Master Juba often performed at the Almacks a new dance step merging the step dancing from the Irish Indentured Servants (step dancing) and African Americans from the West Indies (Juba dancing). His real name was believed to be Willian Henry Lane. He was also known as "Boz's Juba" following Dickens's graphic description of him in American Notes.He was an African American dancer active in the 1840s. He was one of the first black performers in the US to play onstage for white audiences and the only one of the era to tour with a white minstrel group. In 1842, English writer Charles Dickens toured New York's Five Points. This was around the time of the challenge dances, and Dickens was possibly drawn by rumors of Barnum's disguising of a black youth as a white minstrel performer. There the writer witnessed a performance by "a lively young negro" at the Almack's tavern and brothel at 67 Orange Street in the infamous Mulberry Bend. The November 11, 1842, edition of the New York Herald later identified this dancer as Juba. Dickens wrote in his American Notes, "The corpulent black fiddler, and his friend who plays the tambourine, stamp upon the boarding of the small raised orchestra in which they sit, and play a lively measure. Five or six couples come upon the floor, marshaled by a lively young negro, who is the wit of the assembly, and the greatest dancer known. He never leaves off making queer faces and is the delight of all the rest, who grin from ear to ear incessantly ... ... But the dance commences. Every gentleman sets as long as he likes to the opposite lady, and the opposite lady to him, and all are so long about it that the sport begins to languish when suddenly the lively hero dashes into the rescue. Instantly the fiddler grins, and goes at it tooth and nail; there is a new energy in the tambourine; new laughter in the dancers; new smiles in the landlady; new confidence in the landlord; new brightness in the very candles. Single shuffle, double shuffle, cut and cross-cut; snapping his fingers, rolling his eyes, turning in his knees, presenting the backs of his legs in front, spinning about on his toes and heels like nothing but the man's fingers on the tambourine; dancing with two left legs, two right legs, two wooden legs, two-wire legs, two spring legs—all sorts of legs and no legs—what is this to him? And in what walk of life, or dance of life, does man ever get such stimulating applause as thunders about him, when, having danced his partner off her feet, and himself too, he finishes by leaping gloriously on the bar-counter, and calling for something to drink, with the chuckle of a million of counterfeit Jim Crows, in one inimitable sound!"

Discovered, 1840

Related People
William Henry Lane, Also known as Master Juba
Charles Dickens, In 1842, Charles Dickens watched a spirited dancer in New York City and wrote about him in his American Notes, published the same year.