The Art of Stage Dancing.
THE ART OF
The Story of a Beautiful and Profitable Profession
The Ned Wayburn Studios of Stage Dancing, Inc. PUBLISHERS
Copyright, 1925, by
NED WAYBURN STUDIOS OF STAGE DANCING, INC.
Made in U.S.A.
Someway I don't care for the word "Preface." As I think the matter over, I'm not sure that I ever read a preface to any book; and this fact suggests to me that possibly others would pass by this page in my book if I dubbed it by that much-worn and very trite word. So I've hailed you all with a much more cheery and stimulating title for my opening page; and perhaps, in consequence, some may read it.
My Greetings are specially extended to certain chosen groups of people: First, to all students of the past, the present, and those hoped for in the future; second, to the hundreds of teachers of the art of dancing who esteem my original methods of instruction sufficiently to care about what I may print on the subject; and third, to a public that has sat "in front" at any or many of my productions, and enjoyed them, and is, in consequence, interested to know something about the hard work, the thought and the skill, necessary to bring about such pleasing results.
Lest so narrow a limit to my Greetings may be misunderstood, on second thought I will extend my Greetings to that world of people who love life and beauty and happiness; who appreciate honest effort to make living more enjoyable and brighter; who love laughter and smiles and the good things that go with them.
And if all that kind of people will read and appreciate my book, I shall not miss the others.
But still, to them, as well as to you, I extend
As a writer of books, I confess myself to be a good stage craftsman.
I have never before attempted authorship, and this volume is simply a spontaneous outpouring of my personal love and knowledge of a great art that has filled my years with joy and happiness, and some renown in the theatrical world.
To have been one modest part of an instrument that has piped to pleasure many millions of my fellows, is surely justification for personal satisfaction. How this playing has been done, how it is being done today in greater degree than ever before, is what I have in mind to tell a curious public.
And so I became an author for this once, and what you may discover that I lack in literary ability, let me trust you will find compensated for in the plainness and simplicity of the facts, incidents and reminiscences that I relate. If not the manner, at least the matter is worthy of your approval.
My story is presented in the first person, and this is because I find it easiest to write from a personal viewpoint—not, I hope, as the result of any special desire to see the letter I in print. A more experienced author would be able to write this book with less suggestion of ego in its pages, I have little doubt, and so I have called this explanatory word An Apology that you may understand why things are as they are, and not demand of the tyro the same quality of literary excellence that you would be justified in expecting of the better qualified writer.
To paraphrase one of my earliest school-boy speeches,—"If this be an apology, make the most of it."
A Bit of Ancient History 19
Modern Stage Dancing 23
Ned Wayburn—An Inspiration 27
The Ned Wayburn Method of Training 42
Ned Wayburn Stage Dances 57
Ned Wayburn's Foundation Technique 62
Mr. Wayburn Addresses the Beginners' Class in Foundation Technique 75
Ned Wayburn's Musical Comedy Dancing 83
Mr. Wayburn Addresses a Class in Musical Comedy Dancing 90
Ned Wayburn's Tap and Step Dancing (Clogging) 97
Mr. Wayburn Addresses a Class in Tap and Step Dancing 103
Ned Wayburn's Acrobatic Dancing 108
Mr. Wayburn Addresses a Class in Acrobatic Dancing 115
Ned Wayburn's Modern Americanized Ballet Technique 121
Terms Used in Ned Wayburn's Modern Americanized Ballet Technique 130
Mr. Wayburn Addresses the Beginners' Class in Ballet Technique 132
Ned Wayburn's Toe Dancing 137
Ned Wayburn's Specialty Dancing 141
Ned Wayburn's Exhibition Dancing 144
Ned Wayburn's Professional Stage Makeup 146
Stage Costumes 165
Dancing Tempos 169
Diet and Dancing 178
Dancing and Good Health 195
"Who's Who" in the Show 203
Professional Coaching and Producing for Amateur Entertainments 216
Private Instruction 239
Dancing Children 254
Dancing Hands 259
Dancing Feet 262
Dancing Shoes 265
The Quest of Beauty 270
Who's Afraid! (Stage Fright) 273
The Dance and the Drama 278
Personality in the Dance 280
Dancing and Ease of Manner 284
Dancing and Civilization 286
Dancing and Cheerfulness 290
Dancing and Country Life 293
Dancing as a Social Accomplishment 297
Universal Appreciation of the Dance 299
The Melting Pot of the Dance 301
Your Opportunities 303
Making a Name 317
Forms of Stage Contracts 327
LIST OF HALFTONE PLATES
All portraits are of artists whose careers have been directed by Ned Wayburn.
All stage scenes are of productions staged by Ned Wayburn.
All interior views are of classrooms and other departments of the Ned Wayburn Studios of Stage Dancing, Inc., 1841 Broadway (at Columbus Circle), entrance on 60th Street, New York City.
Photographs used by courtesy of Art Studios and Art Photographers whose names are appended.
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Ned Wayburn (White Studio, N.Y.).
Gilda Gray and Ned Wayburn Pupils in "It's Getting Darker on Broadway," Follies of 1922.
One View of Grand Ball Room in Ned Wayburn Studios.
Lace Ballet, Follies of 1922.
The Fairbanks Twins, in the "Follies," and Stars of "Two Little Girls in Blue" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Oscar Shaw, Featured with "Good Morning, Dearie," "The Music Box Revue," "Two Little Girls in Blue," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Dolly Sisters, Internationally Famous Musical Comedy Stars (Alfred Cheney Johnston, N.Y.).
One of over Twenty Daily Dancing Classes at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Vivienne Segal, Prima Donna of the "Follies" and many other Musical Comedies, Featured in Light Opera (White Studio, N.Y.).
Paulette Duval and Ned Wayburn Pupils, Follies of 1923.
Class in Dancing Foundation Technique at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Louise Groody, Featured with "Good Morning, Dearie," "No, No, Nanette," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Partial View of Demi-Tasse Theatre, Ned Wayburn Studios.
Conditioning Class in the Ned Wayburn Studios.
The Astaires, Fred and Adele, Featured in "Lady, Be Good!" in America, and in "Stop Flirting," London (White Studio, N.Y.).
Cecil Lean, Featured in "No, No, Nanette," "The Time, the Place and the Girl," "The Blue Paradise," etc. (Apeda, N.Y.).
Scene from "Ned Wayburn's Symphonic Jazz Revue."
Ann Pennington, Star Dancer with the "Follies" (Alfred Cheney Johnston, N.Y.).
Private Lockers in Dressing Rooms.
The Three Reillys, Alice, Gracie and Johnny, Remarkable Tap Dancers (White Studio, N.Y.).
Acrobatic Dancing Practice at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Evelyn Law, Principal Dancer in the "Follies," and "Louie the Fourteenth" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Lina Basquette, Premiere Dancer in the "Follies," and other Musical Productions (White Studio, N.Y.).
Marion Chambers, Premiere Dancer in "Poppy," and in Ned Wayburn Productions (White Studio, N.Y.).
"The Birth of Venus." A Ned Wayburn Pantomime Presented in Leading Motion Picture and Vaudeville Theatres.
Virginia Bacon, Vaudeville Dancing Star, and with Ned Wayburn Productions (Young and Carl, Cincinnati).
Gilda Gray, Dancing Star, Who Made Her Biggest Success with the "Follies." (Alfred Cheney Johnston, N.Y.).
Maurice, Internationally Known Exhibition Dancer (Ira L. Hill, N.Y.).
The Ned Wayburn Professional Stage Makeup Box and Outfit.
Mary Eaton, Premiere Dancer with the "Follies," and co-starred in "Kid Boots" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Class in Stage Makeup at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
One Hundred Thousand Dollars' Worth of Dancing Costumes are Immediately Available.
Corner of the Wardrobe Department.
Mildred Leisy, recently with Geraldine Farrar's Operatic Fantasie, "Carmen"; wearing type of costume favored for Ballet practice.
Polly Archer, late with the "Follies," wearing type of costume (bathing suit) preferred for Limbering and Stretching and Acrobatic Dancing.
Olive Brady, with "Ned Wayburn's Honeymoon Cruise," dressed in special practice romper, designed by Ned Wayburn, recommended for use in all dancing classes except the Ballet.
Scene from "Ned Wayburn's Honeymoon Cruise."
Frances White, Featured with the "Follies," "Midnight Frolics," Vaudeville, etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Group of Ned Wayburn Show Girls, Follies of 1922.
Ann Constance, with "Greenwich Village Follies," and Famous Players Pictures (Showing Her Physical Condition Before and After She Entered the Ned Wayburn Studios) (Edward Thayer Monroe, N.Y.)
Helen Fables, Vaudeville Dancing Star, and with Ned Wayburn Productions (White Studio, N.Y.).
W.C. Fields, Featured with the "Follies," "The Ham Tree," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Ray Dooley, Featured with the "Follies," "Hitchy Koo," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Moonlight Ballet, Follies of 1923.
Will Rogers, Celebrated American Cowboy Humorist and "Roper," Featured in the "Follies" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Dorothy Dickson, Starred in London Productions of "Sally" and "The Cabaret Girl," shown with Her Dancing Partner, Carl Hyson (White Studio, N.Y.).
Corner in One of the Ladies' Dressing Rooms, Showing Shower Baths.
Private Dancing Lesson at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Marion Davies, in the "Follies," and Famous Movie Star (Alfred Cheney Johnston, N.Y.).
Charlotte Greenwood, Star of "So Long Letty," Featured with the "Music Box Revue," "Ritz Revue," Winter Garden Productions, etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Children's Saturday Hour at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Ned Wayburn and Two Tiny Pupils, Herbert Colton, 6, and Patty Coakley, 5.
Gertrude Lawrence, English Star, Featured in Andre Charlot's Revue (Hugh Cecil, London).
Types of Dancing Shoes.
