Mataley Rogers (my mother) in her High School yearbook, member of Glee Club, age 16 (San Antonio, Texas)

Friday, April 25, 2014

"Dancing-in" the Rock 'N Roll

Come see Sepia Saturday April 26, 2014
I'll share this post with all the other Sepians, and invite you to browse over there (bottom of their page links to other blogs, below the topics)

Jukeboxes were most popular from the 1940s through the mid-1960s, particularly during the 1950s. By the middle of the 1940s, three-quarters of the records produced in America went into jukeboxes. While often associated with early rock and roll music, their popularity extends back much further, including classical music, opera and the swing music era.
I had dancing lessons while in 7th and 8th grade, which included lots of ballroom dances. Before that I learned line dances in PE classes.  It was so fun having partners who were shorter than I was...and I hadn't attained my full 5' 4" yet.  But you know how boys are slower to mature at that age, right?

A carriage house not converted into Art Studios and "Pub" upstairs

Then in 1955 I entered high school (though it was called Upper School as opposed to Middle School where I was attending).  Within no time I found the "Pub" which was in the attic space above the art studios...an old carriage house type building.

An old home converted into office space on a school campus
My parents worked in the Administration building, which had been a Victorian era home in St. Louis, with a big campus upon which many school buildings were added.  The school had been given the campus in 1901.   But between the art studios and the Pub, I was able to endure adolescence.

I'd never go back and do that again.  Would you?  Clothes that were difficult because of body changes, just the problems associated with body changes, complexion problems, relationships with girls and boys that ran the gamut from "best friends forever" (which of course we didn't call each other then) to "dream boat because he kissed me."

My first boy friend, David Richmond, was a thespian, and cute in a teddy bear sort of way.  We found places to hide and learn how to kiss behind the various buildings...but never in the Pub.  That was a public arena, and at 13-14 you didn't do that.  You could slow-dance however.

I had a few other boyfriends my freshman year...one at a time as was the norm.  There was a boys prom and a girls prom, and we were taught how to write formal invitations.  I'm glad, because I think I've (count them) never written one since.

And we all learned how to fast-dance...from each other I think.  There may have been swing steps taught in our "fortnightlies" in middle school, but we took them further.
 In 1957, the Philadelphia-based television show American Bandstand was picked up by the American Broadcasting Company and shown across the United States. American Bandstand featured currently popular songs, live appearances by musicians, and dancing in the studio. At this time, the most popular fast dance was jitterbug, which was described as "a frenetic leftover of the swing era ballroom days that was only slightly less acrobatic than Lindy."
I think that's about the same time we got our first black and white TV.  It sure was wonderful to see other young people and learn their dance steps.

And then Rock and Roll hit the world.  I don't think any other generation has been as involved in changes in music as we were.  (Well, maybe they all thought they did.) 

All info on this page (besides personal) comes from Wikipedia.

14 comments:

La Nightingail said...

How well I remember the informal sock-hops in the gym held after school on a Friday afternoon; the slightly more formal dances held at night - usually put on by one school club or another; &, of course, the formal proms marking special occasions. In the early '50s fast-dancing partners still held hands doing a sort of rock & roll version of swing. But in the later '50s fast-dancing included partners who danced separately but facing each other. After that, of course, it got totally crazy with new dances like The Swim, The Pony, The Jerk, The Mashed Potato, & etc. being created almost weekly in the '60s and I do have to say those really were a lot of fun!

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

You said it Gail...and I had a picture somewhere (didn't find it this week) of my sis wearing some socks I decorated for her at a sock hop. Thanks for your comment.

Postcardy said...

I learned the jitterbug in Fortnightly dance class. The only other dance I learned was the Twist. The Twist is good exercise, and I still do it in exercise class.

luvlinens said...

Well, I missed out on the sock hops by just a few years. But I was a dancer. I actually taught Ballroom and Disco Hustle back in the 70s for Fred Astaire Studios in New York and Miami.

Alex Daw said...

I found that statistic about 3/4 of the records going into juke boxes fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

Little Nell said...

Thanks for sharing so much of your youth Barb! No, I wouldn't go back either, but I think they were rites of passage.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

I sat out the years of disco...but always enjoyed that the movies had such nicely correographed routines. Sort of West Side Story goes to dance clubs. I personally didn't buy records, but listened to radio constantly.

Wendy said...

I was taught to write a formal invitation too, but the only dancing we were taught was square dancing.

Skyline Spirit said...

pretty nice blog, following :)

genepenn said...

I do enjoy reading how you spent this aspect of your teenage years. In Castlemaine, Victoria, Aus we had a night school social once a term - but it would have all been Ballroom Dancing, and some time was set aside to practise for it. Dances such as the Pride of Erin, the Maxina and the Barn Dance were on the program.

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

OH genepenn, I love the names of those dances...but Barn Dance is the only one that rings a bell for me. And don't ask me to move like any of them any more!

Tattered and Lost said...

Oh yes, the 7th and 8th grade dance classes. Parents had to sign us up for this. It wasn't part of the school, just held in the gym/cafeteria in the evenings. I believe it was called cotillion. We were taught all the dances (except the ones we were actually doing) and manners. Yeah, that didn't stick. At least everyone got to dance and nobody was left on the sidelines dying of embarrassment.

Brett Payne said...

Jukeboxes I like, but dancing ... no thanks.

North County Film Club said...

In the early '60s I worked at a record co. that got it's start selling left-over records from jukeboxes. Later they made their own records. Your post took me back to jr. high ballroom dance classes and on to high school proms where we never did ballroom dancing- at least not the kind we had learned in jr. high!
Barbara