Hard life: Dance marathons

“It seems unbelievable now but there were once fifteen thousand people– promoters, emcees, floor judges, trainers, nurses, cooks, janitors, cashiers, ticket-takers, publicity agents, promotion men, musicians, contestants and even a lawyer– whose main source of income over a number of years came from endurance shows.” Taken from the memoir of jazzsinger Anita O’Day (aka “The Jezebel of Jazz”), High Times Hard Times.
Marathon dancers, 4/20/1923 (via)
During the great depression in the US of A, these Dance, or endurance, marathons were highly popular; there were huge prizes to be won for the contestants. And lot’s of money to be made by the organizers. They were marketed as fun, but images of these days learn us that having fun wasn’t always a priority.
56-year-old Frank Miller and 22-year-old Ruth Smith win a dance marathon in Atlantic City. They danced for more than 61 days, 1931(photo via)
(photo via) They shoot horses don’t they? a novel by Horace McCoy (who was a bouncer at several dance marathons)first published in 1935. The story mainly concerns a dance marathon during the Great Depression. It was adapted into a 1969 film Directed by Sydney Pollack.  via
In the world called fashion:
For spring 2004, Alexander McQueen collaborated with Michael Clark, who choreographed and performed in a darkly glamorous dance marathon, a reenactment of Sydney Pollack’s movie They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, that showcased both models and dancers.Read more: Career Tribute to Alexander McQueen – Alexander McQueen’s Design Highlights – Harper’s BAZAAR

Fashion editorial with a theme, (Cinematic moments from seven Depression classics(!)) in Vanity Fair magazine. Photographed by Mark Seliger, August 2009. The models are wearing Prada, Givenchy and such. (view complete editorial)

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