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Streetswings Dance History Archives: Kinkajou
Passapae and Webster doing the Kinkajou dance (1927)
Streetswings Dance History Page: Kinkajou Dance History Origins

            The Kinkajou was a lively dance for young people. It coud be done as a solo, group or coupes dance. It was created by Mrs. Edna Passapae (Passpae) after Ada May's dance routine she did in the stage version of Rio Rita. Edna debuted the dance at the Dance Master's of America (D.M.A.) convention on August 22nd. 1927, which also won the first place prize at the event. The movie version had the Kinkajou in it with Dorothy Lee but was cut out of the film however the chorus from the original cast was still used in the film.

      It is made up of simple elements combined to form a merry little rhythm: The strut step, little side steps, Glides, a heel step or grind in open position and the final step is a "Twinkle." It did have great variety, if you know your kinkajous, and was danced by old and young, the stout or thin, and is said to only need a good Foxtrot song to guide it.

     This dance placed first pick by the D.M.A. (Dance Masters of America) and the Kinkajou was said to "Be the dance to replace the Charleston and Black Bottom", however it did not. Other dances introduced along with the Kinkajou were the Dixie Stomp and Lindbergh Glide. The Photo

(upper left) is of Mrs. Passapae and Mr. Webster doing a two armed wrap pattern from the Kinkajou in 1927.

      There is also the small furry animal called a kinkajou, known as the "night walker" in Belize, is a nocturnal animal which lives among the upper canopy of the tropical forest. Don't know if there is any name relation to this but thought I would post it anyway.

   The Kinkajou is known as an animal that is native to central America and seems to be a cross between a bear, an armadillo and a monkey. It looks like a bear except that it is only about a foot long and has a long tail which has the grip of a boa constrictor. Its hands and feet are like those of a monkey. It seems this animal was of some interest in the mid 1920s.

Sometimes spelled as Kinbajou and Kinkayu outise of the USA.

Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

Newark, USA 8/22/1927 Mrs. Edna Passapae / Ada May Ballroom

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Music preview clip

Music Titles

n/a n/a Video Clip not available at this time Following The Sun Around [CD] the Kinkajou (Rio Rita)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Kinkajou (Les Baxter)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Kinkajou (McCarthy and Tierney)
Video Clip Pop-Up Window
Kinkajou (Nat Shilkret and the Vistor Orch.)

Night Clubs



Berthana, the (1928) n/a n/a
Coliseum, the (Ohio, 1927)        
Quilty's College (Connecticut)        

Films / Movies


Ballets / Stage

1930 - Rio Rita (w/ Bebe Daniels) Star Theatre (1928) 1927 - Rio Rita - The Kinkajou (Ada May)
      Tivoli Theatre  


            8/25/1927 - Daily Herald Times - Press (Article)
            8/29/1927 - Charleston Daily Mail (Kinkajou Article)
            9/14/1927 - Woodland Daily Democrat
            6/1/1928 - Daily Northwestern (Popular in UK)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Baltimore, the Foxtrot Lindbergh Glide Stop Trot Yankee Prance
Black Bottom Glides (various) Lindbergh Wave Waltz Strut Waltz
Boston Stomp Gigolo, the ? Masked Dance, the ? Tango, the  
Charleston Heebie Jeebies Shuffle Off To Buffalo The Tickle-Toe  
Dixie Stomp Kinkajou Foxtrot      

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


A.J. Webster (1927) MR. Harold F. Christensen and Miss Lillian Smith (1928) n/a
Miss Catherine Sullivan (1927) Mr. Janell Turpin and Francis Borchard (1928)  
Dorothy Lee (1930) Ludwig & Fanny Mae Bell (1927)  
Miss Elby (w/ Marty Hogan) Mr. Marty Hogan & Miss Martin (1927 Ohio)  
Mrs. Edna Rothard Passpae (1927)    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...



Date Published


The Dance Magazine n/a 11/1927 n/a




Poets / Writers

Carl Fenton's Orchestra n/a n/a n/a
Constance Mering/Muriel Pollock          
Les Baxter            

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

n/a n/a n/a -


Song Lyrics: The Kinkajou
"When you do the Kinkajou,
You dance before you think you do ..."
The Tickle-Toe
"Everybody ought to know,
How to do the Tickle-Toe ..."
Thou Swell
"Thou swell! Thou witty! Thou sweet! ...

Hear me holler,
I chose a sweet Lollapaloosa in thee"
Shuffle Off To Buffalo "I'll go home and get my panties,
You go home and get your scanties, And away we'll go"
Rhode Island Is Famous For You
"Pencils come from Pencilvania,
Vests from Vest Virginia, And tents from Tentasee..."