Janet Stone and Nick Long, Jr., Formerly with the Musical Comedy, "Lady Butterfly," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Cleo Mayfield, Featured in "No, No, Nanette," "The Blue Paradise," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Al Jolson, Famous New York Winter Garden Star, Who Popularized "Mammy" Songs (White Studio, N.Y.).
Mr. Wayburn's Private Office.
"Little Old New York," Follies of 1923.
Rita Owen, with the "Follies" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Ada May (Weeks), Star of "Lollipop" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Grand Ball Room in Ned Wayburn Studios.
Marilyn Miller, Musical Comedy Star, in the "Follies," "Sally" and "Sunny" (Alfred Cheney Johnston, N.Y.).
Scene from "Ned Wayburn's Demi-Tasse Revue."
Rita Howard, Vaudeville Dancing Star, and with Ned Wayburn Productions (White Studio, N.Y.).
Corridor on Third Floor of Ned Wayburn Studios.
"By the South Sea Moon," Follies of 1922, with Gilda Gray.
Belle Baker, Vaudeville Star (Lowell, Chicago).
Business Office of the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Pearl Regay, Dancing Star in "Rose-Marie" (White Studio, N.Y.).
Eddie Cantor, Star of "Kid Boots," "Follies," etc. (White Studio, N.Y.).
Fifteen Thousand Square Feet of Floor Space, Two Floors, Comprised in Ned Wayburn's Studios of Stage Dancing, at Columbus Circle and Broadway, New York.
The ART of STAGE DANCING
THE ART OF STAGE DANCING
A BIT OF ANCIENT HISTORY
Every age has had its ways of dancing; every people has expressed itself in some form of rhythmic motion.
The dance originally was the natural expression of the simple emotions of a primitive people. Triumph, defeat, war, love, hate, desire, propitiation of the gods of nature, all were danced by the hero or the tribe to the rhythm of beaten drums.
Over six thousand years ago Egypt made use of the dance in its religious ritual. At a very early period the Hebrews gave dancing a high place in their ceremony of worship. Moses bade the children of Israel dance after the crossing of the Red Sea. David danced before the Ark of the Covenant. The Bible is replete with instances showing the place of the dance in the lives of the people of that time.
Greece in its palmy days was the greatest dancing nation the world has ever known. Here it was protected by priesthood and state, practiced by rich and poor, high and lowly born. One of the nine muses was devoted to the fostering of this particular art. Great ballets memorialized great events; simple rustic dances celebrated the coming of the flowers and the gathering of the crops. Priestesses performed the sacred numbers; eccentric comedy teams enlivened the streets of Athens. Philosophers taught it to pupils for its salutary effect on body and mind; it was employed to give soldiers poise, agility and health.
The dance was undoubtedly among the causes of Greek vigor of mind and body. Physicians prescribed its rhythmic exercise for many ailments. Plato specifies dancing among the necessities for the ideal republic, and Socrates urged it upon his pupils. The beauty of harmonized movements of healthy bodies, engendered by dancing, had its effect on the art of Greece.
Since the days of classic Greece, scenery, music and costume have created effects then undreamed of, but notwithstanding the lack of incidental factors, the greatness and frequency of municipal ballets, the variety of motives that dancing was made to express, combine to give Greece a rank never surpassed as a dancing nation.
The Greek stage of this age was rich in scope, and for its effects drew upon poetry, music, dancing, grouping and posing.
Then came the Dark Ages of history, and in a degraded world dancing was saved and taken under the protection of the Christian church, where it remained for the greater part of a thousand years. The vehicle that carried the ballet through this period was known as the "spectacle." These sacred spectacles, in grouping, evolution, decoration and music, possessed qualities that entitle them to a respectable place in the annals of opera ballet. The steps were primitive, but they sufficed for the times.
However, the organization of the first real opera ballet conforming to standards of modern excellence did not come till the latter part of the fifteenth century, when Cardinal Riario, a nephew of Pope Sixtus IV, composed and staged a number of important ballet productions.
But the greatest development of the modern type of ballet received its impetus under the reign of Louis XIV of France, who founded the national ballet academy at Paris in 1661, and often played prominent parts himself. Under this influence great performers began to appear, artists whose work, by grace of beauty alone, attested that perfection in ballet technique was approaching.
The growth of the ballet since the time of Louis XIV has been the contribution of individual artists, who by giving expression to their own original ideas have thus advanced the art to the pinnacle attained by the modern Russian ballet of today.
The above outline of the history of the dance is made brief intentionally, with no attempt to touch upon the various forms of dancing as practiced by the many nations and tribes. Numerous books have been written covering all aspects of this subject, and giving in detail the steps and rhythms of the people of every age, and of every continent and the isles of the sea; and as matters of interest, education and research they are competent and complete, and especially edifying to the student of Terpsichore.
But the subject that interests us is not concerned with ancient lore nor with historical data, however delightful they may be. I am writing for the American of today about present-day matters in the American theatrical world, and to that end choose to ignore all other phases of the subject.
In our day the development of the dance has reached its greatest heights, in both the social circle and the stage picture.
The advance made in stage dancing within the last generation has been very pronounced, yet so gradual has been this growth and improvement, that only the elders of the present time can visualize its progress, and that only by a backward look to the period of paucity and monotony that ruled in their junior years, and contrast the dearth of then with the abundance of now.
For really, whether in our multitude of revues or in our many musical shows, the dance, the pose, the rhythm and the melody that enhance our delight are all parts of the modern art of stage dancing. And it is of this art that the writer seeks to tell the story in the present volume.
Both the theatre and the dance have had their abundant historians. The dance is ages older than the theatre. The time of the coming of the dance to the theatre and their fitting union ever after has been recorded. They have advanced together hand in hand through the years since their first meeting and are closer companions at this hour than ever before.
Stage dancing is no longer the haphazard stepping of feet to music that it was in the beginning. From its earlier crude efforts it has developed into a modern art, a profession of the first class, calling for brain and ability at their very best, its devotees giving years of labor to perfecting themselves in their chosen art.
MODERN STAGE DANCING
Modern stage dancing differs from social or ballroom dancing in that it is the kind of dancing that one can commercialize.
Most of the artistic and financial successes of the stage today are built upon music and dancing. We find these two essential elements in opera, revue, musical comedy, pantomime and vaudeville, while the place of the dance in moving pictures may well be recognized. Should the old-time minstrel show come back, as it is certain to do, there will be added another name to the list of active entertainments that call for a union of music and dancing to insure their prosperity.
The Follies, the Frolics, the Scandals, the Music Box, the Vanities, the Passing Shows—by whatever name the modern revue is spread before an eager public, the basis of its appeal is always the same. And when the Junior Leagues—the various charity organizations and the social and college clubs of our cities stage a performance that shall appeal to the interest of their public, and consequently gather in the shekels to their coffers, these amateur organizations turn naturally to music and dance and spectacle as the mediums with the widest appeal; an appeal to both the performer and the spectator.
Incidentally, let me say that the appeal of music and the dance to the performer, whether on the professional or the amateur stage, is not given the consideration to which it is entitled. Perhaps nobody in the audience cares whether or not the dancer is enjoying the dance. But let me tell you, the dancer is having just as good a time up there on the stage as you are down in front; and probably you never gave the matter a thought!
The dancers' enjoyment of the art is an essential factor in the causes that lead to the popularity of our modern type of stage entertainment. To have acquired proficiency in their chosen profession the dancers have labored strenuously and long, and now the reward of years of effort is theirs. They love their art as well as its emoluments. By industry and perhaps frugality they have acquired an independent career for life. They have made much of their opportunities. They have a right to be happy. And they are.
Probably no man ever lived who knows personally so many dancing folks as I do, and among all my stage acquaintances and friends I can count on a very few fingers the number that I would not class as supremely happy in their profession, and those few who might be considered as unhappy are made so by circumstances entirely apart from the stage, or, in a few instances, because of their own folly and indiscretions. The stage world is a happy world in the main. Its rewards are abundant in friendships as well as in cash, and the happiness radiated to you from behind the footlights is the direct result of the happiness that permeates the very being of the smiling favorite of the gods whose efforts to please you have met with your approbation. So the pleasure of dancer and spectator are in a degree mutual, which in great measure explains the fascination that the dancing show has for the public.
In nearly every amateur stage performance in my long experience there have been present some few who exhibited natural ability as dancers, and possessed foundation requirements for professional stage work. In cases where these favored ones have placed themselves under my instruction their improvement has been rapid and sure.
There is no such thing as an untrained successful dancer; there never has been; there never will be. Given that one has the ability requisite to a knowledge of the dance, the rest comes from active training, and nothing else. And by "ability" I do not mean experience, but rather that natural talent to step to music and observe tempo and rhythm that every dancer must possess. It is a talent inborn in the dancer, and needs only proper development under competent instruction to bring out all the possibilities that are in one. Beyond that, and after the days of instruction are over, the only limit is the personality, the mental ability and the originality of the dancer himself, and these we encourage in every possible manner, for that way lies the electric sign in front of a Broadway Theatre, and all that goes with it in glory and gold.
It is to the amateur dancer of today that the professional stage looks for its recruits. There never before has been so great a demand for stage dancers as exists now, and the supply for both solo and ensemble work barely suffices. Talent naturally is encouraged by this condition of the market for its wares, and all who take advantage of this popularity and qualify for the better grade positions will find little difficulty in securing what they are entitled to.
I am anxious to get over with one part of this book that seems necessary to its complete understanding by a reading public, and that is the very personal subject of myself, its author. I am going to permit entrance into these pages of a brief biography of Ned Wayburn for two distinct reasons: First, to establish by what route I came to be an authority on stage-craft and stage dancing; and second, by a recital of my personal struggle and effort and final success, to encourage all young men and young women of ambition to themselves enter upon the stage of our great calling, with every hope of future success.
To that end, I am permitting a friend to come on the stage with his story of my stage career and experience.
