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1890s Female Acrobatic Dancers
Adagio and Acrobatic Dance (This page deals with Adagio and dance Acrobatics)

    While the French call it Adage, the term Adagio is Italian in origin. Adagio is "any dance" (quote "any") dance or combination of steps done to slow music as contrasted or followed up with allegro. In ballet, adagio is a series of lessons designed to develop grace, balance and a sense of ones line. Adagio is part of the classic "pas de deux" as danced by the ballerina and her partner (the danseur.)

     Allegro basically is the opposite of adagio, it is "any dance or combination of steps" done to a moderate or fast tempo. Is part of a ballet lesson usually following adagio while all forms of jumps, leaps, turns in the air are all part of allegro.

     Adagio, as done by a couple or exhibition dancers is usually a very romantic type of dance routine which usually portrays a type of love affair but can be different in its performance. The dance when done correctly can make you cry, or make you stand and cheer as it does have in impact on the audience. It is beautiful to watch as well as breath-taking when done correctly.

    Acrobatic dances are very similar to Adagio dances and many times use the same training and can contain elements of Gymnastics. Acrobatic basically means Lifts, Flips or Aerials done with speed and surprise and in which they are usually called "Tricks." Gymnastics (Rock and Roll, Swing etc.) can play a part as well. Acrobatic dances are done more in the rhythm dances such as Hustle, many forms of Swing such as Lindy, Jitterbug, European Rock and Roll plus other dances such as Latin, Ballroom and Tap dances, as well as smooth dances such as Waltz, Tango and Apache.

     Originally dance acrobatics was just considered tumbling. Many of the best early dance acrobatic / tumblers were African American, such as Henry Bolden, Acott and Bailey, the Tomi Trio, The Crackerjacks, Gaines Brothers, and Rastus and Banks who worked on the ground doing Somersaults, Cartwheels, Flip-Flops, Knee-drops, Splits, Butterflies, flips and spins. One of the first to use Acrobatics with dance was Sherman Coates of the Watermelon Trust which consisted of two men (Grundy and Coates) and their wives (Lulu and ???) around 1900. Acrobatics and Adagio found their way into the couples dance world such as exhibition dancers in Theatres and Nightclubs. One such group was the Whitey's Lindy Hoppers who called their Acrobatic stunts "Air Steps." These acrobatics lend themselves to dance because of the relatively ease in which they could be done but required a lot of practicing to prevent injury.

     The lifts are dependent on the female knowing her part while the man is only the assistant (a helper.) Adagio is not dependent on the males "strength," although the appearances will be as such and it does help. It is more important that both male and female know their separate parts. An example is the picture to left of this page, it shows two ladies doing "Acrobatic Dancing" and as you can see the follower being much bigger than the leader. (Adagio was also called "acrobatic Dancing.") There were many female acrobatic dance couples in the early part of the century, a sort of novelty if you will.

     Note: Lifts should not be done socially by untrained social dancers, followers can get extremely hurt as well as others around them. The Clip on the left shows Adagio dance lifts being done in the Hustle dance by Eddie Vega.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Italy 1500s? n/a Exhibition

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music Titles

n/a n/a Adagio in E Flat
L. Adagio (Sheppard)
Adagio, Allegro (Albrechtsberger)
Adagio in Gb (Alkan)
I Musici, Barber: adagio/Bartok (LP)

