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Screen shot from 'Three Jumping Tommies,' 1920.

A scene from the "Three Jumping Tommies," in 1920

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Early Break Dancing
Vaudeville dancing borrowed a lot from gymnastics and acrobatics, but by the 1920s, theatrical dancing also included a little tap and more of what we consider "dance steps." This film of the "Three Jumping Tommies" opens with three acrobats in British military uniforms performing backflips, cartwheels, and somersaults. In between all the stunts, they do a little shuffle dance and a few twirls. They also perform some stunts with stacked tables. What does that remind you of? How about the circus?
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VIDEO CREDIT: Spanuth, Hans A., producer. "Three Jumping Tommies." Commonwealth Pictures Corporation, c1920. The American Variety Stage: Vaudeville and Popular Entertainment, 1870-1920, Library of Congress.