Ballroom Dance > Peabody Anybody??

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by BalboaSwing, Jul 9, 2004.

  1. BalboaSwing

    BalboaSwing New Member

    I am wondering if anyone on this forum is aware of a good Peabody Instructional Video?

    I bought a video from Dance Vision but it does not demonstrate the character of Peabody, it looks like Silver Foxtrot variations. Historical correctness if very important to me.

    I would be even more appreciative if someone knows where I can find some original (aka 1920-30's) footage of Peabody being danced.
    I want to learn to dance Peabody as it was danced originally, not a ballroomized version.

    Also any suggestions on the following.......
    Any articles describing Peabody?
    Anyone who dances a substantial amount on Peabody outside of the F. Astaire and A. Murray Syllabus?

    For discussion. I read on this forum that Peabody was a spin-off of Lindy Hop. As an avid Lindy Hopper and having done a fair amount of research on Lindy History (including talking to Frankie Manning), I haven't found a connection between the two except that Peabdy was danced at the Savoy Ballroom in Harlem at the same time as Lindy Hop was developing.

    Also did Peabody originate in Chicago or New York?

    Thank you in advance,
  2. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Maybe someone can help with original film footage.

    As far as I know, peabody has little, if anything, in common with Lindy hop, except for the time period, as you know. It's a ballroom dance that, from what I've heard, was derived from foxtrot. I'll have to double check some history pages, just to be sure, but I think that's true.

    I also have a video I got from dancevision (Chris Morris) which I found to be extremely disappointing. Another I've seen, by Kathy Blake, is a bit dated but seems to capture the bouncy character of peabody a bit better.

    I'm pretty sure a couple other DF members do Peabody. Maybe some others can help give you more input.

    And welcome to the forums. :D
  3. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Oh yeah, and I've always danced it to fairly fast-tempo music, similar to quickstep.
  4. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Here's a link at streetswing, which says pretty much what all the other links say. Peabody is related to foxtrot, not lindy, according to all I've found on the web. This link says it was danced to ragtime music, at FAST tempos. I've tried finding peabody music, whatever that is, on various ballroom CD's, generally with no luck. Maye that's why I've always had to dance it to quickstep music. *shrug*
  5. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    Incidentally, streetswing says that Peabody was invented around 1915. So it may predate Lindy hop by a bit. I haven't seen that exact date corroborated anywhere, so I can't be sure.
  6. BalboaSwing

    BalboaSwing New Member

    Quote "This link says it was danced to ragtime music, at FAST tempos. I've tried finding peabpdy music, whatever that is, on various ballroom CD's, generally with no luck. Maye that's why I've always had to dance it to quickstep music. *shrug*" Unquote.

    Quickstep music is too slow. Quickstep should be danced 50-52 MPM and Peabody should be danced at 60-62 MPM. That is a big difference. Dancing Peabody at 50 MPM is tedious. I have lots of songs in the proper tempo category but I am looking for the correct music to dance it to. A song or two that could be called characteristic Peabody, not just that it is fast swing and fits the tempo range. I have had the same frustration on finding Peabody music on compilation CD's.

    I have done a lot of research online and read all the websites I can find about it. I am looking for better information than is available on websites like "Street Swing". I am not confident in a lot of that information.

    The Chris Morris video is the same one I have. I definently want something with the characteristic "Bounce".

    Thanks again.........
  7. BalboaSwing

    BalboaSwing New Member

    From "Street Swing" Quote "The Peabody is kinda a corny little dance, that is lively and fun spirited to watch, It looks like the participants are having a good time doing it. The music is ragtime (50mpm+) and so is the dress. (Suits and Bowler derby's for the man and long full dresses for the lady.) The basic step is a Cross-Step and Lock step (1920) and the body position is that of "Right-Outside Position" (almost a promenade?).

    Basic Step- The count: 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8 (all quicks) " Unquote.

    Why I don't put much faith in information on the web......

    The Music tempo is not 50+, it doesn't even work at 50 MPM.

    "Right-Outside Postition" is nothing like Promenade. It is a better described as a Closed Position where the leads feet both step outside to the Right of the follows feet.

    The Basic Steps (8 Count Right Turn, 6 Count Right Turn, 6 Count Left Turn) do not contain a single "Quick" Step, One Step to One Beat. They are all "Slows", One Step done in Two Beats of music.

    And don't forget the little graphic at the top, how much faith can you put in a website with a mullet wearing guy dancing swing?
  8. BalboaSwing

    BalboaSwing New Member

    A couple more question.....

