A Brief History of Dance

In last Saturday’s post, I wrote about how Babu was getting out of the house and having more fun.  If you couldn’t have guessed, most of the outings are to dances.

oct 10.jpeg

Monday, October 11th, 1937
Registered at cooking school and made breakfast.  Zosh wore Helen Oparowski’s dress to the banquet.  She looked lovely.  Nat and I went to a dawn dance at Joyland.  Oh but it was cold!  Had a very good time and some boys from Thompsonville took us home.  Nat let her friend kiss her but I wouldn’t let mine.  We had fun though.  Got in after four.

A “dawn dance?”  What is a dawn dance?  Oh sigh!  But it sounds lovely!!

Remember when Babu tried to do The Continental?
Check out this passage complete with video!

Well, of course this girl still has aspirations:


Thursday, October 14th, 1937
The girl’s at the office got a big kick out of me today, although I didn’t think I was funny.  We used Mr. Hitchcock’s office because ours in being painted, even the walls are being done over everywhere.  Zosh came up and we went to the social.  Didn’t dance with any boys but am crazy to learn to truck.

So what does she mean, “truck?”  I have to tell you I did more research on this post then I have done on any other post so far.  Dancing is not in my wheel house, so I really struggled with this one.

Dictionary.com defines truck (among other things) as:



a shuffling jitterbug step.
And this website was a wealth of information!


  Many lay claim that comedian Dewey “Pigmeat” Markhem of the Apollo Theatre, N.Y. invented Truckin’. (Markhem might have been the first to name what he was doing as Truckin’ but he did not invent the dance, maybe, only a style/Idea version of it.) Ed Sullivan gave credit to Cora LaRedd of the Cotton Club.

WOW!  <3!!!

The main feature of Truckin’ is the shoulders which rise and fall as the dancers move towards each other while the fore finger points up and wiggles back and forth like a windshield wiper.

I have to say that trying to describe a dance is the most ineffectual, ridiculous task.   Thelonius Monk said “Trying to explain music is like trying to dance architecture.”  I think the same can be said the other way around.  The best video I could find to show me clearly what this dance was is this:

Of course, either way it is a slippery eel as the dance itself had it’s genesis in other dances and went on to look slightly different with every evolution it took.

This one you should watch, it is just amazing:

Now I understand why Babu always sounded so picky about guys in regards to whether or not they could dance.  They gotta be able to keep up!
This is a great video to highlight that point.  Watch the first third on mute.  Just trust me.



4 Comments Add yours

  1. Embla Ester Granqvist says:

    This is wonderful! How old is she here?

    When I went to elementary school we had mandatory dance-class, and were supposed to learn all the traditional swedish folk-dances. How I regretted not paying attention. Not because I’m that interested in ever joining in on a “polska” or “snoa”, but because a few years later I was charmed by a girl, who of course was a dancer. She invited me to dance-clubs, and despite her efforts to get me up on the dancefloor and teach me the steps, and my own efforts to learn, I was hopeless. So it always ended up with me standing in a corner watching her dance with someone else.
    Those dancing gals are hard to impress 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thank you so much. She is 19 here. Yes. We know there is really only one reason to learn to dance! I never could learn either!


  2. What a fun post! Loved the videos. Makes me want to go take a swing dancing or jazz class. You got me thinking about the trucking part. The Grateful Dead wrote a famous song titled “Truckin” and the logo for it was a little guy with huge shoes strutting heels first. I always thought it was about travelling, and maybe it was, but band leader Jerry Garcia was interested in all kinds of music history so it may have been in his vernacular also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea that song has been in my head! Thank you so much!


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