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Dancing shoes (Part Two)
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Dancing shoes (Part Two)

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A brief look at footwear worn during the dance crazes of the late 19th and early 20th century.

A brief look at footwear worn during the dance crazes of the late 19th and early 20th century.


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  • 1. Cameron Kippen toeslayer2000@yahoo.com.au
  • 2. Pope Pius X (1835 –1914) By the turn of the 20th Century dance floor behaviour was likened to that of animals and therefore to find each subsequent dance craze embraced the idea was no surprise. Pope Pius X asked the faithful to forswear the animal mimicry and sanely return to dancing the medieval, furlana.
  • 3.  Turkey Trot  Grizzly Bear  Fox Trot Thought to have originated in the night clubs of San Francisco‘s Barbary Coast in the early 1900s. Dancers moved together, touched, pawed and intimately supported each other with their perilously off-balance gyrations. Became popular after the musical revue, Over the River (1910)
  • 4. Hemlines rose and legs took on a new attraction. Court shoes replaced the ubiquitous boot and slanting Cuban Heels began to be appear.
  • 5. "Everybody's Doing' It Now“ The Establishment objected and revelers were arrested for dancing animal dances.
  • 6. Rudolph Valentino The Tango with its smooth suave Latin sensualness became the dirty dancing of the period. No dance craze swept the world faster and brought millions of dollars to dance studios. The dance was banned in many places. By 1913 the craze hit England and became a tea dance phenomenon.
  • 7. Kid leather and button straps became all the rage The Louis heel was in Vogue, and Ladies shoes were robust and made for walking out as well as dancing.
  • 8. Titanic The Tango originated in Argentina and found its way to Paris via the popular Atlantic luxury cruisers. Dancing shoes from the Titanic found on the sea bed
  • 9. Harry Fox (1882 - 1959 ) Irene and Vernon Castle
  • 10. Al Capone Flapper Shoes
  • 11. The Charleston and its spin offs: the Shimmy, Black Bottom, and Varsity Rag were the dances of the trendy non- prohibitionists. Flappers drank giggle water and danced in the Speakeasy to jazz. The Black Bottom
  • 12. Glamorous dance shoes sported designs and trapping of rich and exotic culture. Shoe styles of the mid twenties reflected contemporary events such as the sensational opening of the tomb of Tutankhamen. Shoes were sturdy enough to withstand stresses imposed by fashionable dance crazes
  • 13. Woman's fashions of the 20s included more leg on show. Daytime shoes were neat and feminine looking, with oval toes and straight, high heels. The1920s stood out as a bright, youth orientated period.
  • 14. Shoe designs of the 20s reflected art deco style with mixtures of leather and suede. Many styles boasted of cushioned heels for dancing. Shoes heels were often decorated
  • 15. Fashionable men dressed in high quality, perfectly fitting clothing which flattered. Fashionable two-tone shoes were thought most brash.
  • 16. Towards the end of the decade the Rumba from Cuba came like the Tango with festering sensualness as Caribbean and African rhythms and movements increasingly influenced social dancing. The rumba was described as the vertical expression of a horizontal wish.
  • 17. Spectators It became chic to dance to jazz music as social barriers between black and white communities were bridged. The effects on fashion were considerable. Two-tone shoes (Spectators) became the zenith of fashion and were considered elegant for both sexes.
  • 18. The Lindy Swing steps were more athletic Than the Charleston. Dancers were younger and dancing was more physical. Inspiration for the new steps came from many sources including thecLindy or Lindy Hop which was a dance rendition of Charles Lindberg's solo struggle across the Atlantic in 1927.
  • 19. The Muscular Christianity movement of the late 19th century advocated a fusion of energetic Christian activism and rigorous physical culture training. Dance became a means of cutting loose from the hardships of reality of Post Depression and for working class people became an established form of escapism. Dance marathons became incredibly popular with literally many people dancing until they dropped.
  • 20. The Big Apple Suzi QThe Shag
  • 21. Most of the dances were North American but the UK, Lambeth Walk enjoyed intense popularity for a Short time. The sensuous Samba originated in Rio de Janeiro and was introduced at the 1939 New York World's Fair.
  • 22. Before to the Depression it was important to have shoes for both daytime as well as evening wear. After 1929 most women preferred to wear styles which could be worn during the day as well as at night.
  • 23. As hemlines dropped shoes took on high vamps and hugging heels. Toes were more rounded and court shoes became broader worn with 4 cm heels. Dancing shoes were always well brushed Straps were often highly decorated Side and heel incorporated gold flecks
  • 24. There were many variations on The T strap with cutaway sides And open toes. Evening shoes were hard wearing and luxurious silks, satins, suede and kid replaced the velvets of the beginning of the decade. Exotic hides, such as python and lizard remained chic. Black was vogue
  • 25. The classic court shoe was an everyday basic but the new look slender heeled sandals with ankle and "T straps" in reptile skins, soft kid, suede and satin were very much the desire of most.
  • 26. Walking shoes for women were introduced during the economically depressed years of the early 30's. As the economy improved fashion accessories included the business shoe broader more angular and with a lowered heel. Adverts captured the style conscious consumer with practical additions.
  • 27. The sandals of the thirties were made with sturdy soles for dancing while the open toes kept the foot cool. In the absence of nylon stockings, legs were made up with cosmetics.
  • 28. Elsa Schiaparelli was a major influence on fashion in the 30's and let shoe designer Perugia produced shoes with twisted metal heels, fish shapes and golden globes. The collaboration with Salvador Dali to produce the famous shoe hat
  • 29. By the end of the decade the platform sandal made its fashion debut. Shortages of raw materials meant designers like Ferragamo improvised with non-traditional materials like cork.
  • 30. During the 1930s more American companies relied on dance records in jukeboxes to help support the dwindling market As a direct result more bars and clubs added dance floors
  • 31. With men at war the invention of the record player meant women could dance in their living rooms. This was where the jitterbug grew up and had elements of other dances from previous times. Named after the jitters or too much alcohol, participants suffered many injuries.
  • 32. In the 30s the trend for faster dancing with vigorous acrobatic movements meant youths had to be pretty fleet of foot. The jitterbug was danced to the music of Benny Goodman.
  • 33. The zoot suit was condemned in many states and clergy warned the suit only appealed to pre-repentant Mary Magdalene kind of women. In many versions the foot opening was so narrow that the trousers needed ankle zippers. The fashion came to an end when L-85 restrictions on clothing were introduced in 1943.
  • 34. WARNING This material has been copied and communicated to you by or on behalf of Cameron Kippen pursuant to Part VB of the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act). The material in this communication may be subject to copyright under the Act. Any further copying or communication of this material by you may be the subject of copyright protection under the Act. Do not remove this notice Copyright Regulations 1969

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