New music flourished old favorites like the Waltz and Foxtrot remained popular due to people like Arthur Murray who ran dance schools and published "How to" books on all the popular dances. Danceslike the Tango and Charleston received a huge boost in popularity when featured in movies by stars like Rudolph Valentino and Joan Crawford; freed from the restrictions of tight corsets and the largepuffed sleeves and long skirts that characterized dress during the late Victorian era, a new generation of dancers was swaying, hugging, and grinding to the new rhythms in dances.
Whilethe new dances appealed to the youth they were not so popular with the older, more conservative generation who saw jazz in particular as decadent. This was partly due both to the nightclubbing andparties that were the venues for the dancing, and to the style of dance itself. F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel "The Great Gatsby" illustrates the lifestyle of young people at that time.
It isworth pointing out that in the early 1900's both the Waltz and the Tango were considered scandalous dances because they involved physical contact between partners during the dance. Once the dance crazeswhich took off in Paris were demonstrated in America, they were embraced by the public and close dancing became a social norm. In the 1920's and 30's the Lindy hop, named for the pilot CharlesLindbergh’s first solo flight, emerged and was the first dance to include swinging the partner into the air, as well as jumping in sequence.
People saw the new dances in Hollywood movies andpracticed them to phonograph records or to radio broadcasts before going out on the dance floors of nightclubs or school gymnasiums. Dancing was a major part of people’s entertainment center and animportant part of every party. Schools taught dancing to small children, while churches used dances to attract young people. Tangos, Foxtrots, Camel Walks, even Square dances (which were heavily...
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