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1919 Dance Card
The Junior Prom, University of Illinois - April 11, 1919

[1919 Dance Card]

This is a card from the University of Illinois Junior Promenade of the class of 1920, held in their gymnasium. Inside are two bifolded sheets creating four pages. The covers are two rectangles of wood, held together by metal rings. On the front cover is what appears to be a hand painted bird perched on a branch adorned with fanciful red flowers. A small pencil is attached to the card by a blue and yellow cord.
[1919 Dance card inside]

On the inside leaves are printed a list of chaperones, class officers, the dance committee, the menu for the dinner, the name of the band and of course the list of dances. This list of dances contains 20 separate pieces, mostly to popular pieces - 9 One Steps, 10 Fox Trots and a single Waltz. After WWI older Ragtime music was beginning to give way to newer Jazz forms. Recorded dance music from this period sounds incredibly fast to us; it has the breakneck speed and jumpy rhythms of early jazz. The older One Step survived in a simplified form from the Ragtime period well into the 20's because it suited the new energetic jazz. The waltz was by now decidedly old-fashioned,as the solitary example on this dance list testifies.

It was the flexible Fox Trot introduced in the teens that would eventually replace the One Step, since its endlessly variable combinations of slow and quick steps made it suitable for slow. moderate or fast dance tempos. By the early 20's American youth had already taken up energetic Toddle, Shimmy and Collegiate Fox Trot variations, which would pave the way for the later Charleston and Black Bottom. (For descriptions of some of these early 1920's jazzdances see MIXED PICKLES' Vintage Dance Timeline - The Jazz Era.) The Fox Trot would remain a ballroom staple until the end of the 20th century

Vintage Dance Cards