The signature dance of the gigolo, as depicted in a selection of old movies. A nice review of what a polished Tango looked like in the '30s and '40s.
One of the things that fascinates me about the dances of the Jazz Age is how universal and international the "Modern Dance" sensibility was. Pretty much anywhere you were, from New York to London to Berlin to Buenos Aires the dances were very similar.
Paris and Vienna had some unique takes on the Waltz, but in Argentina, the close-hold, box-step smooth style found in most of the world was also found there, in the home of the Tango. There is today a style of Waltz popular with the Tango crowd that is essentially a Tango in 3/4 time. That doesn't seem to be what's happening here, though to be fair, the Argentine Tango of 1935 was not quite what you generally see danced today either.
Just for contrast, I have also embedded a video of the modern take on the Argentine Waltz.
I have extracted the two Argentine Tango scenes from this Carlos Gardel film
Kids, black and white but nearly all female, swing dancing and foxtrotting at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Silent home movie footage found in the Prellinger collection on the Internet Archive. I added music from Glen Gray and the Casa Loma orchestra (the band on the stage) that seemed like more or less the right tempo. I put this together in aid of my page on the stye of Foxtrot you see in this film. The page is located at http://www.walternelson.com/dr/foxtrot
Part of my dance-in-old-films project: I've extracted the numerous Tango scenes from the 1933 Argentine film "TANGO!". Please forgive the lousy sound. I contemplated replacing it with a nice recording, but then concluded that its value as a historical artifact is enhanced by hearing the music to which they are dancing, even if it is muddy and tinny.
A selection of clips from 1920s and 30s movies illustrating the simplicity, romanticism and sensuality of the Tango of the Jazz Age. Includes clips from "Die Buchse der Pandora", "Her Majesty, Love", "Abwege" and "Prix de Beaute".
This video, made up of Fox Movietone News rough footage from 1930, shows in great detail, ordinary folks dancing the Fox Trot in 1930.
This video is from a collection of raw footage and out takes from Fox Movietone News. I cut it down to the dance related bits from the footage I found on the University of South Carolina website.
From 1930, at the Poinciana Breakers Casino in Palm Beach Florida, ordinary folks dancing the Fox Trot in the sort of general public dancing that used to be found everywhere.
From the film "The Guilty Generation":(1931) an old fashioned dance mixer.