As I look back upon my own history, it seems like a romance. And it is; a romance in real life; every word of it true, and the entire scenario as wonderful as anything in the movies.
NED WAYBURN—AN INSPIRATION
By CARLETON B. CASE
Every line of endeavor has its outstanding leaders. The men and women who do great things in a grand way ever command our admiration. We like to hear about their public careers and the intimate side of their exceptional lives is of decided interest to us. This I think is especially true where the noted ones are among our public entertainers, the player-folk, who bring so much joy and happiness into the world out of nothing—creators of innocent pleasure.
Long years before this was penned, and while yet my locks were innocent of the whiteness that now typifies my years, I was closely associated with the family of Wayburn. I was a man in Chicago when Ned Wayburn was a boy in the same city, starting on what was destined to become a truly remarkable career.
I know Ned Wayburn well. He is a king and a thoroughbred, as man or as manager, and to know him is to esteem him.
His fame is peculiar in that it is based so largely on the success of other people—the actors and dancers whom he has discovered or directed and so helped to become stars of the first magnitude. To name them by hundreds is easy; to number all who are approaching stardom or who, now well placed on the professional stage, have materially profited by his aid and instruction, will go into the thousands. Surely such a record of achievement is ample cause for pride.
Ned Wayburn possesses an almost uncanny faculty of discerning latent talent in the line of his profession. You may not know one dance step from another, yet his discerning eye will detect a possibility for you in some branch of the dancing art that results will later prove as correct as they are surprising to yourself.
I have heard him tell of Evelyn Law, that when she first came to the studio she exhibited a tap and step dance as her specialty.
"This type of dancing was totally unsuited to her," said Ned, "and I told her so. And I also told her what her 'line' was. She took my advice, and today she leads the world in that type of dancing, and her salary has four figures in it every week."
The man who can do that is a genius, and Ned Wayburn has done it many, many times.
There is one outstanding fact in his entire career as producer of shows and director of the education of his pupils in his dancing studios: He insists that everything and everybody about him shall be "the best." His studios are fitted up "the best," regardless of cost. Sixty thousand dollars he paid for the fittings and furnishings of the two floors contained in his perfect establishment for teaching dancing at Columbus Circle, Broadway and Sixtieth Street, New York. His instructing staff must be "the best." His pupils must be "the best." I mean by that, not that the pupils are so qualified when they enter, but that when they are ready to graduate from his institution into the professional life of the stage, then they must be "the best"; nothing else will do.
So, too, in his own stage productions, and he has several, and more are in prospect. They are nowhere slighted. The best cast, music, dancing, costumes, scenery—everything—always. Ned never was a piker. He wasn't born that way. Lavish some consider him, but he finds his luxuriant presentations are appreciated by the line in front of the box office. He couldn't put on a "cheap" show if he wanted to. One goes to a Ned Wayburn show with the assurance of getting his money's worth in beauty and pleasurable entertainment. It pays; and the financial test is after all the one criterion by which to form a final judgment in things theatrical.
Now I am going to give some details of the inspiring career that began with an ambitious boy possessed of an artistic temperament, a love of music and of the beautiful, and who was at the same time a "hustler" and a born executive—a career developed by experience, still in progress and not yet at its culmination. As you read, it will seem almost incredible that one man, still comparatively young, could in so brief a period have accomplished so much that calls for great mental stress and extraordinary physical activity.
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Ned Wayburn was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his parents were socially prominent. Later the Wayburn family moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and thence to Chicago. During his school days he first attracted attention as an amateur athlete, winning recognition as a fast runner, trick skater, tennis player, center rush on various football teams, and finally as a semi-professional baseball pitcher and home-run hitter. While employed in his father's manufacturing plant in Chicago, he took part in many amateur theatricals, and became noted as a dramatic coach for charity entertainments and clubs, leading cotillions and taking part in many society and club entertainments.
It was at that time that his success in directing and writing dialogue for amateur theatricals attracted the attention of Hart Conway, of the Chicago School of Acting, who promptly engaged him as assistant. At the same time, he had the privilege of seeing and studying the greatest stars and the best attractions at the Chicago Grand Opera House, where he began at the very bottom of the ladder as an usher in the gallery, balcony and main floor. Finally he became chief usher—then sold tickets for the gallery—took tickets at the main door. The late Aaron Hoffman, famous playwright, was opera glass boy at that time with him, and the well-known star, Taylor Holmes, was one of his ushers! Eventually he became Assistant Superintendent of that theatre.
To gain additional experience, Ned worked as a "super" with many different attractions, including the companies of Olga Nethersole, Otis Skinner, Walker Whiteside, Julia Stuart, etc., finally playing small parts in the legitimate and Shakespearian drama.
Having displayed a natural aptitude as a director while holding "prompt books" at rehearsals, he became a dramatic director and actor of eccentric comedy and character parts. Then his natural instinct for dancing asserted itself, and he became a specialty dancer, practicing from three to eight hours a day to perfect his dancing, incidentally developing his talent as a musician.
The late Col. John Hopkins saw Ned Wayburn at a society benefit performance in Chicago, and induced him to play one week's engagement. Thus Ned Wayburn made his first professional appearance at Hopkins' Theatre, State Street, Chicago, being billed as "Chicago's Leading Amateur"—a singing and dancing "black-faced" comedian, doing a "ragtime piano" specialty, and dancing act. This led to other engagements. The "piano specialty," which he originated, started the "ragtime" craze. He played in and around Chicago and the middle west. He came East to New York, and was booked by the late Phil Nash, on the Keith Circuit, billed as "The Man Who Invented Ragtime." In his piano specialty he created the idea of playing the classics in "Ragtime," being the first person on the stage to play "Mendelssohn's Wedding March," "Oh Promise Me," "Star-Spangled Banner," etc., in syncopated rhythm or "Ragtime." He was also the first on the stage to do imitations of the harp, bagpipe, mandolin, banjo, etc., on the piano. His act was much imitated all over the world.
Upon reaching New York he met with misfortune. There was no piano for him at his opening performance and his original act had been stolen and performed in New York ahead of his appearance. This culminated in a period without work. Finally he found himself walking Broadway from one Thursday morning until late Saturday night, with neither food nor money!
Having looked forward so much to New York and what he expected it to bring him, he was at first discouraged and inclined to give up and go back home with each succeeding rebuff, but he made up his mind to stick it out, no matter what he had to do until he got on in a first class company. After months of patient canvassing of all managers' and agents' offices where he was denied recognition, he was finally given an opportunity, through an acquaintance who heard him play in a 26th St. theatrical boarding house, to demonstrate his ability in a tryout for the most popular star on Broadway at the time, May Irwin. She immediately recognized his ability and gave him an engagement at $25.00 per week, to introduce ragtime to Broadway. (He was receiving $125.00 per week when he first came to New York.) He wrote for Miss Irwin the first ragtime song, "Syncopated Sandy." He was so hard up at the time that he sold a one-half interest in this song to a man named Stanley Whiting for $25.00, so this man could have his name on the song as co-author. For an entire season she sang it and he played it in the performances of "The Swell Miss Fitzwell" at the old Bijou Theatre, New York City (Broadway between 30th and 31st Sts.). "Syncopated Sandy" sold over 1,000,000 copies. It was used to teach people to play ragtime. All Mr. Wayburn ever received out of its publication was a $15.00 advance royalty, which he was glad to get. He also helped write the third act of "The Swell Miss Fitzwell," and re-wrote the second act, including some of the musical numbers, for which he received no royalty. Incidentally, he was promoted to the position of stage director by Miss Irwin, and wrote some of her most successful songs, receiving a salary of $30.00 per week. He taught society to play ragtime and to cakewalk. However, he had confidence in his ability and worked hard to gain experience. He canvassed the music stores while en route with the company and sold sheet music which helped defray his expenses, and he saved his spare pennies. Finally, he signed up with Mathews and Bulger, a very popular team of stars.
From that moment the star of success glowed brightly for Ned Wayburn. For two years following he toured the United States and Canada with Dunne and Ryley's musical comedy success, "By the Sad Sea Waves," which he helped write and stage, introducing "ragtime," now known as "Jazz," to America in nearly every city of over 5,000 population. Gertrude Hoffmann was one of his dancing girls in the chorus of this show.
Being a born musician he turned his talents, in his spare time, to writing songs, many of which became quite popular, and from which he derived considerable revenue. "He Ain't No Relation of Mine," "Spend Your Money While You Live 'Cause You're Gonna Be a Long Time Dead," "Ragtime Jimmie's Jamboree," etc., etc.
Mr. Wayburn then staged George M. Cohan's first musical play, "The Governor's Son," and George Ade's first musical play, "The Night of the 4th," the latter at Hammerstein's Victoria Theatre, New York, with Joseph Coyne and Harry Bulger as the featured comedians. Thus began an unending succession of triumphs as a theatrical producer and stage director.
Mr. Wayburn was engaged by Oscar Hammerstein as producing stage director for Hammerstein's Victoria Theatre Paradise Roof Gardens, at 42nd Street and 7th Avenue, where the Rialto Theatre now stands, where he had charge three summers and staged the very first "girl" acts, including Ned Wayburn's "Jockey Club" with the Countess Von Hatzfeldt, which toured to the Pacific Coast and back to New York, booked by Martin Beck.
He was then engaged by Sire Bros. as producing stage director for their New York Theatre and Roof Gardens where he, a mere boy, staged and directed the greatest company of stars ever assembled under one roof, including Jessie Bartlett Davis, Mabelle Gilman, Virginia Earle, Marie Dressler, Nina Farrington, Thomas Q. Seabrooke, Dan McAvoy, Junie McCree, Louis Harrison, Marion Winchester, Emma Carus, etc., etc. "The Hall of Fame" was one of many productions staged for them.
