Edward William Bok > The Americanization of Edward Bok > Page 385



Edward William Bok (1863–1930). The Americanization of Edward Bok. 1921.

Page 385

he decided that, with their cooperation, he might, by thus going to the fountainhead, effect an improvement through the introduction, by the Castles, of better and more decorous new dances. Bok could see no reason why the people should not dance, if they wanted to, so long as they kept within the bounds of decency.

He found the Castles willing and eager to cooperate, not only because of the publicity it would mean for them, but because they were themselves not in favor of the new mode. They had little sympathy for the elimination of the graceful dance by the introduction of what they called the “shuffle” or the “bunny-hug,” “turkeytrot,” and other ungraceful and unworthy dances. It was decided that the Castles should, through Bok’s magazine and their own public exhibitions, revive the gavotte, the polka, and finally the waltz. They would evolve these into new forms and Bok would present them pictorially. A series of three double-page presentations was decided upon, allowing for large photographs so that the steps could be easily seen and learned from the printed page.

The magazine containing the first “lesson” was no sooner published than protests began to come in by the hundreds. Bok had not stated his object, and the public misconstrued his effort and purpose into an acknowledgment that he had fallen a victim to the prevailing craze. He explained in letters, but to no purpose. Try as he might, Bok could not rid the pages of the savor of the cabaret. He published the three dances as agreed, but he realized he had made a mistake, and was as much disgusted as were his readers.


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