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Going to the PalaisA Social And Cultural History of Dancing and Dance Halls in Britain, 1918–1960$
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James Nott

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199605194

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199605194.001.0001

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The Birth of the Palais

The Birth of the Palais

Dancing and Dance Halls, 1918–39

(p.12) (p.13) Chapter 1 The Birth of the Palais
Going to the Palais

James Nott

Oxford University Press

Chapter 1 looks at the birth of the palais in the period 1918–39. It asks, why was there a dance craze following the First World War? This period is particularly notable because of the emergence of the purpose-built dance hall, or ‘palais de danse’ (the first being the Hammersmith Palais), catering for a mass audience, and this development is examined in detail. Who danced, where, and how often is explored, and the emergence of a regular clientele of working-class, young, and female dancers is highlighted. The scale of the dance hall industry nationwide is also detailed, together with regional case studies, which highlight how go-ahead businessmen such as Mecca’s Carl Heimann helped create and extend a highly profitable and well-organized industry.

Keywords:   dance hall, palais de danse, Mecca, dance craze, Carl Heimann, Hammersmith Palais

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