He then became producing stage director for Klaw and Erlanger. During the next four years produced and helped to create:
"The Billionaire" with Jerome Sykes, "Bluebeard" with Eddie Foy, "The Rogers Brothers in London," "The Rogers Brothers in Paris," "The Rogers Brothers in Ireland," "The Rogers Brothers in Panama," "The Ham Tree" with McIntyre and Heath, "Mother Goose" with Joseph Cawthorne, "Humpty-Dumpty," "The White Cat," "The Pearl and the Pumpkin," "Little of Everything" with Fay Templeton and Pete Dailey, and many other productions for the New Amsterdam Theatre and Roof, also for the New York Theatre Roof, acting as general stage director of both. He leased and managed the New York Theatre Roof Gardens, where he conceived and produced some very successful headline vaudeville acts, among them, "Ned Wayburn's Minstrel Misses," and "Ned Wayburn's Rain-dears," which afterward played the Keith circuit and other vaudeville theatres to previously unequaled success.
Left Klaw and Erlanger to engage in the vaudeville producing field for himself through the encouragement of B.F. Keith, E.F. Albee, Percy G. Williams, William Hammerstein, F.F. Proctor and Martin Beck. Owned and produced the following headline acts: "The Futurity Winner," "The Star Bout," "The Rain-dears," with Neva Aymar; "The Dancing Daisies," with Dorothy Jardon; "The Phantastic Phantoms," with Larry and Rosie Ceballos; "The Side Show," with Harry Pilcer, and about 100 other big acts. Produced his own musical comedy attraction, "A One Horse Town."
For Mortimer H. Singer at the La Salle Theatre, Chicago, produced the following Musical Comedies: "The Time, the Place and the Girl," starring Cecil Lean—and which ran 464 consecutive performances to "standing room only"; "The Girl Question," "The Golden Girl," "The Goddess of Liberty," "Honeymoon Trail," "The Girl at the Helm," "The Heart Breakers," etc.
Founded "Ned Wayburn's Training School for the Stage," which first occupied the American Savings Bank Building, 115 West 42nd Street, between Broadway and 6th Avenue, New York City, and then expanded to the entire five-story building at 143 West 44th Street, next to the Hudson Theatre and opposite the Lambs Club. John Emerson, President of the Actor's Equity Association, and Zelda Sears, author of "The Lollypop," and many other successes, were then members of his faculty.
For the Shuberts and Lew Fields staged "The Mimic World," at the Casino Theatre, New York. For Lew Fields (of Weber and Fields), at the Broadway Theatre and Herald Square Theatre staged: "The Midnight Sons," "The Jolly Bachelors," "The Hen Pecks," "The Summer Widowers," "The Never Homes," "The Wife Hunters," "Tillie's Nightmare," starring Marie Dressler; Lew Fields in "Old Dutch," Victor Herbert's "The Rose of Algeria," etc.
For the Messrs. Shubert at the Casino Theatre, N.Y., the following musical comedies: "The Girl and the Wizard," starring Sam Bernard; "Havana," with James T. Powers (made the American version of this libretto); "The Prince of Bohemia," with Andrew Mack, and "Mlle. Mischief," starring Lulu Glaser.
Staged and appeared in "The Producer," written by William Lebaron, a headline vaudeville production (fifty people) which opened at Hammerstein's Victoria Theatre, New York City, and played for months in vaudeville, headlining in all principal eastern cities.
Staged "The Military Girl," starring Cecil Lean and Cleo Mayfield, at the Ziegfeld Theatre in Chicago. Engaged by Lee and J.J. Shubert as producer for New York Winter Garden, created a policy for that theatre and a formula for musical productions still used there; staged "The Passing Show of 1912," "The Honeymoon Express," with Al Jolson and Gaby Deslys, "Broadway to Paris," "The Passing Show of 1913," etc.
For the English manager, Albert de Courville, at the Hippodrome, London, England, at the highest terms ever paid a stage director, he directed George Robey, Ethel Levey, Harry Tate, Billy Merson, Shirley Kellogg, and other famous continental stars.
He staged "Hullo Tango" (ran over one year), "Zig-Zag" (ran one and one-half years), "Box of Tricks," "Joybells," etc.
Opened offices in London, producing "The Honeymoon Express," which ran five years in London and the provinces; produced "Dora's Doze," at Palladium Music Hall, and leased Middlesex Music Hall, London, to stage his own musical productions with American, French and English stars, in association with Oswald Stoll, but was obliged to stop productions there when war was declared.
* * * * *
Next he staged and presented his own production of a farce, "She's In Again," at Gaiety Theatre, New York City; also put on his own $150,000 production of "Town Topics," with Will Rogers, at the Century Theatre, New York, for which playhouse he created a Continental Music Hall policy.
It was soon after this that he accepted an engagement as producer and general stage director for Florenz Ziegfeld and staged the "Follies of 1916," "Follies of 1917," "Follies of 1918," and "Follies of 1919."
In addition to the above, Mr. Wayburn devised and staged for Mr. Ziegfeld nine successful Midnight Frolics and two Nine O'Clock Revues atop the New Amsterdam Theatre, New York, during this time.
For Mesmore Kendall, devised and staged the opening presentation for the Capitol Theatre, New York City, September, 1919, including an elaborate and very successful revue.
For Dillingham and Ziegfeld, at Century Theatre, New York, he devised and staged the sensationally successful second act finale to "The Century Girl" (1916), where the 50-foot circular revolving stage was employed so ingeniously in the "Uncle Sam" finale.
Staged "Miss 1917" at the Century Theatre, New York, with Irene Castle, Elsie Janis and 40 other stars.
For Lew Fields: "The Poor Little Ritz Girl."
For A.L. Erlanger and B.C. Whitney: "The Ed Wynn Carnival," at the New Amsterdam Theatre, N.Y.
For A.L. Erlanger: "Two Little Girls in Blue" (with the Fairbanks Twins, Oscar Shaw and Evelyn Law), at the George M. Cohan Theatre, N.Y.
Founded Ned Wayburn Studios of Stage Dancing and Ned Wayburn Booking Offices.
Staged F. Ziegfeld's production, starring Will Rogers, also "Follies of 1922," which ran 67 consecutive weeks in New York City and about 40 weeks on tour. No other "Follies" up to this time ever ran over 16 weeks in New York. Produced many vaudeville acts, among them, "Ned Wayburn's Dancing Dozen." Arranged motion-picture presentations for the Famous Players-Lasky Theatres. In association with Ben Ali Haggin produced several tableaux, including "Simonetta," "Dubarry," and "The Green Gong," which were presented in many of the principal cities. Staged the musical comedy "Lady Butterfly," at Globe Theatre, New York.
Staged the Anatol Friedland headline girl act for the Keith-Albee and Orpheum vaudeville circuits, and "The Birth of Venus," a series of beautiful tableaux which were shown in many principal motion picture and vaudeville theatres. Staged for Florenz Ziegfeld "Follies of 1923," at New Amsterdam Theatre, New York, which attraction played to the largest week's receipts of any Follies ever produced at New Amsterdam Theatre.
Staged the following headline vaudeville productions:
"NED WAYBURN'S HONEYMOON CRUISE"
—an elaborate junior musical comedy, adapted for vaudeville, with a cast of dancers, principals and ensemble, composed entirely of pupils of the Ned Wayburn Studios. This act, the highest priced in vaudeville, started on tour in January, 1924, and broke all box-office records of the Poli Theatres in New England, as well as those of many other theatres on the Keith-Albee Circuit, including the premiere vaudeville theatre of the world, Keith-Albee Palace Theatre, New York, and the new $7,000,000 Earle Theatre in Philadelphia. It is still breaking records, and is one of the most sought-after acts in vaudeville.
"NED WAYBURN'S DEMI-TASSE REVUE"
—another headline act, composed entirely of pupils of the Ned Wayburn Studios. Now on the Keith-Albee and Orpheum Circuits.
The opening engagement at Bridgeport broke the attendance record of the Palace Theatre there and the same results followed at New Haven, Hartford and Worcester, when the audiences and newspaper critics alike declared the Revue even better than Ned Wayburn's "Honeymoon Cruise," which had previously held the attendance records in those cities.
"NED WAYBURN'S SYMPHONIC JAZZ REVUE"
Another new production, also composed of pupils of the Ned Wayburn Studios—touring the principal motion picture theatres in the Middle West and also Keith-Albee and Orpheum Circuits.
Staged the dances for Geraldine Farrar in an Operatic Fantasie—"Carmen" (all the dancers in this production being pupils of the Ned Wayburn Studios).
SOCIETY, UNIVERSITY AND PRIVATE ENTERTAINMENTS
For Mrs. William K. Vanderbilt, 2nd, devised and staged her "Mah Jong Fete" at the Hotel Plaza, New York, for the Big Sisters charity, December, 1923, and her "Persian Jazz Fete," December, 1924.
The Princeton Triangle Club's Musical Comedy, "Drake's Drum" last year and "The Scarlet Coat" this year.
The Filene Store's musical comedy, "The Caddie Girl," Colonial Theatre, Boston, in April, 1924, and "Barbara Lee," in April, 1925, presented at the Tremont Theatre, Boston, for one week, with Leah Ainsworth, a Ned Wayburn pupil, in the title role.
Penn. State College Thespian Club's Show, "The Magazine Cover Girl" last year, and "Wooden Shoes" this year.
The Third Annual Masonic Fashion and Home Exposition at Madison Square Garden, New York, May, 1924.
Elaborate entertainments for the Willys-Overland Company, at the Hotel Biltmore, New York (three years).
Jewelers' 24-Karat Club Annual Entertainment at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York (three successive years).
"Own Your Own Home Exposition," at Trenton, New Jersey.
Shriner's Frolic, at Washington, D.C.
Kansas City "Junior League Follies" (December, 1924).
Atlanta "Junior League Follies" (February, 1925).
A Musical Revue for the New York Edison Co., 1925 (so successful it had to be repeated).
The Providence Junior League Show, 1925.
The New Haven "Junior League Nautical Bal Cabaret," 1925.
