 'DO THEMSELVES UP' (REMOVE ANY HEAD GEAR)
SOLDIERS KEEP CHATTING AMONGST THEMSELVES - ACT 'COOL', 'EYEING UP' THE GIRLS (REMOVE ANY HEAD GEAR)
"Those American soldiers really fancy themselves."
"You can say that again. And what about this new dance they do? The Jitterbug, I think they call it."
"Have you ever tried dancing it?"
"No but ... look out, here comes trouble ...."
"You like some chewing gum, baby?"
"Here, try some."
"Mmm... not bad."
"Hey, honey, you wanna cut a rug with me?"
"I said cut a rug."
"What do you mean?"
"He means, YOU WANNA DANCE, BABY?!"
When they came to this country, the American soldiers introduced new catch-phrases, new fashions in looks, new styles in music and dancing. British girls were delighted to receive their first lessons in Jitterbugging.
You might say that dancing was not the right thing to do in the middle of war. But it was only a short period of relaxation for the dancers. The girls in the hall might easily have come straight from a 12 hour shift in a weapons factory, some of the soldiers had just seen their friends killed, and some of them would soon be killed themselves.
Outside in the streets, the air-raid sirens still wailed in the dark streets and houses still crumbled and fell across the pavements, because of the bombs from the German planes. Dancing helped everyone to forget their troubles for a short time.
And the dancers were serious about the War - and not just for a simple victory over Nazi Germany, but for a different, a better, a fairer world when that victory was achieved.
In 1945, the British, American, Russian and other armies defeated Nazi Germany and most of the American soldiers went home to their own country.
However, many of the young British ladies they had met in the Dance Halls went with them. Sixty thousand of them married American soldiers and made their new homes in America.
The Jitterbug, the dance the Americans had brought to Britain during the war, continued to be danced in our country after the war after they left, even though some Dance Halls still tried to stop it because of its wildness.
As time went on the dance later became less wild and eventually became Rock 'n' Roll. So the Jitterbug lived on in a different form.
DANCE TO ROCK 'N' ROLL
"Remember, it doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's what you do with your DANCING shoes."
LINE UP AND BOW
(Click here to download a text version of the script.)
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