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A Life in RagtimeA Biography of James Reese Europe$
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Reid Badger

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195337969

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195337969.001.0001

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Watch Your Step

Watch Your Step

(p.112) 9 Watch Your Step
A Life in Ragtime

Reid Badger

Oxford University Press

Despite disappointment over the loss of the European engagement, James Reese Europe had an abundance of work with which to console himself during the summer. With most of the Tempo Club musicians engaged in commercial or society jobs, many of them outside the city, there was little chance for Europe to continue the development of the Negro Symphony Orchestra during the summer. The outbreak of war in Europe forced Vernon and Irene Castle to return home earlier than they had expected, and so they spent a couple of weeks touring in vaudeville while waiting for Watch Your Step to start. The extraordinary popularity of the fox-trot, which Variety said was being played so much in New York by the end of August that it was in real danger of being worn out, insured that the dance would have a featured place in Watch Your Step as the musical finally began rehearsals on October 3, 1914. Despite not working together in Watch Your Step, Europe and Castles continued to collaborate throughout the fall and winter of 1914. Europe's Society Orchestra continued to supply the music for the dancing instruction at Castle House.

Keywords:   James Reese Europe, Watch Your Step, New York, Castle House, Negro Symphony Orchestra, Tempo Club, Vernon Castle, Irene Castle

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