Dancing and Amusement Parks at the Turn of the 20th Century

As we have been reading Kathy Peiss’s Cheap Amusements in my Honors 201B class I decided to post some brief video of popular dances and amusement parks mentioned in the book.

Here is Edison’s 1903 film of a Tough Dance (Speiling)

Here is another short of the Bowery Waltz

Here are Vernon and Irene Castle performing the Castle Walk in 1915

For a view of Coney Island see “Rube and Mandy at Coney Island” (Edison, 1903)

Here is another early Edison film, Boarding School Girls at Coney Island, 1905

These early films are amazing sources, allowing us to visualize the dances and amusements Peiss describes in the book.

Just for fun, here is a clip from Downton Abbey showing the “Grizzly Bear” being danced in the servant’s hall.

Let me know what is on your mind...