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More Than Just A Cakewalk

In popular culture, the term cakewalk means anything that is effortless and easy.

But the word dates back to a pre-Civil War dance originally performed by enslaved people on plantations throughout the South. The children's book Mirandy and Brother Wind (Alfred A. Knopf/1988) celebrates the cakewalk tradition through the story of a young girl named Mirandy who is determined to catch the wind so that it can help her win her town's cakewalk for the first time. A musical adaptation of the book is now on stage at Raleigh Little Theatre through November 16. 

Host Frank Stasio talks to playwright and adapter Michael J. Bobbitt, choreographer LD Burris, and actors Kwamea Wilkerson and Janice Laurore. 

Here's an archival video of a cakewalk from 1903:

Anita Rao is an award-winning journalist and the host and creator of "Embodied," a weekly radio show and podcast about sex, relationships & health. She's also the managing editor of WUNC's on-demand content.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
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