A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from April 19, 2010
Susie-Q or Suzie-Q or Suzy-Q (dance)

"Susie-Q” (also spelled “"Suzie-Q"and “Suzy-Q") began in 1936 as a dance, then became the title of a 1936 song ("Doin’ the Suzie Q")by hardin Armstrong, and then even became the name of a Hostess brand snack cake ("Suzy Q"). The origin of “Susie-Q” is usually given as “unknown.”

The Susie-Q dance was popular in Harlem in 1936, both at Small’s Paradise and the Savoy Ballroom. A December 12, 1936 news story (below) claimed that the dance had been known at Small’s Paradise since 1935, when it was introduced by two dancers from Georgia. The dancers had previously performed and introduced the dance at Syracuse, New York, but the Harlemites misheard “Syracuse” as “Susie-Q.” This origin (or any other origin) of “Susie-Q” cannot be confirmed or denied with witness testimony at this late date.


Wikipedia: Suzie Q
Suzie Q, Susie Q, or Suzy Q may refer to:

in music

. Suzie Q (dance move), a dance step in the Big Apple, Lindy Hop, and other dances
. “Doin’ the Suzie-Q”, 1936 song by Lil Hardin Armstrong
. “Susie Q” (song), a 1956 song by Dale Hawkins, covered by Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Rolling Stones, The Namelosers, Uncle Tupelo and Gene Summers
. Suzi Quatro, singer and actress also known as “Suzi Q”
. “Suzi Q”, song by Suzi Quatro from the 1990 album Oh, Suzi Q
. “Suzy Q”, song by Sheep On Drugs from the 1993 album Greatest Hits
. “Suzie Q Sailaway”, song by Self from the 1999 album Breakfast with Girls

in other

. Susie Q (film), a 1996 American TV film
. Suzie Q (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure), a fictional character from the Japanese manga JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
. Suzy Q, a Hostess snack cake
. New York, Susquehanna and Western Railway (NYS&W), also known as the Susie-Q
. Street term for the antipsychotic drug Seroquel (Quetiapine)
. The nickname of the knockout punch that Rocky Marciano delivered over Jersey Joe Walcott to win his first heavyweight title on September 23, 1952, which is considered the greatest KO punch of all-time.

Wikipedia: Suzie Q (dance move)
Suzie Q (or Suzy Q) is the name of a dance step in the Big Apple, Lindy Hop, and other dances. In line dances this step is also known as Heel Twist (actually refers to step 2) or Grind Walk. The step is also used in jazz dance, and in Salsa shines.

The step originated from a novelty dance of 1930s with the same name addressed in the 1936 song Doin’ the Suzie-Q by Lil Hardin Armstrong.

An obituary published in the Salt Lake Tribune on Sept. 21, 2008 for Susie Jane Dwyer (maiden name Quealy) (4/24/1915 - 9/17/2008) of San Francisco makes the claim that “The popular song hit of the era, ‘Doin’ the Susie Q’ was written in her honor.”

The step
The feet perform alternating cross steps and side steps with swivel action, as follows.

. On 1, put the right foot on the heel across the left foot and put the weight on this heel, the toe being in the air.
. On 2, swivel on the heel, the right toe swinging to the right, while doing a small step by the left foot to the side, almost in place or simply transferring the weight onto the left foot, or stepping slightly back.
Step 1 may also be accompanied with a light swivel of the left toe.

One may continue in one of the ways:

. Repeat steps 1 and 2 several times.
. or
.. On 3, step with the right foot to the right.
.. On 4, bring the left foot together or step across the right foot.
.. repeat steps 1, 2, 3, 4.
. or (change of direction)
.. On 3, step with the right foot to the right.
.. On 4, do nothing.
.. 5, 6, 7, 8 do any of the three patterns from the opposite foot.

Hand movement
The hands are clasped together and pumped up and down or side to side in time to the music. The arm movements may vary. Hand movement may vary.