The Vincent Club Musical Comedy, "Fez," in Boston (April, 1925).
"The Chatterbox Revue" in Rochester (April, 1925).
The Massachusetts "Tech" Show, "The Duchess of Broadway" (1925),—and a great many other society, charity, masonic and church entertainments.
It is out of this amazingly wide and varied experience that Ned Wayburn evolved the courses in stage dancing, stage-craft and showmanship which are being taught with such great success today at the Ned Wayburn Studios.
Ned Wayburn is known to thousands as the genius who staged the very best editions of "The Follies" and "Midnight Frolics" at the New Amsterdam Theatre, N.Y. But in the world of the theatre—among those who know—he is recognized as America's foremost creator, producer and director of musical comedies, revues, headline vaudeville productions, motion picture presentations, fetes and every other form of entertainment that features beautiful, original or spectacular dancing.
His versatility knows almost no limit. His wealth of theatrical experience runs the gamut from his own first appearance as an amateur actor and coach to a succession of triumphs as producing director of the most gorgeous theatrical presentations both here and abroad.
Added to his practical stage-craft there is the vital flame of imaginative genius, a creative faculty that clearly stamps all his work. It is this, as well as his extraordinary executive ability and his all-embracing knowledge of stage technique, that makes him the most sought-after of all directors. It also explains the distinct advantage which pupils of the Ned Wayburn Studios have over all others, in that they are being constantly sought for desirable engagements because of the thorough way in which they are trained, both physically and mentally, in dancing.
THE NED WAYBURN METHOD OF TRAINING
There are five basic types of stage dancing that I teach, covering the modern field in full, and supplying the pupil with a complete knowledge of all the steps needed for a successful stage career.
These five types consist of:
Musical Comedy Dancing, Tap and Step Dancing (Clogging), Acrobatic Dancing, Exhibition Dancing (Ball-room), Modern Americanized Ballet Dancing.
The last named includes all the best variety of ballet dances, such as toe, classical, character, interpretive, oriental, folk, national, covering Spanish, Russian, Greek, Javanese, etc.
Instruction is given in any or all of the above to beginners, advanced amateurs, professionals and teachers, and is preceded in every case by the Ned Wayburn Foundation Technique, which includes my limbering and stretching process, and is one of the most important courses ever devised for the student of dancing in that it saves years of study. This original technique is described in a succeeding chapter.
In addition to the types of dancing mentioned above, we also give instruction in the art of making up for the stage.
Accompanying the technical instruction, each class and pupil receives without cost the benefit of the valuable stage-craft, managerial and producer's knowledge that I have acquired during my years of activity in the theatrical world. This is given in occasional lectures or inspirational talks before the class. Students also, when duly fitted, will be informed as to where and how to obtain engagements, correct forms of contract to be entered into, and other valuable business information concerning the practical side of selling their services to the best advantage, saving them much time and possible embarrassment and loss.
In all probability, if you love dancing and aspire to make it a career, you possess an innate sense of rhythm. You feel the swing of music and love to move your body to the strains of a lilting melody. The first great possessions of the successful stage dancer are a love of harmonious sounds and a sense of rhythmic motion. If you haven't these, you might better abandon the idea of studying with me as far as any hope is concerned of my developing you into a stage artist. While you would find much to enjoy and to benefit your health and appearance in taking my dancing exercises, if you are minus the very first dancing essentials you could not expect us to advance you beyond your own limitations.
Another important qualification for the stage dancer, which if not possessed at its fullest may be acquired under our instruction, is a sense of direction. This sense of direction is of maximum importance in stage dancing, because, as you can readily understand, since you have your audience in front of you and to your left and your right, you must do your dances so that they will appeal to all sections of your audience. And there are certain stage directions which you must know in order to grasp my method of instruction.
That you may get absolute precision in direction, let us proceed as follows: Imagine that you are standing on a stage, in a circle the diameter of your own feet; we will call that circle "your place."
Divide the stage into eight different directions. You are now facing the "front." Face the "left," the "back," the "right," and then "front" again. That makes four directions—front, left, back and right. Face half-way to the left—that is called "left oblique." Face half-way to the back—that is called "left oblique back." Now face back. Face half-way to the right—that is called "right oblique back." Now face half-way to the front. That is called "right oblique." That makes eight different directions, very easy to memorize and never forgotten after once learned, and you will employ them in your stage work every day. That they may become familiar with the necessary directions, students are given brief instructions at their first lesson, as I stand before them and take the turns with them and announce the name of each direction as I take it.
In making the turn from wall to wall, when you turn to the left around, you should turn on the right heel, which thus acts as a pivot and keeps you in "your place"; like this—left oblique, left, left oblique back, back, right oblique back, right, right oblique, and front. In going around to the right turn on the left heel. Fix these directions firmly in your mind. You will need them when you get into stage dancing.
The eight different directions are in eight counts. The first direction to the left is left oblique. That is counted "one." Left is "two." Left oblique back, "three." Back, "four." Right oblique back, "five." Right, "six." Right oblique, "seven." Front is "eight."
All of our steps are taught in counts of eight. We begin to count from one and go as far as eight, then repeat. We count, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or we count "1-and, 2-and, 3-and, 4-and, 5-and, 6-and, 7-and, 8-and," as may be required. After the steps have been taught by counts and learned properly, through much patient practice, they are fitted to music.
Without turning the rest of the body, turn the head sharply to the left wall, so that your face is square to the wall. You are now looking left. Look front. Look to the right (square around). Look front. Look left oblique. Front. Right oblique. Front. Now throw the head back and look up (without straining the muscles of the neck)—hold the head at an angle of about 45 degrees. Your head should not be tilted to one side, but straight back. Now look "front" again—now "down," now "front." There is a difference between turning it to the left or right and inclining to left or right. Incline your head to the left shoulder—hold your face up a little and keep it square to the front—chin high—now incline your head to the right shoulder—up straight—now turn it to the left (around as far as you can)—turn it front—turn it to the "right"—turn it "front"—throw it "back"—look up, now "front"—drop "down" and now "front."
THE LESSON TO A CLASS IS AS FOLLOWS
Now, be careful to keep your lines straight up and down, directly behind one another. Let those in the first line across raise the right hand. Second line across raise hands up; third line across, and fourth line across. This is called across stage (indicating left to right). This is called up and down stage (indicating front to back), and going down this way (to the footlights) is moving down-stage. Going toward the back wall is moving up-stage or back-stage.
CONCERNING ENTRANCES AND EXITS
If you come in sight of the audience from that side (indicating left) you are making an entrance from the left. If you leave in that direction, you are making an exit to the left. It is an artistic feat to make a good exit. It requires not only specialized training, but also practical experience in front of an audience. It may be a vocal exit, a dramatic or spoken exit, or a dancing exit, and one must reach a decided climax at the exit. If the dance consists of eight steps, properly spaced, the most effective steps are put in where they will provoke applause. The last or finish step must get the most applause or the dancer fails. So we put a climactic "trick" step in for a finish, and then we top that with the exit, and the exit must be a surprise. Otherwise, the dance has not built up from the time the dancer makes an entrance and gets the attention of the audience. So making an effective exit is really a difficult thing to do. You are taught in the advanced instruction how to enter and exit properly.
One draws the applause on the eighth step by assuming a certain attitude or by "striking a picture" which asks the audience for the applause, and on the exit another round of applause can be earned, and in this way the dance "gets over," or is "sold" to the audience, as we say in the show business.
Now face the right, please. If you make an exit on that side you are making an exit to the right. If you come on from that side (meaning if you come in sight of the audience from that side) you are making an entrance from the right.
The proper way to stand to learn my kind of stage dancing is with the left toe pointed left oblique, and the right toe right oblique. Have your knees together, heels together, with the weight equally distributed between the feet, hands down at the side, arms relaxed, heads up and direct your gaze straight ahead on a line with your eyes.
Never recognize anyone over the footlights. Always look straight front on a line with the eyes. Never look at the floor when dancing unless specifically so instructed. To look at the floor while dancing gives an audience the impression that you have no confidence in yourself and that you are laboring to perform your dance.
In dancing, the head and arms and upper part of the body (torso or trunk) are as important as the feet and legs.
The eyes are the most expressive agent of the body.
Now, without turning your head, using your eyes only, look left oblique, look front, look right oblique, front, look left oblique down, look front, look left oblique up, look front, look right oblique down, look right oblique up, look front.
Most of my instruction is based on the eight different directions which you have been told about, and on the four different parts of the foot, which you must also understand thoroughly. This makes it easy to analyze any dancing steps that we teach.
These four different parts of the foot are:
1, the toe, or end of the shoe. 2, the ball of the foot (the half sole). 3, the heel. 4, the flat of the foot.
Tapping the toe of the left foot to the floor makes the first count; stamping the ball of the left foot, the second count; the heel of the left, the third count; and the flat of the entire foot the fourth count. These four different parts of the foot become an exercise by counting 1, 2, 3, 4, with the left foot, and 5, 6, 7, 8, with the right foot, beginning with the right toe on the count of 5. This exercise if practiced faithfully will give flexibility to the muscles and ligaments that control the entire foot, all of which are used in musical comedy dancing, for the American tap, step and specialty work (clogging), for social or ballroom dancing, for exhibition dancing, as well as in the acrobatic dancing work, and for my Americanized ballet training, including toe dancing.
Do this exercise first with the left foot, then with the right foot, to the count of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and practice it often, till it becomes a perfectly natural action. It is the basis of the best "bread and butter" dancing steps, as you will discover in later lessons.
In doing this exercise, remember that in dropping the toe to the floor it must be placed straight back, and not left or right oblique back; straight back from the "place" where you stand. The knees should be kept together. When you stamp the ball of your foot, the feet are directly opposite each other.
