Many dances have been labelled “scandalous” as was the Waltz when first seen in the 18th century. When the peasant dance, based on the Vuelta or turning action, appeared in the respectable court salons, dancers whirled around the floor, not only facing each other but also holding in close hold causing much disapproval. The three beat rhythm developed into several styles of waltz including the ballroom waltz, slow Boston waltz, Viennese waltz, Tango waltz and the classical waltz based on the ballet turn out of feet. It has become known as the Lovers dance and is often chosen as the first wedding dance and social evenings have a tradition of ending with the Last Waltz.

 

In the early 1900’s new liberating dances emerged in America fuelled by Ragtime.  These new dances carried animal names including the Foxtrot derived probably from the music hall performer Harry Fox who executed a trotting dance to ragtime in the Zigfeld Follies in 1914.  The exhibition dancer Vernon Castle and partner also incorporated this rhythm in their repertoire. When introduced into England, the I.S.T.D. standardised the rhythm to become the Slow Foxtrot; less jerky in character and more smoother style. Adding the slow beat gave the Foxtrot more flexibility and expression and replaced the one-step or two-step.  The slow syncopated 4/4 rhythm needed to evolve to suit busy dance halls and to this end “on the spot” dancing developed and was know as “crush” dancing or now Social or Slow Rhythm. The later still used in ballroom medal tests to encourage soft, smooth and rhythmic movement. Variations of the Foxtrot are the Peabody, Quickstep and Roseland Foxtrot.

 

The origins of sequence dancing can be found in the 18th century court dances.  Old time or “tyme” developed in the first part of the 20th century. In 1900 Arthur Morris choreographed a dance called the Veleta and entered it in a competition run by the British Association of Teachers of Dancing.  Although it was not selected it became one of the standard classical sequence waltz dances.  The Classical sequence dances such as, waltz, two-step, gavotte, glides and mazurka are based on the turned out foot position.  Whilst saunters, tangos, blues, etc. are on parallel foot positions.  Unlike ballroom, the dancers may release hold during the dance.  Later in the 20th century the dances in the ballroom rhythms, slow foxtrot, waltz, quickstep and tango and then Latin American rhythms, rumba, cha cha cha, jive, samba and paso doble etc., were invented to conform to the 16 bar structure (with a few exceptions) of sequence. Today there are even Argentine Tango and Mambo rhythms.  All dances have their own name or title. Numerous new sequence dances are released each year as a result of the many inventive dance competitions of which Terry has judged for the I.S.T.D..  We teach sequence to all ages from children to adults, for competition, medals and social dancing and organise the I.S.T.D. annual Classical and Sequence Festival in Bournemouth in December.

 

The origins of this dance is shrouded in mystery. Some say it was named after a Club called the Peabody others after a police chief from New York who frequented dance halls on the island of Manhattan. Being a rather portly gentleman, his lady partners needed to dance to his side and often held at a distance. Although an engaging scenario, there is no actual evidence that this Chief Peabody ever existed.

The Peabody began as a variation of the Foxtrot with the steps set to the faster tempo of Dixieland Jazz or Ragtime music. It is a fun, jaunty, even corny dance, celebrating an evening out. The steps are based on a open box pattern and as the dance moves round the room, needs a decent amount of uncrowded  floor space. Although based on the box pattern, the couples can improvise using many jazz type actions adding to its attraction. It is considered as part of the American smooth category in ballroom dancing and in the past often featured in large competitions. James Cagney and Loretta Young dance the Peabody to the music of Darktown Strutters Ball in the 1931 move, Taxi.

 
Commence Fcg DW at a corner.

Figure or Foot Postition Man ends Timing
 
1-3 Natural Turn – Turning Back Whisk – Chasse from PP – Wing
1-3 Natural Turn Back Whisk to PP Fcg DC 123 123
Chasse from PP – Wing Fcg DC 12&3 123
 
Progressive Chasse to R – Back Lock – Outside Spin – Turning Lock
Progressive to Right – Back Lock Bkg DW 12&3 12&3
Outside Spin (3/4 R) Bkg DC 123
Turning Lock Fcg DW 1&23

 
Fcg = Facing. Bkg = Backing. DW = Diagonal Wall. DC = Diagonal Centre.

This is a pupil’s rough guide. Come to one of our classes for a demonstration and to learn this variation.