In remembrance of The Great War during this centenary year, this blog will explore the intriguing social history of that tumultuous time. The first two of my Muskoka Novels – "The Summer Before the Storm" and "Elusive Dawn" – take place from 1914-1918. During my four years of research I accumulated a trunkful of notes, and will illuminate some of the more interesting and unusual tidbits, beginning with the Age of Elegance.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Shall We Dance?
Dare we try the Bunny Hug, the Grizzly Bear, the Turkey Trot,
or one of the other “vulgar”, banned, ragtime dances that have scandalized
conservative society? Grandmother would have kittens if she saw us entwined in the
sexy Tango, which is becoming popular in Europe. Perhaps we can get away with
the Foxtrot, just debuted in New York in 1914 by the famous and respectable
ballroom dancers, Vernon and Irene Castle.
Irene and Vernon Castle
Vernon, British by birth, joined the Royal Flying Corps
(RFC) during the Great War, and earned a medal before being posted to Canada
and then the U.S. to train pilots. He died in a flying accident in Texas in
Photo by Frank Micklethwaite
Many of the 100+ inns
and resorts on the three big lakes -
Muskoka, Rosseau, and Joseph - had ballrooms, so you could always “trip the
light fantastic” somewhere - except on Sundays. The lakeside dance pavilion to
the left of the canoeist in the photo above doubled as a roller skating rink. There
were also plenty of private events, including deevie costume balls. “Ain’t we