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A Tough Dance 1902

  • June 22, 1902
  • 1 mins
  • English
  • Documentary
A man and a woman, both dressed in rough clothing, go around and around, half dancing and half wrestling, until they tumble to the ground in a heap. The Apache dance was named not after the Indians of the American Southwest, but the lower class demimondaines of Paris. Acts like this were popular because they permitted their audiences to go slumming, attending events that looked and seemed risky but in truth were not. Acts like this were part of the reason that public dancing was often seen as disreputable. Polite society restricted their dancing to private parties where dances like the waltz and polka -- which had been shocking half a century earlier -- were performed. It would take the influence of Vernon and Irene Castle and the rise of night clubs during Prohibition to make public dancing respectable again. In the meantime, there's this. It's not very graceful.

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