Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Bronx Terpsichoreans

My maternal grandmother was a Bronx Girl. And she loved to dance.  She went out many times with her older brother Danny, and as she got older, would accompany him and his wife to competitions all over New York City.  I loved listening to her stories about all the places they went and the competitions entered.  

In the photo above, my grandmother (the girl in the middle), and the other ladies sporting Victory Rolls, sit on the balcony of the famous Stardust Ballroom, located on Tremont Avenue at 177th Street in the Bronx. The year was 1946.

Her brother Danny, and his wife Marie, were there for the Harvest Moon Ball preliminaries.  Here they are, all decked out in their fancy duds for the competition.  My grandmother wrote the note on the photo.
In this photo, they look up at my grandfather, who was on the balcony taking photos.  They're waiting for their turn to take the floor.
In this photo, you'll see Uncle Danny and Aunt Marie in full swing on the floor, doing their thing for the preliminary competition.  I don't have any photo evidence that my grandmother took place in this competition, but I'd bet anything she was dancing at some point during the night.  

Many years later, in 1974, more than 200 people attended a dinner-dance to honor my grandmother's brother Dan and his wife Marie for their fervent service and dedication as dancing instructors at the Mary Queen of Peace Knights of Columbus Hall in the Bronx. The event was covered by the local newspaper and the headline called them terpsichoreans.

Uncle Danny owned a radio and TV repair shop, but on this night they received a plaque for teaching dancing to community residents.  Approximately 300 people "graduated" from their dancing school.

The newspaper article said they received vociferous applause after they demonstrated the intricate steps of the tango, and as an encore, Dan and his sister (My grandmother, Mary Pica, mentioned in the article) "brought the house down" with their version of the Lindy.  My grandmother saved the article:


Anonymous said...

the old old bronx.
this is west farms square - wasnt a death trap.
i went to the rko movie several times.
ps 6 is just one block up tremont av.

Unknown said...

Thank you for posting these images. My grandmother was a bartender at the Stardust, and this is my first peek inside. It's wonderful.

The Daily Rant said...

UNKNOWN: How cool that your *grandmother* was a bartender there - I would think that'd be unusual at that time, a female bartender! Wow. I just added a few more photos to the post although none that show more of the interior of the place. Love these memories. Thank you for taking the time to comment. :)