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The Strictness of Ballroom

Episode 3 of 5

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 26 September 2012

Dancer, writer and broadcaster Deborah Bull looks at the emergence of dance as a competitive activity.

She charts the rise of the genteel, restrained English Style of ballroom dancing as a defence against the 1920s 'invasion' of the Charleston, the Black Bottom and other American imports, feared by polite society as wild and uncontrolled.

As she sweeps across the floor with a leading teacher of ballroom dance, Deborah discovers that, when the stiff upper lip combined with the irrepressible urge to dance, the craze for competitive dancing was born - a craze that has seen many incarnations, most recently with the spectacular success of Strictly Come Dancing.

Producer: Hannah Rosenfelder
A Just Radio production for BBC Radio 4.


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