I want you to note that each of the four movements of this exercise has a distinct sound. The dropping of the toe, the stamping of the ball of the foot, of the heel, and of the flat foot, each creates a separate and distinct sound. I have named these sounds "taps," and it is the various combinations of these sounds that are used so effectively in musical comedy dances, in tap, step, and American specialty dancing (sometimes called clogging), as well as in some of our choicest acrobatic dancing.
Some of our pupils are apt at tap and step dancing, others are more apt at ballet dancing, musical comedy or acrobatic dancing. Some of our young ladies take four classes a day; some take three; others two; and still others but one class a day. In addition to this, there are pupils, among them a great many young gentlemen, who take private lessons in their chosen style of dancing every day while some only take one private lesson a week.
Try to perfect yourselves as solo dancers. It is there that fame and fortune await you. You may not appreciate it now, but when you have mastered the Ned Wayburn courses, you will look back with satisfaction and realize the wonderful opportunity my simple courses have afforded you. There is no other school in the world that teaches the five basic types of dancing in the same thorough, rapid manner and with the same satisfactory results.
The student who has industriously performed the essential preliminary work as I teach it has obtained a satisfactory mastery of the body, and has a large range of movement at command; is now able to control the source of movement and to relax opposing muscles so that the movement may follow through; that is, may continue from its initiative in any part of the body to the desired climax, without muscular obstruction. The entire body is now ready and responsive to any call upon it, and the act of dancing becomes a pleasure and a joy it never was before, and never would have been but for the preliminary work as I have arranged it for the making of beautiful and efficient dancers.
The result is a harmony of rhythmical coordination that will echo far beyond the dancing courses and into the various activities of one's whole life.
The great freedom and abandonment of movement now acquired is not a combination of erratic movements and gestures distributed at random. The freedom gained is the result of perfect control, not in any degree the result of unguided abandon. My dancers know how to work because they are sure of themselves; the controlled individual is the free individual.
But the dancer has gained more than mastery of movement. Valuable as are strength and skill, even more so is the resultant balance and soundness of the nervous system that directly results from such rhythmical coordination, fitting one for meeting the complex and often disturbing demands of life. Now, too, in the process of acquiring such a splendid state of general physical well-being, the pupil has absorbed and acquired some understanding of the power and the wonder of a physical self, and will proudly treat this newly discovered self with respect and consideration.
The mental gains as the result of this work have a right to consideration, also. The handicap of self-consciousness is largely overcome by the complete mastery of the movements of the body; the mind becomes freed, the mental horizon enlarged, as the direct result of body and nerve control.
The delight of free and expressive movement with a body that responds joyously to the slightest impulse of thought and feeling, develops a new resource of pleasure, and in perfection of bodily response is found a new source of beauty with endless promise for the future.
If you begin the courses with the feeling, "make me a dancer if you can," and act with indifference throughout the instruction that is given for your benefit, you are doomed to failure. No one succeeds unless they want to and work very hard.
You are here to prepare for an honorable calling, a beautiful, respected and profitable profession, that when once you acquire will remain at your disposal all your life. Most of our pupils recognize this and sincerely strive, with our help, to perfect themselves through incessant patient practice. We have no intention ever to let a small minority of indifferent, "I don't care" pupils, hold back the ambitious ones. Those who merit success shall have every opportunity always.
You, no doubt have been to good shows, seen good dancing and attractive posing and grouping, with rich scenery, proper lighting and appropriate music, and have wished that you, too, might share in the applause of the audience for your own merit as a dancer.
I want to help you become what so many others of my scholars have become, the best in their line of endeavor.
I am enthusiastic about my part of the work, and ask and expect you to be just as enthusiastic as I am. Really, you should have more enthusiasm than I have, since it is you who are to go before the audiences and get the applause and the pay, and not me. Whether or not you are enthusiastic about your work will show in your results. Your degree of interest and improvement is recorded, so I know just what you are accomplishing.
You must expect to get tired, really "tired out," in your earliest lessons and practice. That is what has invariably happened to all others before you, who are drawing down the fat salaries today. I expect it, and should be surprised indeed if any student proved to be an exception. In fact, if you do not tire, and perspire and pant after an hour of working your every muscle in a set of movements new to them, then you surely are not getting the benefit that the exercises are intended to promote. Soreness during your first four or five lessons is a sign of your having taken the lessons earnestly and honestly and actively, as you should in your own interest. The soreness will work out and be gone for good after a few lessons. Please get sore! Then I know you are all right.
But do not overdo at any time, now or later, in class work, private lessons, or home practice, and especially be careful while you are new at the work, and the novelty of it tempts your ambition to keep on and on. Alternate work and rest, strenuous toil and complete relaxation, is the ideal way to build yourself into beauty and strength and suppleness by my method, without danger of straining or injury.
In the classroom, if a pupil needs to sit and rest a bit occasionally it is permitted. But do not let our consideration for your comfort become an excuse for mere laziness! There are lazy girls as well as lazy men in the world, I have heard, and it is barely possible that one or two might decide to take my courses sometime. If they do, our required work will give them inspiration, as well as perspiration, and enable them to overcome an inclination to indolence that they must master if they hope to succeed as dancers—or in any other vocation.
Let me encourage you by saying, what I know to be true, that you will harden yourself in a few days' time so that the muscles of your body will pleasantly respond to your demands without crying out loud when called upon. Just keep at it. Don't get discouraged because it wearies you on the start. If you could see our advanced pupils going through their routines, and how easily they perform the same simple exercises you are required to do in the beginning, their muscles ready, trained and responsive, and every motion of their bodies a pleasure to them and a satisfaction after patient practice, you would be encouraged and would be able to smile at the few temporary discomforts of a few sore muscles. But do not be too ambitious and work to the point of exhaustion.
NED WAYBURN STAGE DANCES
I have already named the five basic types of stage dancing taught in my courses. In this chapter I shall describe them in detail in such a manner that anyone can distinguish them from one another.
No doubt when you have seen dances of the new type executed on the theatrical stage you may have been unable in some cases to correctly classify them. That is not at all surprising, since the classification is my own, as well as some of the steps themselves.
You have realized that so-and-so did a pleasing, pretty and complicated dance, but what it is called, or if it is called at all, you are unable to state. All my dances have names and are properly classified, and what these are and to what distinct type they belong is going to be spread before you here and now.
First let us consider the type that I have named American Specialty Dancing, the one that is more truly and distinctively American than any other type of dancing to be seen on any stage today.
This classification comprises every variety of tap and step dancing, and also what is commonly known as "Legmania," the latter including the high-kicking features, where the leg will execute front, back, and side kicks, and other forms of the acrobatic type of dancing. Legmania is not a possible development for every student of dancing, as nearly every other form of the art is, but is available to the few who are adapted to its exacting technique, which insures that this interesting field will never grow too many blossoms, and that supply is not likely to equal demand. I will mention Evelyn Law in "Legmania" and Ann Pennington in "Tap and Step" dancing as "sample" stars from my studios in this beautiful and lucrative type of dancing, though their dancing limitations are by no means confined to this one branch of the art.
Tap and step dances are made up of a series of steps that involve certain movements of the four parts of the foot as described in another chapter; namely, the toe, the ball of the foot, the heel, and the flat of the foot, which produce distinct rhythmic sounds or "taps" as they separately strike the floor or stage.
Under the classification of tap and step dancing, we teach the buck and wing dance, the waltz clog, the straight clog (which is like an English clog or a Lancashier clog), jigs, reels, and the old form of what we call step dancing, which was popular forty years ago in the old "variety" days. They did the jigs, reels and clogs then, and these different types of dancing modernized combine to make what we today call the American Specialty type of dancing. My course in tap dancing, for instance, includes beginners' "buck" and "soft-shoe" dances, intermediate, advanced, semi-professional and professional "buck" and "soft-shoe" dances. Of course, when you get into the semi-professional "buck" and "soft-shoe" you will begin to get complicated "taps," and you will get difficult triple-taps in professional "buck" dancing.
You are no doubt familiar in a general way with the Musical Comedy type of dancing, which is really an exaggerated form of fancy dancing. It includes the now popular but simpler "soft-shoe" dances, dainty, soft, pretty movements with many effective attitudes of the body, all sorts of "kicking" and "fancy" steps. As a matter of fact, this type of dancing is perhaps the most difficult of all to define exactly, because often musical comedy dances include a few tap steps and sometimes simple ballet movements, or combinations, as we term them. Our musical comedy dances are arranged in routines, or sequences of not less than ten steps, including an entrance, eight steps to the dance, and an exit movement. The entrance is a travelling step, a step which gets you onto the stage; then comes the dance itself consisting of eight steps; then the exit which must include a step which will make a decided climax to the whole dance. I have already explained the importance of making an effective exit. In a subsequent chapter, I will describe more in detail a musical comedy routine.
Perhaps Acrobatic Dancing is the most difficult of all the types to master—that is, it most certainly requires a degree of strength that the other dances do not demand; sufficient strength in the arms to support the weight of the body in the hand-stand and the cartwheel, flexibility of the muscles in order to do the "limbers" and back-bends. All of the acrobatic tricks—hand-stands, cartwheels, splits, roll-overs, back-bends, front-overs, inside-outs, nip-ups, "butterflies," flip-flops, Boranis, somersaults, etc., are very difficult and require special adaptability and inexhaustible patience, but almost any normal human being between the ages of four and thirty can learn even the advanced tumbling tricks in time, but only by keen application and persistent practice.
The fourth of the basic types of dancing is my Modern Americanized Ballet, a most graceful type of dance which requires and developes beauty and grace of motion of the head, the hands, the arms, the feet and legs, of the whole body, in fact. This Americanized ballet is subdivided into various types of dances—toe dancing, classical dancing, character dancing, interpretive dancing, covering all kinds of National and folk dancing. These have attention elsewhere in this volume.
