A strutting dance which originated with the slaves on the plantations of the old south in the 19th century to imitate the mannerisms of the plantation owner's. Couples improvised high steps, parading, and lively movements all to highly syncopated music. A prize (cake) was often given to the most innovative dancers - hence the name "cakewalk". It became popular in minstrel and vaudeville shows and was a popular social dance at the end of the 19th century. The duple meter (2/4)music is characterized by a short-long-short rhythm and became commonly used in ragtime and marches of the period.