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Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Midweek magazines

Hey all!

This week I'm entertaining you with LIFE magazine, and it's May 30th 1938.

Let's go:

♥♥ These are Walkathoners ♥♥

A Walkathon is another name for "Dance Marathon", a contest among couples to see which can shuffle around a dance floor longest without dropping. Cot night is a special occasion and, as the photograph shows, draws big crowds. People go to a Walkathon not to see the performers dance, which they don't, but to see them suffer the agonies of overwhelming exhaustion. Cot night is a treat because contestants' beds are brought into public view and the public can observe the performers not only "dancing" but also briefly resting.
There are some 40 dance marathons going on in America, most of them under aliases like Walkathon or Dance Derby or Speedathon. Many of them are in constant fear of being shut down by local authorities. A marathon lasts three or four months. When one ends, experienced contestants go on to the next. 
Veteran marathon dancers now form a distinct professional group. They make a small living, hoping always o to win the big first prize but content enough with smaller consolation prizes or tips that spectators  toss out on the floor to reward the stumbling, half-senseless shufflers who near the end of the dance somewhere find the spirit to pun on dreadful exhausted imitations of Lindy Hop or a Big Apple.

"The Grind" - is the speed up forced on dancers near the end of the contest when they are barely going on, like the performers above who have been shuffling on and off for some two month. 
Crowds look thickest during "The Grind".. Then dancers drop like flies. 
During most "grinds", dancers are chained or taped together, 
like the couple below who have reached the marathon's weary end.


 Chained to his partner, the man above tries to pull her up while the crowd looks on in cold curiosity, 
the judge waits the final fall 
and the nurse hovers over like a merciful vulture.

Out of the contest, the girl above has collapsed completely. 
Her partner has staggered off as a soloist. 
Below, another victim of sheer weariness is carried off the dance floor

The dance marathon is a grim affair, but the contestants and promoters manage to wring some humor out of it. The gags below help liven the dreary contests for public or press. Most of the pictures on these pages are the work of K .E. Taylor, a Philadelphia news photographer who has been photographing marathons for two years.

This strong-legged girl is not acting, she is really tired. 

OK, that was it for today..
So, shall we dance?

♥♥ Pinky Honey

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