C288_G.14 | Dance

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Dance card
20th century
Ink on card
10.2 x 3.9 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Dance card (154)
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Keys to History

The dance hall was the ultimate crossroads of leisure and the new freedoms. The definition, style and role of dance changed radically in the early 20th century. Up until then, most dancing had been done strictly at family or community festivities and special occasions. Now, young people were jamming dance halls, nightclubs and cabarets, all prime spots to escape for a few hours from parental control and enjoy the seductions of the dance floor.

  • What

    The new dance steps such as the Turkey Trot and Bunny Hug were faster and livelier than traditional dances.

  • Where

    Young people jammed the dance halls, eager to throw off social constraints and have some fun away from the prying eyes of their parents.

  • When

    The dance craze really took off after the First World War, during the Roaring Twenties.

  • Who

    Dancers were experimenting with new, more intimate dance styles, as this couple reveals.