(Oxford English Dictionary)
Susie-Q
[Origin unknown.]
A modern dance of Negro origin; the step characteristic of this dance (see quots.).
1936 DAVIS & COOTS (song-title) Doin’ the Suzi-Q. Ibid. 4 A new dance hit the town, It’s really gettin’ ‘round, It’s lots of fun, I found, Doin’ the Suzi-Q.
1937 L. SHOMER How to Dance 37 The Suzi-Q is the latest and most intricate of Fox Trot Steps. To begin with, it combines the features of the tap-dance with the nimble Off-Beat Syncopated Running Steps and Turns.
1938 A. MURRAY How to become Good Dancer 188 Neither truckin’ nor the Suzie-Q is a complete dance in itself. Both are skylarking steps that add variety. Ibid. 190 The Susie-Q is a solo dance. It is not danced with a partner.
1946 MEZZROW & WOLFE Really Blues xiii. 235 And from the old folks’ shuffle to the Suzie Q and Sand, wasn’t none of them steps new to grandpajust the names were different.
1956 G. P. KURATH in A. Dundes Mother Wit (1973) 106/2 The Susie-Q and Truckin’ are said to have developed in New York’s Negro quarter, Harlem.
1963 N.Y. Times Mag. 27 Oct. 104/2 [The Negroes’] body rhythm and frank sensuality turned the formal European waltz into the closely clutched two-step and one-step,..the Susie Q. and the big Apple.

3 October 1936, Afro American (Saltimore, MD), “This Is New York” by Ted Yates, pg. 10:
Tap dancer Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, appeared in his newest dance craze, the Susie-Q. Like all other dances someone will bob up as the originator of this one. But you have it here in black and white that Harlem’s “mayor” is the creator of this one. Broadwayites will tell you as much.

23 October 1936, Portsmouth (OH) Times, pg. 8, col. 5:
It’s “Susie Q” In
Harlem Now; it Has
To be “Developed”

By The Associated Press
NEW YORK, Oct. 23—Goodby to truckin’ and the “Lindy Hop”—it’s the “Susie Q” now.

In the hot, perspiring world that is the Savoy Ballroom, at Harlem’s crossroads, Lenox avenue and 138th street, the colored boys and girls went to town last night with the new dance step they say will sweep the country.

12 December 1936, Chicago (IL) Defender, pg. 20:
Says Harlem Is
Home Of Dance
Craze, “Susie-Q”

NEW YORK, Dec. 11—Despite many claims to the origin of the new dance craze called the “Susue Q,” producer “Al” Richards says this popular step originated one year ago at Small’s Paradise.

The story is this: Two Georgia boys, with nothing but their love of dancing and their desire to get on big time, started traveling. Their engagements were limited, but they finally reached Syracuse, N. Y. upon leaving Syracuse, they came directly to New York City, the mecca for musicians of all descriptions. It was the custom of these Georgia boys to name a dance step for each place where they had engagements.

One Sunday night they were given a try-out at Small’s Paradise. After doing their routine, they went into a dance quite different from any the patrons of Small’s had seen before. Upon being asked the name of the step, one of the boys answered what was supposed to have been “Syracuse,” but because of an impediment in speech, a Georgia brogue, and breathlessness, the word sounded like “Susie Q.”

Thus the origin of the peculiar, fascinating dance which has exceeded most dances in its popularity.

The “Susie Q” is featured nightly in the new attraction at Small’s Paradise, “The Harlem Swing Hotel,” which was produced by “Al” Richards, whowas associated with Franchon and Marko units on the coast. he was also dance director of Lew Leslie’s “Blackbirds” for ten years.

Google Books
13 December 1936, Life, pg. 64 photo caption:
Like many another trick dance, including Trucking and the Susie-Q, the Lindy Hop originated at the Saoy, was named, for no good reason, after Charles Augustus Lindbergh.

OCLC WorldCat record
Doin’ the Suzie Q
Author: Lil Hardin Armstrong; Lil Armstrong Swing Orchestra.
Publisher: United States : Decca, [1936]
Edition/Format: Music : 78 rpm : Jazz : English

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film • (0) Comments • Monday, April 19, 2010 • Permalink