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Screen shot from 'Hadj Cheriff,' 1894.

A scene of Hadji Cheriff's gymnastic routine, 1894

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Early Break Dancing
These days the dancing we see on MTV is usually hip-hop, soul, and funk. You may think that those oh-so-cool hip-hop moves are brand new, but can you believe that some of them have been around since the late 1800s? A lot of dancing borrows many moves from gymnastics. In this film, a performer called Hadji Cheriff, of the Cheriff troupe of Arabs, performs a gymnastic routine with a series of one-armed cartwheels. Can you imagine what kind of music he used for this routine?
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VIDEO CREDIT: Dickson, W.K.L., producer, and Cheriff, Hadji L., performer. "Hadj Cheriff." Thomas A. Edison, Inc.1894. Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, Library of Congress.