    Can anyone describe the Characteristics of Peabody? What makes it different than Quickstep? Are there any moves that would be "characteristic" of Peabody?

    Is anyone aware of a step list or descriptions of steps for Peabody?
  9. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    As far as tempi, yes, according to the USABDA rulebook, the regulation tempo for quickstep is 50 MPM, the regulation tempo for Peabody is 60-62 MPM. However, that is a guideline for competition. There are some quite breathtakingly quick quicksteps out there. And, even at 50MPM, I can't say that I'd find Peabody tedious. A little less challenging, perhaps. 8)

    Good luck with your research. Come on back, when you can, and post any other interesting tidbits you find. :)
  10. BalboaSwing

    BalboaSwing New Member

    Anybody have any additional information? Pygmalion was helpful but I was hoping for more information.
    Thank you,
  11. jon

    jon Member

    You may need to go to academic sources for this, I'd suggest Richard Powers in the Stanford Dance dept. as a first cut since he studies and teaches a lot of vintage ballroom dances.
  12. bjp22tango

    bjp22tango Active Member

    I would suggest contacting a local Round Dance group and get them to show you. Round dancers dance ballroom dance to a caller. They have prearranged choreography to certain songs. Groups are usually associated with Square dancers.

    I would also check the local senior center to see if anyone knows how to dance it. The only people I have seen do Peabody with any style are usually elderly people (70ish).

    I would describe it as playful. It has a lot of "fishtail" foot hooking actions which to me give it a flirtatious, casual look to it, even though it is danced in an outside partner position, so that the dancers are almost dancing side by side (with the lady dancing backward). I'm pretty sure the outside partner position is necessary because of all the locking actions of the feet, so the the partners don't trip over one another.

    Pick the brains of the older people before they are gone. Nothing like getting info from a direct source. :wink:
  13. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    I have in my posession "Guide to Dancing" by Helene Davis, (c) 1923 & 1934 by the Charles T. Powner Company. It's secondary title is:

    Complete Guide to Dancing
    Ball Room Ettiquette
    and Quadrille
    Call Book

    It does not contain any references to Peabody, but contains instruction on The One Step (an alternate name for Peabody).

    The instructions are as follows:

    p. 45

    The One Step

    This is one of the ragtime or jazz dances of today, and it owes its popularity chiefly to its simplicity. The One Step is done to quick 2-4 time. It is really a fairly fast walk forwards and backwards.

    The dancers face each other, the lady's right hand in the gentleman's left. The elbows are slightly bent and not held out stiffly. The right hand of the gentleman is a little above the lady's waistline. The lady's hand rests gently on the gentleman's right shoulder.

    The Step

    The step os somply a walking step of diorect advance and retreat. The man starts forward and the lady backward. It may be varied by two-stepping for several measures, alternating to the right and to the left. The walk has the appearance of strutting, although the shoulders shold be held level and the body firm.

    The Turn

    The turn is a walking step pivoting on one foot to change direction. The corners may aslo be turned in this way or by two-stepping.

    The Twirl

    An attractive variation to the plain One Step is found in the Twirl. Bear in mind when twirling that you must twirl or spin only on one

    p. 46


    foot, the right foot, whether you be lady or gentleman. The two dancers spin progressivelivy from right to left keeping their right feet rigid and close together. The left foot is used to propel the body around. The gentleman holds the lady closely and brings her around with a steady pull.

    ---End Chapter---

    I'd lend this book out, but it's extremely rare and I cam by it by accident, so you could pry it out of my cold dead fingers. 8)
  14. pygmalion

    pygmalion Well-Known Member

    That's okay, DancingMommy. It's okay if you keep the book. I appreciate your taking the time to type out your post. :D

    btw. Have you considered taking your book to a professional preservationist? My older sister had a rare copy of an older book. When her kids were little, they somehow got into the closed chest where my sister kept the book, opened it, looked at it, and shredded the pages. They weren't bad kids. The paper was just that old and brittle.
  15. DancingMommy

    DancingMommy Active Member

    I have a few like that, lol! Believe me it's HIGH on my list of priorities!
  16. BalboaSwing

    BalboaSwing New Member

    Thank you to everyone who has been nice enough to send me information and to post information here! please continue to the bottom of the page for more questions to help me out with.

