Join 3,497 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Relationship violence as art
September 22, 2009 2:24 PM   Subscribe

Apache (a-POSH) dancing (French, not Native American), popular in Paris in the early parts of the 20th century, pitted a male and a female dancer against each other in over-the-top--and sometimes hawt--mock violence.

Related in some ways to the tango, the Apache dance emphasizes realistic-looking violence and is said to re-enact an argument between a pimp and prostitute. How did it come to be called Apache? Apocryphally, from the name of a Parisian street gang given to violence so savage it was compared to the activities of the Indian tribe. Weapons could be involved, and each partner gave as good as he got.

Its popularity spread through streets, nightclubs and cabarets, and it was seen on stage and screen. Rudolf Valentino faked the tango, but was an expert Apache dancer.

Can be somewhat hard to watch if your kind of dancing is the type of thing you see on "Dancing with the Stars". But Apache has its own artistry (and lots of acrobatics), even in the later, more comical stylized movie settings.

And people are still dancing Apache, albeit usually in a more PC style.
posted by gillyflower (24 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Although Mario Lopez did give it a try during rehearsal.
posted by Kabanos at 2:37 PM on September 22, 2009


I was totally going to write about this at some point gillyflower! No more faffing about in future...

Here's some fun stuff related stuff about street defence from the Apache gangs.

Great stuff otherwise :)
posted by longbaugh at 2:41 PM on September 22, 2009


And by stuff #1 I totally meant to type savate. Ahem.
posted by longbaugh at 2:44 PM on September 22, 2009


the Apache dance emphasizes realistic-looking violence and is said to re-enact an argument between a pimp and prostitute.

Ahh, suddenly I'm appreciating this on a new level...
posted by hermitosis at 2:50 PM on September 22, 2009


The only Apache dance on youtube is this 1934 rendition.
[Must be watched until the end.]
posted by ruelle at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2009 [6 favorites]


Bizarre, I just this afternoon read about this in Dave Sim's glamourpuss comic book - he's talking about Margaret Mitchell (of Gone with the Wind Fame) and states that "Mitchell and dance partner A. Sigmund Weil scandalized the Junior League's Debutant Ball in 1921" [by dancing L'Apache].
posted by nanojath at 2:51 PM on September 22, 2009


There was an I Love Lucy episode that centered on a dance duo that was going to be featured at Ricky's club. Years later, I was able to answer a trivia question about the name of this dance, based solely on this barely remembered episode.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:55 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Le crunk
posted by ...possums at 3:04 PM on September 22, 2009


The only Apache dance on youtube is this 1934 rendition.
[Must be watched until the end.]


I am almost speechless, ruelle...what a find!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:05 PM on September 22, 2009


Not to be confused with the much imitated dance from Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:09 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


After watching ruelle's video link, I dearly hope this does not become a trend for kids to imitate.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:13 PM on September 22, 2009


Also, this, from a Charlie Chan movie.
posted by neroli at 3:22 PM on September 22, 2009


Man, pro wrestling is totally fake.
posted by darksasami at 4:09 PM on September 22, 2009


Relationship violence as art

This reminds me of one of the first things I saw on Metafilter (original post).

Huh I misremembered somehow; I'd already been on the site for a few months when I saw this. In my mental history it was the thing that made me sign up. =P
posted by grobstein at 4:25 PM on September 22, 2009


Apache dance, Muppet Style
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 5:16 PM on September 22, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's pronounced "a-PASH", which is verifiable in any decent dictionary. So, that howler addressed, we read on to find the nightclub these hoodlums were named after was in the "Montmart section" of Paris.

And that's about where the little switch in my head clicked off.
posted by Wolof at 5:25 PM on September 22, 2009 [1 favorite]


Neroli's link is terrif.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 5:27 PM on September 22, 2009


Gorilla & The Maiden [risqué] - cross-species Apache dance.
posted by tellurian at 7:21 PM on September 22, 2009


It is apparently source material for La La La Human Steps.
posted by HotPants at 8:42 PM on September 22, 2009


Ruelle, there are quite a few more Apache dances on YouTube; check the various links in my post, then take a look at the "related videos" links on the right side of the YT screen where there are more. I just picked out a few that seemed to work best in my post.
posted by gillyflower at 9:07 PM on September 22, 2009


And Wolof, yeah, as a person with a mostly-useless French degree, I noticed "Montmart" too and flinched. That's not the only mistake on the Streetswing Apache page either, but it had enough links/info to make it a must-link in this post.
posted by gillyflower at 9:09 PM on September 22, 2009


And now, the Pimp-Slapping Dance.
posted by Spatch at 5:58 AM on September 23, 2009


I stayed up way too late last night watching all these links, in the post and the comments. Thank you, all.
posted by EvaDestruction at 5:59 AM on September 23, 2009


I'm going to out myself as a total cheeseball, but Bravo's hilariously cursed dance-competition show Step It Up and Dance had an episode all about the apache. It was a fantastic trainwreck.
posted by kittyprecious at 7:35 AM on September 23, 2009


« Older FBI whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds, has gone on reco...  |  Icycle is a flash game about a... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments