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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Half and Half
Half and Half Costume
the Half & Half

                Music wise, The Redowaczka is basically a Galopade and a music change to 2/4 time. When the polka became the vogue, the Redowa and polka merged to become the Redowa-Polka or Half and Half. The Spanish had their "Half and Half's as well. The Menuet Afandangado is partly composed of the Minuet and Fandango. The Menuet Allmandado is intermixed with steps from the Minuet and Allemanda. Other dances as well would merge and later these mixings would be called the Half and Half.

      The Modern term "Half and Half" as a dance was named in 1912 by Vernon Castle. It is basically a comedy routine whereas the dancers costume is half male and half female and the dancer would dance by/with themselves, miming the effect of dancing with oneself. The Cinquante-Cinquante which was invented by Mae Murray and Jack Mason in 1914 was a variation of the Castle's Half and Half.

      The costumes were originally half a tuxedo (and top hat) sewn together with the other half being a ball or cocktail gown or other costume

representing that dance style. The actual "Half and Half" dance was done to Waltz Music, but realistically could be any partner dance or Music.

     Burlesque and Vaudeville would soon start playing with this 'Half-and-Half idea with many female dancers designing whole skits/acts around this idea.

    ... Just a note:
     People have always been mixing dances together, whether because of lacking in knowledge, such as being weaker in one dance and stronger in another or would mix dances just because it was fun or just plain out of boredom. Plus there was a huge need for the Dance Masters of America to create new dances which helped fuel this form of mixing dances for something new. Music changes can make a dancer go from one dance to another as well within the same song. The castles probably noticed this and capitalized on it or just thought they were original, who knows?,  but the costume idea was certainly an original one as well as dancing with oneself.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

New York 1912 The Castles Ballroom / Stage
Order "Dances thru time Video"

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a 1912 - Half and Half 1914 - Drawing Room Echoes

Night Clubs



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Related Films


Ballets / Stage

1939 - The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle [DVD] n/a n/a


            3/1/1914 - Washington Post (Gibson Does Half & Half)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Castle Walk Mime Minuet Allmandado Seguidillas Taleadas
Cinquante-Cinquante Minuet Afandangado Pachanga Waltz
Heel and Toe      

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Audrey Ferris (1920's) Maxine Holman (Lady and the Wolf | Indian Chief) n/a
Beverly Richards (Burlesk '51 Latin Quarter) Nadajan (Burlesque, Beauty and the Beast, Gorilla)  
Dagmar (and the Devil, Burlesque) Pat-Z (Burlesque)  
Diane de Lys (Devil and the Virgin, Burlesque) Preston Gibson (w/ Mrs. Rowland)  
Gene Gemay (Dance of the Devil, Burlesque) Patti Wayne (The Devil's Mistress, Burlesque)  
Irene Castle Roszina (Beauty and the Beast, Burlesque, Gorilla) '30s/40's  
Jack Mason Thelma White (Beauty and the Beast, Burlesque) '30s/40's  
Jade Rhodora (Beauty and the Beast, Burlesque) Von Ray (Burlesque)  
Jean and her Genie Vernon Castle  
Mae Murray Zorita (Bride and Groom, '40s Burlesque)  

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Modern Dancing Castle, Vernon & Irene 1914 Harper & Brothers




Poets / Writers

James Reese Europe? n/a n/a n/a

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

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Art Of Dress 1500-1914
$ Art Of Dress 1500-1914

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