    I have compiled quite a bit of information. I now have complete descriptions or I know how to do around 55-60 different steps in Peabody. I still have a small amount of step information in route, although I believe most of it will be redundant with what I already have.

    I am still missing any concrete information on the characteristics of Peabody. This aspect is holding me up more than anything right now.

    Here is a list of the steps I have knowledge of.....
    8 Count R Turn, 6 Count R Turn, 8 Count L Turn, 6 Count L Turn, 4 Count L Turn, 4 Count Turn Quick Turn
    Running Steps, Left Circle Run, Prom to Counter Prom Runs, Quick Count Run, Lock and Run
    Gallup, Gallup Variation
    FWD Locks and BKWD Locks, Twinkle to Lock, Twinkle to Double Locks, Continous FWD Locks
    R and L UA Turn (single and double turns)
    In Place Swivels, Progressive Swivels, Prog Swivels w/UA Turn, Cross Swivels, Double Time Swivels
    Twinkle FWD and BKWD
    Grapevine Offset, Grapevine Promenade, Grapevine Fallaway, Grapevine to Kick, Offset Grapevine w/Skip, Spot Grapevine w/UA Turn, Spot Grapevine and Turn, Prom Grapevine w/Hook Turn
    In and Out Turns
    Twist Turns
    Heel Toe Swivels
    Cog Wheel
    Off The Log, Closed Log
    Open R Turn to M&L UA Turn
    Side by Side
    Slide to Swivels
    Arm Lock w/UA Turn
    You Go-I Go
    Right and Left Pivots
    Cross Ball Change

    If you know a step or have a syllabus type description of any you don't see above please post them!

    I found three song titles quoted as being Peabody:
    Get me to church on time
    I enjoy being a girl

    I have a step description that includes two basic charleston steps. Does anyone know if Charleston was normally a part of Peabody? I know an extensive amount of Charleston covering quite a few years of "styles". I am guess the Charleston done in Peabody would be a 1920's, "swivel the feet, no big kick, flapper dress, ragtimesque" style. (how's that for technical?) I am making this assumption based on the dates Peabody was developed and when it hit its peak.

    One more question, I have seen a lot of Ballroom Competition Videos for sale on sites like Dancevision. Is anyone aware of a Peabody being danced for a showdance, demo, cabaret, etc on one of those tapes?

    Again, THANK YOU
  17. jon

    jon Member

    BalSwing - via a friend of a friend, I have contact info for someone who teaches Peabody in Manhattan, and might be able to answer some of your questions. If you want his email address, PM me.
  18. ForrestOutman

    ForrestOutman New Member

    I have a fairly extensive collection of primary sources on Peabody One Step and I certainly can help shed some light on Peabody. Peabody was a running dance and done smoothly not bouncy using a ball flat action initially, though later publications incorporated heel leads. The Peabody pre-dates Charleston so it's possible that in the mid 1920's some dancers added Charleston figures in...though I hardly would say common as no evidence supports such a claim. Peabody was a One-Step variant (Not Fox Trot or Lindy Hop) so it would be danced to any One-Step musical composition.
    Peabody did originate in New York and 1915 is when all the first sources date to. Gauging by your usage of modern terminology I would guess you are taking those figures from a Arthur Murray or Fred Astaire teachers manual, likely from the 70's.
    Well if anyone has any more questions please feel free to ask.

    P.S. by the late 20's One Step was fading from popularity and fast Fox Trot tunes were the rage so Peabody and various One-Steps were done to any fast Fox Trot....anything uncomfortably fast to socially dance Lindy Hop or Shag to would be a safe bet, as it was common for swing era dancers in NYC to Peabody on such occasions.
  19. Dr Dance

    Dr Dance Well-Known Member

    There was a dance known as Castle Walk that was made famous by the Vernon and Irene Castle in the 1920s. This was a marching dance that went something like a polka with "the basic" that included two extra "slows," S S Q Q S with swinging hips and bobbing shoulders. The PEABODY was born from this dance, not fox trot. This predated our modern interpretation of quickstep, a slower version of the peabody.

    Here is a demonstration of Castle Walk, the "mother" of peabody."Castle+Walk"+youtube&s_it=video-ans&sfVid=true&videoId=D44233913087BC081F6AD44233913087BC081F6A&s_chn=prt_bon&v_t=comsearch
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2017
  20. opendoor

    opendoor Well-Known Member

    Perhaps you can stitch it together, there is some footage (not PB, but Fox and Charlston) from the 20s in the Pathé databank.

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