Title: The Belles of Blackville, Music By: Gus. Brucher, Published By: Chas. E. Roat, Location: Mich., Year: 1899
The Cake-Walk or Cakewalk was a dance developed from the “Prize Walks” held in the late 19th century, generally at get-togethers on slave plantations in the Southern United States. Alternative names for the original form of the dance were “chalkline-walk”, and the “walk-around”. At the conclusion of a performance of the original form of the dance in an exhibit at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, an enormous cake was awarded to the winning couple. Thereafter it was performed in minstrel shows, exclusively by men until the 1890s. The inclusion of women in the cast “made possible all sorts of improvisations in the Walk, and the original was soon changed into a grotesque dance” which became very popular across the country.