Listen now 15 mins
Episode 3 of 5
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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