Sunday, March 13, 2016

Let's Dance: Louise Brooks and the popular dances of her time

It is well known that Louise Brooks was a gifted dancer: she was trained in aesthetic dances, like those performed by Denishawn, and talented as well as in the popular dances of her time, like the Charleston and Black Bottom. In fact, she is thought to be the first person to dance the Charleston in London, at the popular Cafe de Paris nightclub. She did so in late 1924.

Later, in the mid-1930's, Brooks even made a living touring as a Ballroom dancer in nightclubs on the East Coast, Midwest, and South. And, in 1939, she self-published a booklet called The Fundamentals of Good Ballroom Dancing. Brooks could cut a rug.

What did the popular dances of the 1920's look like? Here are a few video clips, one vintage, the other contemporary, which give an idea of what Brooks was up to on the dance floor.

And here is a clip from Love Em and Leave Em (1926) which shows Brooks making moves on the dance floor.

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