Monday, November 21

Hot to Turkey Trot

In honor of the upcoming Thanksgiving day celebration, I am celebrating what is the highlight of most Thanksgiving dinner: turkey.

Today's entree is a rollicking song featured in several of Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy and Deep Valley books:
Joseph M. Daly's 1912 Turkey Trot.
"I lost my privileges for six weeks last spring because I tried one innocent little turkey trot."

But that gave way to “Everybody's Doing It,” and Fred Muller made her try the Turkey Trot. Everyone praised her dancing.

She loved the new dances: the graceful Boston Dip, the demure Hesitation, the rollicking Turkey Trot, and the absurd stiff-legged Castle Walk.

"They've brought us out of the turkey-trot-bunny- hug vulgarity. The maxixe and the tango are quite lovely." "That's true," Tib said, looking at him with respect.

Mr. Bagshaw and Tib in Betsy's Wedding

The Turkey Trot was a dance done to fast ragtime music popular in the decade from 1900 to 1910 such as Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag. It lost favor to the Foxtrot in 1914.

The basic step consisted of four hopping steps sideways with the feet well apart, first on one leg, then the other with a characteristic rise on the ball of the foot, followed by a drop upon the heel. The dance was embellished with scissor-like flicks of the feet and fast trotting actions with abrupt stops.

Irene and Vernon Castle raised its popularity by dancing the Turkey Trot in the Broadway show The Sunshine Girl
It was denounced by the Vatican (it was thought to be "suggestive") and conservative members of society felt the dance was demoralizing and tried to get it banned at public functions.

One of the means to combat "offensive" dances was the 1913 song, Anti-Ragtime Girl:

She don’t do the Bunny Hug
nor dance the Grizzly Bear

She hasn't learned the Turkey Trot

She can't tell a Tango from a Can Can or a Jig

She's my little Anti-Ragtime Girl.
It was reported that one of the reasons President Woodrow Wilson's 1913 inaugural ball was cancelled was because of his "disapproval of such modern dances as the Turkey Trot, the Grizzly Bear and the Bunny Hug."

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