Exhibition dancing constitutes the fifth type, and is varied in its possibilities. It is the kind you see exhibited by a dancing team in public and private ballrooms and at social or club functions, and may take the form of the exhibition fox trot, the exhibition one-step, the tango, the exhibition waltz or the whirlwind dance. It is very pretty and very profitable work for those who are adapted to its interpretation. This type of dancing is not taught in classes in the Ned Wayburn Studios, but is given special attention under qualified private tutors, in private lessons, and has prepared some remarkable dancers in this field. Two of the popular dances which I have conceived and arranged and which have lately swept the world are the ballroom "Charleston" dance and the exhibition "Charleston."
As my pupil you will discover in the course of your advancement that you have a particular preference for one of these types of dancing, or perhaps two, or three. Each person has his or her own personality, and certain personalities are better suited to the Tap and Step style of dancing than to the Ballet, for instance. But in order to meet the competition in stage dancing in the future, you require a knowledge of the five basic types, as outlined.
I cannot emphasize too strongly the importance of personality in a successful stage career. Along with the actual mastering of the dancing steps and acquisition of health and a beautiful body, comes just as surely the development of personality. And since each individual has a distinct personality it is advisable for everyone to select the type of dancing best suited to that personality. It is because of this quality that the performance of stars like Evelyn Law, Marilyn Miller, Ann Pennington, Gilda Gray and Fred and Adele Astaire leaves a lasting impression. Every step, every movement is designed to drive home the characteristics of their individuality. Even more important than the actual dancing steps they do is the manner in which they execute them—the individuality which gives expression to all that they do. It is the almost indefinable factor called personality which lifts one out of the ranks of the chorus and makes the solo dancer. In this book I am trying to help you develop your personality, in the way that I have discovered and developed the personalities of so many of today's stars.
Most emphatically I want to impress upon you that it is not "chorus work" that you learn in my courses. It is professional, individual dancing, taught thoroughly and completely.
Anyone who masters the dances takes on a certain confident feeling in time, after exercising great patience in practice. With this confidence the happy pupil radiates a new magnetic personality which the audience feels. But more about this later on, when you will learn just how one's self is injected into the dances until they are vitalized and made living exponents of a beautiful art.
NED WAYBURN'S FOUNDATION TECHNIQUE
The human body is the instrument of the dancer, and must be as much under the direct command of the dancer as the violin is at the command of the musician. It must respond instantaneously and without effort to every emotion and thought in the dancer's mind. To do this it is obvious that the physical mechanism of the entire body must be completely mastered and controlled.
The first stage of the work to achieve command of the human frame as a dancing instrument is to bring about flexibility in all its parts and obtain muscular guidance and control. This demands a special technique that shall coordinate in harmonious functioning all parts of the body by an unconscious effort of the mind.
The foundation technique which I evolved for the Ned Wayburn courses is a limbering and stretching process for the body, which precedes the teaching of dancing steps, fitting all pupils properly with a basis, a foundation for the important work to come. Without these exercises, all of which are set to inspiring music, muscles employed in dancing would remain taut or soft and not respond properly, the pupil would quickly tire, and the attempt to dance become an unavailing effort. With the limbering and stretching course, time is saved in preparing the student for the lessons to come, and the time necessary for the training and development of a dancer is much shortened from the long apprenticeship that once prevailed under the old antiquated Ballet technique. What is known as the Ned Wayburn method brings into play all the bodily muscles that are essential to the dancer's use, gives strength, suppleness and symmetry to the entire body. All forms of outdoor exercise are valuable adjuncts to bodily health and strength and beauty, but supplementing them the dancer must carry on with just the foundation technique I have devised, in order to waken and strengthen the dancing muscles, a result not brought about by even the best of romping sports or one's other usual exercising.
In connection with correct diet, which has attention in later chapters of this book, my methods of preliminary exercise will aid the over-stout to reduce pleasantly and surely, and also enable the under-developed to put on needed weight, in both cases the attendant blessings of health, strength and symmetry following in due order.
My method induces perspiration, opens the pores, eliminates unhealthy tissue, and at the same time supplies new tissue replete with health, which is placed evenly over the entire body where nature wants it.
Do not let the words "limbering and stretching" mislead you. Perhaps there may be words that describe the work better than these do. But my idea in using these words is that flexibility, suppleness, grace and freedom of movement are all covered by "limbering," while "stretching" is intended to convey the idea of a proper fitting of the body and limbs for the various forms of kicking that are absolutely essential in modern stage dancing. Some people get the idea that stretching exercises will lengthen the body or limbs. This is not so. Neither is the result of any mechanical operation whatever. You bend your body rhythmically, and by degrees acquire a proficiency that enables you to "stretch" and "limber up" yourself to an extent that may surprise you. No one was ever hurt by my exercises; you gradually limber and stretch yourself! All who have taken the exercises and have practiced them as directed have materially benefited. They bring health, graceful figures and a fitness for learning dancing as nothing else does of which I have knowledge. That is what these exercises are for, and just what they do.
And another important fact in connection with my foundation technique for dancers, it does not bunch the muscles into unsightly shape; it does not make huge, knotty muscles in the arms and legs, as has long been the case with certain Russian and Italian ballet methods. You have no doubt seen ballet dancers with distorted bodies. The American woman will not be content with any development that mars the appearance of her figure, and she is right. You have seen the Ned Wayburn trained girls on many a stage, and never yet saw one that was not pleasing in figure, to put it mildly, and that is the way we insist in developing them at the studio. Our pupils acquire agility without angularity or unsightly protuberances anywhere. We take the "raw material," child or adult, between four and forty, with or without any former experience or training, proceed with them through my foundation technique of limbering and stretching, and advance them from there to courses in any of the various forms of dancing, with the perfect assurance that they have the necessary basis of flexibility and muscle control that will support them on their way to perfect dancing success.
In conjunction with this work, all types of kicking steps are taught, front kick, side kick, back kick, hitch kick, and the others. Since strength for kicking comes from the abdominal muscles, a workout that will especially exercise these muscles around the waist line is essential, and a series of strengthening activities is given to this end.
Imagine that you are in practice costume, one of a class of students similarly dressed, standing in line on a padded rug in my Foundation Technique studio. The instructor begins with the simple exercises, and directs you through a number of them during an hour's lesson today, repeating them briefly tomorrow and adding new ones to those you learned yesterday, till soon you have progressed through the entire list. The work is done rhythmically to music, and all exercises are in eight counts. Each is repeated in measured time till the class masters it, and the student is requested to practice the lessons at home faithfully and earnestly, and the proficiency thus acquired is looked for in the class work of the day after.
Here are a dozen of the Ned Wayburn series of Limbering and Stretching exercises selected from my Foundation Technique:
Stand erect, head up, heels together, arms down at sides, raise right arm straight up over the head. Bend body to left as far as you can, sliding left hand down the thigh. Return to erect position, then with left arm raised bend to right. Alternate left and right eight times to count of "one, lean; two, lean," etc.
Stand erect, chin in, heels together, toes pointed out, raise left arm straight over head, right arm down at side. Swing right hand up over head also, and lean the body right oblique. Swing both arms down, then up and lean left oblique. Do this for eight counts of "one, lean; two, lean," etc.
(Forward bend.) Raise both arms straight over head the width of the shoulders apart, heels together, knees stiff. Bend forward and touch the floor with the palms of both hands, if you can, if you cannot, then with the ends of the fingers. Raise arms again over head and lean back as far as you can. Count "one, touch; two, lean," etc., to a count of eight.
Stand erect, both hands above head, arms stiff. Keep hands in this position throughout, step left foot straight forward, bend the body back as far as you can. Then body erect and left foot returned to position. Step right foot front, bend back again. Alternate with each foot for eight counts: "left, lean, straight, in; right, lean, straight, in," etc.
To strengthen calves and ankles.
Stand erect, knees stiff, heels together, hands on hips. Rise on the toes; down, up, down, etc., for 48 counts.
Kneel, knees about eight inches apart, trunk erect. Extend arms horizontally in front to count "one." On count of "two" raise the hands above the head, shoulder-width apart and lean back. Keep arms stiff. On count of "and," trunk again erect and arms extended front. On count of "three," hands over head and lean back. Repeat for eight counts.
From kneeling position of Exercise 6, lie flat on the stomach, palms on floor alongside the hips, elbows up, to count of "one." On count "two," raise the body, straightening arms, supporting body on hands and toes. Lower body to floor on count "three." Alternate raising and lowering body for sixteen counts.
For limbering and stretching the abdominal muscles.
Stand erect, heels together, chin in, chest out, step right foot forward, bend body front, place both hands flat on floor (foot-race starting position). Jump, bringing right foot back and left foot forward at the same time. Jump, bringing left foot back and right foot forward. Right, left, right, left, for sixteen counts.
Stand erect, feet fifteen inches apart. Raise arms straight above the head, shoulder-width apart. Keep toes and heels flat on the floor. Squat down, lowering arms as you do so until they are horizontally straight in front of you. Rise to erect position, raising arms at the same time above the head. Keep arms stiff. Down, up, down, up, for sixteen counts.
Lie flat on your back, arms at sides, palms on floor. Keep knees stiff and together and toes pointed. Raise both feet so that toes point to ceiling. Count "one"; lower the feet to the floor. Count "two"; (do not hit the floor hard in lowering the feet). Count "one, down; two, down;" etc., to eight.
You are lying on your back. On count "one," sit up, bend forward, touch your toes with your hands and place your head against your knees. Count "touch." On count "two," bring your trunk erect, arms straight overhead. On count of "down" you are again lying on your back. Count "one, touch, two, down, three, touch, four, down," etc., to "eight, down."
Stand erect, heels together. Raise arms horizontally to the sides. Bend the knees and assume a squatting position. Rise to erect position. Count "down, up, down, up," etc., eight times.
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There are more than thirty different exercises given in the Ned Wayburn courses in this work. If you desire a complete list, address an inquiry to the Ned Wayburn Studios of Stage Dancing, Inc., 1841 Broadway (at Columbus Circle) entrance on 60th St., New York, for prospectus of the New Ned Wayburn Home Study Courses in Dancing.
