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Dance with History - Index

Antiquity to 1600

1600 to 1800

1800 to 1900

1900 to 1920 - current page

1920 to 1930

1930 to 1940

1940 to 1970

1970 to Why do we dance?


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Dance with History as single page essay

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Dance with History 1900 to 1920

1900s A New Era

Franks describes a progression from courtly steps as a democratic and fun-seeking society expresses the emotions of a new era by interpreting music in smooth flowing dances based on the natural walk.

1900 James Finnigan of Manchester

"James Finnigan devises the Military Two Step. He is also the first President of the Manchester and Salford Association of Teachers of Dancing, founded in 1903, and his grand-daughter still teaches dancing.

Source Wainwright

1911 Jazz, Syncopation and Ragtime

Irving Berlin composes Alexander's Ragtime Band.

Source Silvester

1911 Tango

"... it became fashionable in Paris, and later in London, to have 'Tango parties' in drawing-rooms. They also began introducing dancing couples into restaurants, and [George Grossmith] was one of the first among the ordinary people watching to get up with a lady and dance between the tables. Other spectators followed suit."

Source Silvester

1914 Vernon and Irene Castle

"People can say what they like about rag-time. The Waltz is beautiful, the Tango is graceful. One can sit quietly and listen with pleasure to them all; but when a good orchestra plays a rag one has simply got to move."

Castle, Vernon and Irene "Modern Dancing"
Source Thompson

1914-1918 Foxtrot

"1914 - The Foxtrot first danced in UK, described by a contemporary as 'very rollicking, and has a tendency to put everyone in a good humour'."

Source Rust

"When war came, the most popular form of relaxation for the men on leave was a dance... The fascinating lilt of the Foxtrot tunes and the informal nature of the steps appealed so much that in a few months the Foxtrot swept all other dances except the Rag off the ballroom floor.

"Foxtrot has an eponymous hero, Harry Fox, who was among the first to introduce it to the vaudeville stage, but the suggestion it was named after the gait or pace of the horse, known in the West as 'Foxtrot', is more plausible.

"...one prominent teacher, in reply to a request for a definition of the basic Foxtrot steps, wrote at the time: 'There are but two things to remember; first a slow walk, two counts to a step; second a trot or a run, one count to each step.'"

Source Silvester


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