Dancing till Dawn: A Century of Exhibition Ballroom Dance

Dancing till Dawn: A Century of Exhibition Ballroom Dance

Dancing till Dawn: A Century of Exhibition Ballroom Dance

Dancing till Dawn: A Century of Exhibition Ballroom Dance

Synopsis

This volume explores the rich history of exhibition ballroom dancing from its heyday in the 1910s to the present. Malnig's record of this intimate, theatrical genre of dance features male-female teams as performers in cabaret, vaudeville, musicals, and, later, film and television. Exhibition ballroom dancing is also examined as a cultural and social phenomenon that promotes new cultural standards. This first comprehensive study of a unique dance genre and entertainment form utilizes primary sources, including promotional materials and print reviews, and is illustrated with original photographs.

Excerpt

Dancing Till Dawn:
A Century of Exhibition Ballroom Dance
explores the rich history of a popular dance form whose roots extend back to the first decade of the twentieth century. This dynamic, romantic, and highly expressive genre features male-female teams performing theatricalized versions of contemporary ballroom dance. To date no full-length study has been written concerning the history of exhibition ballroom dancers and their enormous range of dance styles. Dancing Till Dawn attempts to fill this gap by examining the development of exhibition ballroom dance as a profession, and by exploring the relationship of the teams to the theatrical venues in which they flourished--the cabaret, vaudeville, the musical theatre, film, and eventually television. Additionally, the book considers the dance teams as theatrical personalities, many of whom garnered enormous critical and popular success throughout their careers.

The focus of the work is on exhibition ballroom dance's heyday during the 1910s. Styles and patterns of dance developed then would influence successive generations of exhibition ballroom dancers. The early chapters of the book are organized around the work of several of the most popular and frequently reviewed teams of the day. These teams have been chosen for two reasons: they illustrate the different career paths through which performers became exhibition ballroom dancers, and these teams are examples of the differing styles of exhibition performance established in the early decades of this century, namely the adagio, eccentric, comic, and romantic modes. Subsequent chapters ex-

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