Saturday, June 7, 2014

Art Deco Painting The Roaring 20's Dance Marathon by k Madison Moore

The Roaring 20’s Dance Marathon

ArtDeco Series
14 x 18 Art Deco  Oil Painting on Canvas


Loved, loved loved to dance when I was younger. I went
to every dance I could find in my neighborhood and otherwise.
When I was a teen Jerry Blavat was the big well known DJ
and held dances different nights of the week all over Philadelphia.
He was known as the Geater with the heater!! So funny!

On Sundays the dances were at Wagners Ballroom on Broad Street. It
took and hour and a half on bus one way to get there. I think every
kid in the city went there. The Ballroom held 3000 people and we
danced straight though for five hours and the place roared!
OMG, if I tried that now I would be hospitalized! lol!

In my 20’s I had a professional dance partner and we entered 
every contest around. We were very serious and had great times.
At the same time I belonged to a professional dance team in Philly
and later years I taught a bit for Arthur Murray. My dancing days 
unfortunately ended when I had a serious car accident and multiple
serious injuries. I really miss it.
I just cannot image entering a marathon or even wanting to.
Just image dancing around the clock for weeks and months.
Just crazy!

This is one of those paintings that I didn't want to end so
I kept detailing and more detailing. So much fun. It's
a shame the details cannot be appreciated in a photo.

The Roaring 20’s Dance Marathon

The craze began in 1923, when 32-year old Alma Cummings danced non-stop for 27 hours, wearing out six different partners, breaking the previous record set in Britain and gaining brief national acclaim for her feat. This inspired others (more often women) who wished to share her glory and break her record.

Dance Marathons (also called Walkathons), an American phenomenon of the 1920s and 1930s, were human endurance contests in which couples danced almost non-stop for hundreds of hours (as long as a month or two), competing for prize money. Dance marathons originated as part of an early-1920s, giddy, jazz-age fad for human endurance competitions 
Contestants who learned to adjust to this around-the-clock motion danced on as the sign above them ticked up the hours and ticked down the number of contestants remaining.
Contestants were expected to dance full-out during the heavily attended evening hours. A live band played at night, whereas a phonograph often sufficed during the day. 
Contestants, who danced in pairs, were required to remain in motion (picking up one foot, then the other) 45 minutes each hour, around the clock.

Each marathon had its own set of rules, demanding more from their participants and dictating a way of life for the around-the-clock dancers (not to mention judges, nurses, vendors and many others involved in the event), governing dancing, sleeping, eating, bathing and using the toilet. Rules often demanded that couples register and stay together, stating that if one partner dropped out, the other had to leave too. They regulated rest periods: fifteen minutes for every hour of dancing, often in separate quarters for men and women, during which they could sleep, change clothes, or have a massage (which contestants themselves paid for). Though healthier for the dancers than the earlier non-stop contests, these rest periods allowed the marathons to continue for days, weeks, and even months. 

Medical services were available to contestants, usually within full view of the audience. Physicians tended blisters, deloused dancers, disqualified and treated any collapsed dancer, tended sprains, and so on.


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