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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 5, Issue 1 (May 1, 1930)

Old Times Dances

Old Times Dances

This winter there is to be a great revival in the dancing world—a reversion to the quaint old dances of bygone days, so different from the modern hectic whirl of “heebie - jeebies,” “Charleston” and saxophone. There is fashion in dancing as in all things, and its recent phase has been inevitable, because it is in dancing that man expresses his mood of the moment.

I have heard everywhere that new things are approaching, or old things being revived under an altered mein. Even last season the popularity of the waltz was growing, and that of foxtrot waning. This winter it will be even more apparent.

The new dance frocks, with their billowing fluffiness were not destined, obviously, for the Charleston! They are grace and dignity itself, and suitable for the swaying, dreamy movement of the waltz, with its atmosphere of Vienna before the war, of Court Balls and delicious haunting melody.

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It would be great fun, this year, to institute an “Old Time” if you are thinking of celebrating a twenty-first birthday, a wedding, or any other excuse for a party. Of course the days of chaperones cannot be recalled, and we will have to abandon several of the quaint but rather boring customs of the days of Victoria. But there is a great charm which we can give to our dances, if we delve long enough among the lavender and old lace of the past.

We can take from it just the atmosphere we want, and discard what is cumbersome and useless. Let us hail the waltz to our ballrooms, and it would be great fun to “tread a measure” in 1930 to the time honoured tunes of the “Lancers,” the quadrille, and Sir Roger. Perhaps we could even (with a little practice, and surely with not so much effort as was required to master the eccentricities of the Charleston!) revive the stately minuet, minus the powder and patches, but not necessarily bereft of charm. It is rather difficult to picture the modern youth in his prosaic evening dress executing a courtly and cavalier bow over his lady's hand, but it is not impossible nor yet improbable.

We have not succumbed completely to the wiles of jazz; in fact some of us are rather tired of it, and are anticipating new things this winter. I have even heard it whispered that fans are to be an essential part of the dance dress, and will be once more employed for the rapping of knuckles and the screening of bashful faces—if such things exist. Dame Fashion is capricious, and we are her slaves.

“Thine are the hours and days When both are cheering and innocent!”—Byron. (Govt. Publicity photo.) A Maori child in a hot pool, Rotorua, New Zealand.

“Thine are the hours and days When both are cheering and innocent!”—Byron.
(Govt. Publicity photo.)
A Maori child in a hot pool, Rotorua, New Zealand.