Interesting Dance Facts

Published on 4th Aug, 2008

DanceIt’s the start of a new week so I thought I would post some interesting ‘Dance Facts’ that I came across on the weekend while doing some research. If you have any interesting dance facts to share please email us info@dancelife.com.au

Who invented pointe shoes?
Though “toe dancing” was popular in London as early as the 1820s, it is believed that the first ballet dancer to dance en pointe with modified shoes was Marie Taglioni in the ballet La Sylphide in 1832. The first pointe shoes were little more than soft slippers, heavily darned at the toes. Today, pointe shoes are made of multiple layers of burlap, paper and glue. The hardened glue gives pointe shoes their stiffness.

When and where did break dancing start?
Break dancing originated in the Bronx area of New York City in the early 1970s. It began in African-American street gangs. Dancers – known as b-boys (short for beat) – competed with each other, inventing new moves and trying to out-perform one another. Break dancing made a comeback in the late 1990s, becoming popular all over the world.

Dancing ’til you drop
During the Depression, dance marathons were popular as a means to forget about daily troubles and to compete for cash prizes. Marathoners danced for hours and days at a time, usually resting only 15 minutes for every hour of dancing. Americans Mike Ritof and Edith Boudreaux hold the world record. From August 29th, 1930, to April 1st, 1931, they danced for 5,154 hours and 48 minutes – that’s 214 days. They won $2,000 at the Merry Garden Ballroom Dance Marathon in Chicago, Illinois. Due to potential health risks, Depression-era dance marathons were eventually banned.

Is the Green Room really green?
Sometimes, but not always. The Green Room is a quiet, comfortable room backstage where performers can rest and relax before, after and between shows. It’s also the place where the performers receive their families and friends. No one knows exactly why it’s called a Green Room, but it has been part of the theatre tradition for centuries. Some people believe it is a reference to the days when theatre was performed outside in the open air “on the green”. Another alternative to saying “Good luck” before a show is to say “See you on the green”, which is a reference to getting through the show and to the Green Room without incident.

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