Saturday, January 10, 2009

Modern Dance: Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear




By the turn of the century young people's behaviour on the dance floor was likened to that of animals and no surprise therefore to find each subsequent dance craze embraced the idea. The Turkey Trot was perhaps the best known and was introduced by the youth of 1900 and danced to ragtime beat.



The undoubted attractions were the dancers moved together, touched, pawed and intimately supported each other with their perilously off-balance gyrations. Thought to have originated in night clubs from San Francisco' Barbary Coast the dance became a craze after the 1910 musical revue, Over the River. Al Johnson was known to have danced the Turkey Trot.



The Establishment objected and young people were arrested for dancing the trot and other animal dances. Soon ballrooms employed floor walkers to route out troublemaking revelers. The next fad was called the 'Grizzly Bear" and owed its success to Irving Berlin's "Everybody's Doing' It Now". The reaction from establishment was predictable but the dance surpassed anything before it.



From the Vatican, Pope Pius X asked the faithful to give up the animal mimicry and sanely return to dancing the medieval, furlana.



Italian in origin this dance was in effect a wild courtship configuration for couples, which even Casanova considered violently passionate.



Ladies shoes in the early part of the 1900's were medium heel pumps. The fashion for boots had passed and the court slip-on was worn with Cuban heels. The raising of the hemlines meant the legs were on show and the focus of both male and female attention.



Reviewed 28/01/2016

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