Posts tagged ‘social dancing’

August 29, 2011

Home of Happy Feet

USA. New York City. Harlem. 1939. Savoy Ballroom. © Cornell Capa/International Center of Photography/Magnum Photos

The Savoy was a popular dance venue from the late 1920s to the 1950s and many dances such as Lindy Hop became famous here. It was known downtown as the “Home of Happy Feet” but uptown, in Harlem, as “the Track”. Unlike the ‘whites only’ policy of the Cotton Club, the Savoy Ballroom was integrated where white and black Americans danced together. Virtuosic dancers, however, excluded others from the northeast corner of the dance floor, now referred to as the “Cat’s Corner,” a term not used at the time. This is just one glimpse into one of New York City’s most written about, filmed and photographed neighborhoods – Harlem. For decades, photographers, writers, poets and musicians have been inspired by the rich history, strong culture, beauty and grit of Harlem.

Copyright © 2010 Magnum Photos. All rights reserved.

August 7, 2011

….more babies killed

Tea Dance, Blackheath Halls, London (2011).

Another couple of images I had to drop because they didn’t work in A Rendezvous with Mr Wonderful but I like these images because they freeze a moment in the dance.  As Henri Cartier Bresson says ‘inside movement there is one moment at which the elements in motion are in balance. Photography must seize upon this moment and hold immobile the equilibrium of it.’ That’s what I’ve tried to do here, the 2nd image being the more successful of the two.

August 1, 2011

Killing your babies – its hard!

Tea Dance, Camden Centre, London (2011).

This image didn’t quite cut it for A Rendezvous with Mr Wonderful……just couldn’t get it to work with the other images which is a shame because I really like it….maybe because it looks more like a pinhole photo.  Quite a few favourites didn’t make the final selection. I’m surprised how ruthless I was with this edit but having the title for the project first really helped with this….shall try this approach more often!  Will post some more favs shortly…

July 31, 2011

A Rendezvous with Mr Wonderful

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This is a photo-story about the tea-dancing scene in London.    It’s a story about romantic afternoons tripping the light fantastic and whizzing around the dance floor.  Sometimes the music is provided by the legendary Mr Wonderful who is one of the many characters in the story who has been keeping London supplied with tea dances for over 20 years……….he has quite the following!

A tea dance, or thé dansant (French: literally dancing tea) is an afternoon or early-evening dance. The function evolved from the concept of afternoon tea, and its origins can be traced back to the French colonization of Morocco.

Ballroom standards are the most common partner dances danced at these events including the Waltz, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep, Samba, Cha-cha-cha, Rumba, Paso Doble and Jive.

To view the story with captions click here.

July 17, 2011

Portraits – Music at the Bandstand

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Music at the Bandstand, Battersea Park (July, 2011).

July 16, 2011

Ragroof Theatre, Tea Dance.

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Music at the Bandstand, Battersea Park (July, 2011).

Forget a few summer showers, London was drenched in a genuine European monsoon today but that did not stop this year’s Music at the Bandstand  which took inspiration from all things ‘vintage’, including a tea dance by Ragroof Theatre, who specialise in outdoor performances that engage and collaborate with audiences.  They host stylish afternoon tea dances for all ages and levels of experience with the sounds of the roaring 20s, 30s and 40s to help recreate the glamorous heyday of ballroom dance, with a dash of luscious Latin and scintillating swing thrown in.

July 10, 2011

Tea Dance Portrait #5

Wei Ying & William @ Tea Dance, Greenwich Town Hall, 2011.

July 10, 2011

Tea Dance Portrait #4

George @ Tea Dance, Greenwich Town Hall, 2011.

June 27, 2011

Tea Dance Portrait #3

Left: Maureen @ Tea Dance, Camden Centre.
Right: Nancy @ Tea Dance, Battersea Arts Centre. (2011).

June 27, 2011

Tea Dance Portrait #2

Shirley @ Tea Dance, Greenwich Town Hall, 2011.