Category History

HISTORY: the belfast ballroom manual

This little gem was published in 1863 in Belfast, Maine, and cost 10 cents at the time of publication. It contains basic instructions for about 60 dances. The manual states,  We have endeavored to make the following figures so clear, that any person who has the least knowledge of dancing, can execute them without difficulty. […]

HISTORY: bernice and isadora

Found this little gem on the Maine Memory Network with the description: “Young women dressed in classic style togas are part of the Bernice Ham Summer School of Dancing in Harrison” The photograph is from 1922 and Bernice Ham Summer School of Dancing was located in Harrison, a historic resort area located squished between two […]

VIDEO: ladies love

OKAY THIS IS A BIG DEAL GUYS. What you’re about to see if footage of LL Cool J from 1985. Five months before his debut album Radio dropped. LL Cool J was 17 years old. But the most amazing part? IT IS FROM A SHOW IN WATERVILLE. Did your mind just explode? Because mine did. […]

VIDEO: dance on film

Yesterday The Criterion Collection posted a spotlight on Martha Graham –  sharing a video clip from A Dancer’s World (a 1957 television documentary).  Criterion released the doc as Martha Graham: Dance on Film on DVD – along with two complete Graham ballets: Appalachian Spring (1958) and Night Journey (1961). Click the pic below to watch […]

HISTORY: anti-dance manifestos

Visit the dancing woman the day “after the ball is over;” hear her weak voice, and look into her listless eyes; note her general lassitude, observe that she has scarcely any life and you will get some idea of the physical effect of the dance. Or so says Dr. R.A. Adams in The Social Dance, […]

HISTORY: for teenagers only

The Dave Astor Show: For Teenagers Only was broadcast on Saturday nights from 1956 to 1971 and featured local teenagers dancing and singing along to the popular music of the day. It first broadcast on WGAN (now WGME) and moved to WCSH by 1963. The Dave Astor Show: For Teenagers Only began when WGME executives […]

HISTORY: dance marathons

In the 1920s – 1930s, organized dance endurance contests would encourage couples to literally dance until they dropped. Popularly known as “bunion derbies,” and “corn and callus carnivals,” promoters would often call the events “walkathons” since social dancing could still be construed as somewhat scandalous. Dance marathons persisted throughout the 1930s as partially staged performance […]