Night Clubs



Savoy Ballroom n/a n/a
Empire Room (Palmer House)
Empire, Glasgow

film clips

TV / Films with Lifts/Tricks

Television Dance Shows


Clip not available at this time 1900s - Exotic & Acrobatic Dances [DVD] 1952 - Ed Sullivan Show - Adrea Dancers (Clip) Rose Adagio-Ballet
Clip not available at this time 1904 - Japanese Acrobats (Edison) 1954 - Colgate Comedy Hour - Janik & Arnaut(Clip) Many Ballets over time
Clip not available at this time 1920s - Pathe Newsreel: "A Time to remember"1: White/Manning American Bandstand (1970s)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1920's - Gaston and Andre (Bikini) Dance Fever (1980s)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1929 - Hollywood Revue (Natova Dancers) Star Search (1980s)
Clip not available at this time 6/30/1930 Pathe Newsreel: "Stepping Out" (w/ Vanda & Vladimer)
Clip not available at this time 10/12/1931 - Pathe Newsreel: "Beate Branda"
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1936 - Soft Lights and Sweet Music
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1937 - Calling All Stars (Bega Four dancers)
Clip not available at this time 1937 - Day at the Races [DVD] (Swing)
Clip not available at this time 1940s - Dancing Thru [DVD]
Clip not available at this time 1940 - Dolls on Parade (Pathtone 541) Avant Bros.
Clip not available at this time 1943 - Cabin In The Sky [DVD] (Swing)


Clip not available at this time 1944 - Spirit of Liberty (Path Pictorial 413) Avant Bros. 4/1930 - The Passing Show Magazine
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1950s - Ganjou Brothers and Jaunita (Acrobatic)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1960s - Bal Caron Trio
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1960s - Sunday Night at the London Palladium (Dior Dancers)
Clip not available at this time 1971 - Ballet Adagio [DVD]
Clip not available at this time Entertainers in British Films: a century in British Cinema
Clip not available at this time Killer Diller [DVD](Lindy Swing)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Hellzapoppin (Lindy Swing)
Clip not available at this time

Other Related Dances ...

Acrobatic Dancing Flash Dance (Tap) Mambo Tango
Allegro German Rock & Roll (European) Modern Jazz Tap
Apache Dance Hustle Russian Dance Waltz
Ballet Jitterbug Salsa West Coast Swing
Ballroom Lindy Hop Swing in General Whirlwind Waltz

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

1880 - Paul Gerdt 1930s - Vanda and Vladimer 1949 - Newman Twins (Acrobatic)
1905 - Miss Craske & Gabriella Ray 1930's - Whitey's Lindy Hoppers 1950's - Champions, the
1906 - Maurice Mouvet & Walton (Apache) 1931 - Beate Branda (Bradlia?) 1950's - Dior Dancers (Ganjou's)
1920's - Crackerjacks 1934 - Mel & Nita Wolf 1950's - Augie and Margo Rodriguez
1920's - Gaston and Andre 1936 - Alexis and Isolde 1950's+ - The Szonys
1920's - Marque & Marquette 1940's - De Marcos, the 1953 - Three Romonos, The (Comedy, Tumbling, etc)
1920's - Natova Dancers 1940's - Ganjou Brothers and Jaunita 1970's+ - Billy Fajardo
1920's - Tommy Woods (Slow Acrobatic) 1940's - Louis Hightower 1980's - Eddie Vega
1920's - White and Manning (Pathe Newsreel) 1940's - Ralph and Lorraine 1980's+ - The Savoys
1926 - Micheline Bardin 1941 - Acromaniacs 1990's - Tom Slater (with Kate Caplin)
1928 - Berinoff & Merova 1941 - Yacopis Troupe 1990's - The Appels
1930's - Jeannie Francis & Jerry Grey 1948 - Diane and Gray (Acrobatic) Penny Singleton (Acrobatic Dance Champ)
1930's - Nicholas Brothers (Flash, Tap) 1949 - Botands, the (Acrobatic)

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


Dance Encyclopedia Anatole Chujoy 1949 A.S. Barnes
Dig Magazine (title-Dance Lesson#2 - Aerial) 3/1957 n/a
$ Jazz Dance Marshall and Jean Stearns 1964 DaCapo Press



Song Writers

Sheppard, John (c.1515-1560) n/a n/a
Albrechtsberger, Johann Georg (1736-1809)
Alkan, Charles Valentin (1813-1888)

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

Aerial's Death Drop Harvest Moon Ball "Tricks"
Adagio Whip Flips Lifts Window Shade, the
Adagio Snake Flying Dutchman, the The Waterfall


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