Dance has been around for a long time, and there have been people doing what they call “social dance” since about 1900. However, the first “social dance movement” in my mind was in the 1920s in Los Angeles, which is actually the second-oldest “social dance movement” in the United States. Before 1920, Los Angeles had only been a small city with a few churches, hotels, and hotels. The city was still developing and only had about 300 residents when it organized its Social Ballet Club. The club was the first real “club” for an unorganized, “chalk circle” of dancers in LA.
This was the era when the “chalk circle” became an informal social dance organization instead of a formal one. This is the movement that I think of when I think of “social dance,” a style of free-form dance in which people dance to whatever music they prefer to hear.
These social dance clubs did not have names or places, so to know who was doing the “chalk circle” dance you would have to look at posters up close and personal memory. Most social dance clubs in LA had two or three areas with “chalk circles” and no specific rules except for the number of people that could participate per quarter.
Some social dance clubs were actually “unpermitted” parties, but it is not clear who had the permission to do what. One social dance club in Los Angeles, the Blue Room, used to open its doors every night at 6:00 with a musical dance. The club was organized by several members of the Social Rhythm Association, but the people who participated did not actually have to have a social rhythm association to dance at the club. The club was known to be very noisy during their parties and people got a reputation for being drunk or disorderly.
During an August 1920 LA Times article which covered this new social dance culture: http://archive.org/stream/la%1920Times%20June%201920/la_times_09-17-1920_.swf
“As to the use of the word “Chalk”, that was originally an adjective describing an informal gathering of persons and the people who came there. Now it has its original meaning. It means a large gathering of people in an area in which there is no rule, no order.”
The social dance movement was so new that there was little formal literature and little organized records to show who was doing what during these
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