The Ragtime Dance
by Scott Joplin
Published  1902 & 1906
Publisher  John Stark & Son
Instrument: Piano Solo


A stereotyped African-American couple are shown dancing in a drawing on the front cover of the sheet musicRagtime Dance" is a piece of ragtime music by Scott Joplin, first published in 1902. The 1902 arrangement was a short ragtime folk ballet suitable for stage performance, complete with narration and choreography. The narrator recounts a "dark town" ball that took place at 9 p.m. on a Thursday night and included a cakewalk. The choreography is for four couples.

Four years later, Stark republished the piece in a piano rag arrangement, stripped of its narration and choreography and substantially shortened. The copyright for this arrangement was registered December 21, 1906. The cover art for the 1906 sheet music featured an African American couple dancing in formal attire: the lady holds a fan, and the gentleman holds a top hat and cane.

Marvin Hamlisch incorporated "The Ragtime Dance" into a medley for the soundtrack of the Oscar-winning 1973 film The Sting. The song also appeared in the soundtrack of the 1978 film Pretty Baby and the 1980 Broadway musical revue Tintypes.

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