• Tangos & Turkey Trots

    Chevy Girls Go Dancing

    At a single sex school like Chevy Chase College and Seminary, as it was called in the early decades of its operation, there were few opportunities for its students to meet and interact with boys and young men.  Dances, then, had a particularly important role in the social life of the Chevy girls.  They were part of their social education, but also an exciting form of amusement.  The rules and regulations associated with social dancing changed in the early decades of the twentieth century.  Only the waltz and the two-step were considered appropriate for school dances in the early 1900s.  But new forms of social dancing, along with new kinds of dance music, swept the nation in the teens:  the tango was introduced, as well as various “animal dances” like the bunny hug and the turkey trot which depended on the syncopated beats of ragtime. 

    Dance Invitation
    Dance Invitation, February 8, 1929, CCHS 500.14.23

    Some of the shifts and developments in social dancing can be understood through the dance cards for Chevy Chase dances held between 1907 and 1908, a public controversy about tangos and turkey trots in 1913, and much later, in a scrapbook from the 1940s which includes photos of proms held in Washington hotel ballrooms.










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