Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance


Designed for Dancing: How Midcentury Records Taught America to Dance celebrates the joy of dancing and the vibrant worlds of music, fashion, and bodies in motion with an in-depth look at almost 300 midcentury dance records. The book is image-driven and lively, presenting full color record covers interspersed with engaging commentary and detailed analysis.

Designed for Dancing showcases dances from around the world: folk and ethnic dances from Italy, Ireland, Greece, Lebanon, and Scotland, as well as Native American dances, Limbo, Belly dance, and the Hula; rock and roll dances, such as global phenomenon the Twist; and Latin dances, which remain popular worldwide.

Chapters focus on popular dances from Tango to Twist, but lesser known dances like the Bostella and the Letkiss also make an appearance. Dance luminaires like Fred Astaire, Chubby Checker, Dick Clark, and Arthur Murray are here, but also less familiar figures like Mambo dancers Killer Joe and Margo Rodriguez, Calypso performer Enid Mosier, and Limbo choreographer Julia Edwards. Back stories of dancers and musicians along with the artists, designers, and photographers who created the eye-catching record covers provide a fun, and more inclusive, account of how midcentury records shaped the nation.

From the Waltz to the Watusi, we explore the dances, and the visions of dances, that defined the US at midcentury.

The book is widely available.

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