MR. WAYBURN ADDRESSES THE BEGINNER'S CLASS IN FOUNDATION TECHNIQUE
You are starting on a course of not less than twenty lessons and exercises in my Foundation Technique for dancing, which is a feature exclusive to this studio, known as the Ned Wayburn Limbering and Stretching process for the human body.
This is one of the most important things that ever came into your life. It is at once a necessary foundation upon which to build the perfect dancer and an unequaled system of cultural exercises for the correction of certain physical ills in those who have no expectation of pursuing a professional career.
Primarily I originated this series of exercises to make good dancers quickly. There was nothing of the kind in existence that would do the work I wanted done, so I carefully thought it out myself, and finally developed the complete plan. Some of it will be taught you here. It has proven to be all I anticipated,—a method of preparing the muscles and ligaments to respond instantly to the dancer's call upon them for precise action. It is the object of this series of exercises to eliminate fatigue, create sturdy yet symmetrical and flexible frames and increase the health, grace and beauty of the participant. It is, therefore, no wonder that others than those who expect to enter upon a stage career have sought these exercises for their own improvement in personal appearance and physical well-being.
Now all please stand in line around the room, stand quietly and without leaning against the wall. Stand shoulder to shoulder, hands down at sides, heels together, feet flat down, toes pointing left oblique and right oblique; the weight equally distributed between the two feet. Hold your chin high and look straight ahead on a line with your eyes.
I organize the class by first arranging the pupils according to their height. There is a reason for this. If you are five feet tall and stand next to a girl who is five feet eleven, you at once become conscious of your size. It is to avoid this handicap of self-consciousness that I grade you by height.
You are now in line as to heights. Please each of you stand in front of a chair, one pupil to a chair, and number from "one" at the left end. Number thirteen will be called twelve and a half. Speak out your individual number loud and clear. This number you are given is your personal, distinctive number during the life of this class and is never changed. The number of this class is 501. As you call your number out loud please be seated in the chair back of you, and while the stenographer takes your names and the instructor collects your weekly tickets I will say a few words.
I expect you to arrive promptly in the classroom, and request that you time your arrival so as to be here in the studio at least fifteen minutes before class time, so as to be in your practice costume and ready for the call to class right on the hour set.
We have to observe discipline in all your work in the courses, otherwise nothing would be accomplished. We have printed rules posted in the office and elsewhere, and expect you to read and observe them.
Please do not talk at all during class work. It interrupts the work seriously. You have all been to school before and know that silence is one of the important rules of every school. This one is no exception.
Now, the first thing to do is to have your ticket ready. You must have your name signed on the ticket, where it says "Signature of pupil." Turn the ticket over and read it through on both sides. Remember your class number and your individual number in the class. The success of our school depends largely upon the way the classes are organized and thereafter dominated. Much of the success of the work depends upon the lectures you hear in the classes. They are in the form of inspirational talks based on different subjects. You are required to read all of our literature. Get and read the booklet entitled "Your Career." Every month we issue a school paper, "The Ned Wayburn News," which tells of the activities of pupils of the school who are now appearing in New York, or out on the road, and which has many interesting articles and information monthly for students of the dance. Please get a copy and read all of our literature—because it gives you an idea of what the school and its present and graduate pupils are accomplishing.
It is a well established rule of the studio that pupils shall weigh themselves every Monday and keep a record of their weight from week to week. For this purpose use the scales in the main office of the studio, please. They are accurate. We have them tested and adjusted at intervals to be sure that they are right. You are requested and expected to come into my private office and talk with me once a week, and when you do so I shall ask you about your weight, and you must be prepared to tell me. I know just how much you ought to weigh, and am interested in hearing whether you are gaining or losing flesh in the proportion that you should. At the end of the four weeks' period I shall ask each of you individually in the class about the variation in your weights, and I am then able to tell who is faithfully following my instructions as to practice, diet, hours of sleep and the other simple and necessary requirements of our courses. For I know that if my regime is observed as I request that it be, you will show it, and if you neglect to follow my advice you will not have made the progress you should, and will show that. You cannot disguise the real facts from me.
I do not want any of you to overexert at these limbering and stretching exercises. They are scientifically constructed to do for you what no other known cultural movements of this kind will do. At first they will tire you, leave you "all in," I have no doubt. I expect that. You see, in these exercises you are putting into play a lot of muscles that have been lying dormant, perhaps never been used in the way you will use them in this class as preparation for health, comeliness and dancing strength. You need to use these muscles. It is to stir them up and make you strong, and at the same time supple and shapely, that I have devised this series of exercises. It was not made by guess, this plan of developing and conditioning, but as the result of years of study and proof.
These exercises will make you feel perfectly wonderful after a while. Nothing else will do you as much good. But do not, please, expect the perfected results to show in a day or two. It cannot be done so quickly. You have been several years getting the way you are, and if you can improve greatly in a few months you must consider yourself fortunate.
Let me say, as a word of caution, that if you have any organic trouble, or have been weakened by a serious operation or recent illness, I wish you would report the facts to your class instructor or to me before you take on this work. In any event, don't overdo at any time, neither here nor in your home practice. If you find it necessary, stop at any time and sit down in your chair a few minutes till you get your breath. But don't stay out of class tomorrow because you find your muscles are tired. Every other student's muscles will be sore tomorrow, as well as yours. If you remain absent you will be much slower in getting those sore muscles feeling right than if you come into class and work the soreness out.
If you are absent you may miss something you will want to know. There is something new taught every day—or there may be a special lecture which you cannot afford to miss.
I hope you are going to be patient. I hope you are not going to say: "This is too much for me!" No matter how tired you are this work will do you more good than any medicines. You are not to take medicines without telling me about it. You are not to eat between meals; you are not to take any liquids with your meals. Masticate your food carefully. Don't bolt your meals in a hurry. Take time to eat properly. Don't sleep more than eight hours. Don't dance half the night away. You must look out for your health while you are training. Some of you are underweight, because you are not properly regulated so far as your meals and living is concerned. You are eating things you should not eat. Others are eating in such a hurry that the food is not properly assimilated by the body. You should drink not less than forty-five ounces of water a day. That is about nine glasses. You should drink a glass of water before and after each meal, NOT during your meals—one about eleven o'clock in the morning, another about four o'clock in the afternoon, and one just before you go to bed at night. NOT ice water. Water not only flushes the system but it induces perspiration. And you must perspire freely in all of our work because you get rid of many impurities through the pores. I reduced my own weight, by diet, exercise, and dancing, from 262 pounds to 207 pounds. But you have got to be very patient in reducing or building up. If you take off or put on a pound a week you will be doing very well. But let me regulate that, please. Sometimes pupils who are underweight when they first come here begin to lose weight, and they get worried about it. But you shouldn't worry. That means that you are losing unhealthy tissue, which will be replaced in time by healthy muscular tissue. That doesn't mean that you will get big knots of muscle on your arms and legs, such as you see in pictures in some of the magazines. The new tissue will be evenly distributed over the body. It is my business to manufacture symmetrical bodies. I have manufactured hundreds of celebrated beauties since I began my theatrical career, sometimes through facial makeup, sometimes through exercises and diet, but always with dancing as the chief feature in health and beauty culture.
There is a reason why this school has grown to its present proportions. It is because I have made a thorough study of anatomy and know how to make human bodies healthy and beautiful. I could tell you a very interesting story of Clan Calla, a little Irish princess who came to me with curvature of the spine to see if I could help her. She was very weak and hardly able to walk; they had to carry her to the studios from the subway. Now she is strong and well and dances beautifully.
Don't try to reduce too fast. I had two friends who died as a result of reducing with medicine. They took some sort of baths for reducing, and some kind of medicine to shrink themselves. That is why I became interested in reducing and began to practice on myself.
Now make up your minds to make this class a success. Don't make it necessary for your instructor to have to address any one of you personally. When your instructor gives an order execute it at once. Always get into your places promptly. Don't forget that you are going to be lame—but you must work it out.
You will begin with mild calisthenics—then, later on, you will learn several kinds of kicks—the side kick, the front kick, the hitch kick, etc. But before you can kick, you must have the strength necessary for kicking. You must practice the exercises in order to get this strength.
Now you are organized and you can accomplish real work. If there are any questions you would like to ask me, come to my private office at the end of the hall on the second floor—Broadway front. You will progress according to the way you practice. You must put in hours of faithful practice. If you take one hour of instruction a day at the studio, you should practice three hours a day at home. If you can possibly do so, always go through your Foundation Technique when you first get up in the morning. The lesson itself is not enough. Faithful practice means success, and without practice you won't succeed at all, and you won't get your weight off or you won't build up. Three times the length of a lesson is my rule for practice. Some practice from three to eight hours a day so as to gain dancing strength. You must have a lot of flexibility in order to dance in a professional manner.
Get the habit of deep breathing. Gradually you will increase your breathing capacity and deep breathing makes good blood. The oxygen you take into your lungs goes through the blood and takes off the impurities in the blood, and oxygen is necessary in properly assimilating your food.
Don't let anybody else advise you about diets. If a doctor has put you on a diet, let me know about it. My diets won't do you any good unless you are taking the limbering and stretching work along with them. You will enjoy them; you do not have to starve yourself.
Another thing let me warn you about! Don't bring or wear valuable jewelry to the studios. All of our employees are trustworthy, and besides, we investigate the pupils who come into our studios. We know all about them. If the wrong kind of person does get in, he or she doesn't stay more than an hour or two. We also have detectives in the classes. But don't take any chances. Don't bring valuable things into the place. Do not leave pocket-books in the dressing rooms; bring them into the class room.
We keep a strict record of the attendance and the progress of each individual pupil. We insist that you have the best that money can provide for you. If anything should happen at any time to which you could take exception, I hope you will report it to me. Our policy of giving you the very best to be had has appealed to a world of ambitious youth.