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The Toddle

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Arthur Murray and Miss Faith Dorsey of Georgia doing the Toddle . circa 1921
The Toddle

         May have sprung up from the earlier Todalo dance (Toddle-O) which was a booty shakin' dance, similar to the 'Chicago' version. It has a smack of Jazz and a splash of the shimmie. The Toddle came into popularity in 1917 and was extremely popular by the College and Flapper Set and found it easier to be springier and bouncy rather than smooth and graceful during a foxtrot. Later about 1921 the Toddle became briefly popular again after a little polishing. The Toddle could be done by some as refined as the minuet or as crude as the Bunny Hug.

   This dance was basically a Foxtrot except with a rise to the ball of the foot on each step creating a bounce (except in Corte's and Doubles), with a sideways direction which was the only change from its original foxtrot steps and done with a non chalant air about it's movement , while sometimes done Cheek-To-Cheek to make it the "Toddle Dance."

The dance was an offshoot of the Foxtrot with a leg flick and some of the steps/pattern names were the rocking step, the Shuffle, The Leg Lift, The Toddle Pivot and Backward Shuffle.

   The Chicago was very similar to the Toddle, except that the toddle's basic rhythm was in the hips, rather than the feet, making it the Chicago.


Birth Place

Creation Date


Dance Type

USA 1910 n/a Collegiate
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Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Sheet Music Covers

Related Music Titles

n/a 1910 - I'm Satisfied (Todalo) 1910 - I'm Satisfied (Todalo)
      1914 - Let's Toddle at the Midnight Ball 1914 - Let's Toddle at the Midnight Ball
      1921 - The Toddle 1921 - The Toddle
      1922 - Chicago (That Toddlin' Town) 2 1922 - Chicago (That Toddlin Town)
            1930 - Toddlin' Along
            1930 - East St. Louis Toodle-oo (Duke)
            1959 - The Toddle
            Don't You Toddle Anymore
            Mississippi Blues (Home Town Toddle)
            Please Put on your Wraps & Toddle Home (Waring)
            $ Sales Tax Toddle
            Tail Toddle (Scots Celtic Tune)
            Toadie Toodle (1938-Kirk)
            Toodle On Down (Louis Jordon)
            Toddling the Todalo

Night Clubs



Persian Room n/a n/a
Rainbow Gardens (Chicago)        



Ballets / Stage

$1950 - Cheaper by the Dozen [DVD] n/a 1930 - Nine - Fifteen Revue


            7/3/1921 - Atlanta Constitution (Magazine Issue) How to Toddle
            Daily Illini (1920s)

Other Related Dances of the time...

Apache Dance Castle Walk Georgia Grind Shimmy
Apple Jack Charleston Gilda Glide Shivers
Argentine Tango Chicago Grapevine, the Sloppy Sailor Walk
Baboon Baby Dance Collegiate, the Grizzly Bear Sugar Foot Stomp
Ballin' The Jack Cootie Tickle Hesitation Waltz Terripan Toddle
Baltimore Buzz Cubanola Glide Hesitation, L' Texas Tommy
Baltimore Todalo, the Cute Little Wigglin' Dance Hitchy-Koo Three Step
Bambuca Dance Coquette Horsetrot Tickle Toe
Black Bottom Darkey Todalo, the Java Tiger, the
Boston, the Dengozo Maxixe Kangaroo Hop Tipperary Twirl
Breakaway Raccoon Dance Lame Duck Todalo (held beats)
Bunny Hug Eagle Rock Maxixe Turkey Trot
Buzzard Lope Five Step Mooch & Sugar Two Step
Calenda Flea Hop One Step Walking the Dog
Camel Walk Fox Trot Peabody Waltz
Castle Glide Frenchy Koo Pussyfoot Prance Whirlwind Waltz
Castle Innovation Tango Funky Butt Sea Sick Glide Voodou
  Gaby Glide    

Dancers, Choreographers etc.


Clifton Webb & Jeanne Crain n/a n/a
Dorothy Day    

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...





$ Jazz Dance: Story of American Vernacular Dance
Stearns, Marshall 1994 DaCapo Press
$ Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History, 1904-1930
William Howland Kenney
1994 Oxford Univ Press

Musicians, Composers etc.


Poets / Writers

Benson Orchestra of Chicago n/a n/a
Bert Grant
Duke Ellington        
Kern, Jerome        
Kirk, Andy        
McRill, Chandos (1959)        
Waring, Fred        

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

Collegiate The Stroll   ??


Basic Steps Fig.1.
Take one walking step with the right foot, draw up the left one to the right, rise gently on the toes, and come down on heels. Take the next walking step with the right foot, draw up left foot, rise on toes, down on heels. Take third walking step with right foot, draw up left, rise on toes and down on heels. All walking steps in the same direction.
Fig. 2.
Take one walking step with the left foot, draw up right, rise on toes, down on heels. Second walking step with left foot, draw up right foot, rise on toes and down on heels. Third walking step with left foot, draw up right, rise on toes, down on heels.
Figs. 3-4.
Reverse walk.
Figs. 4-5.
Man leading to left and dancing Fox Trot step 1, 2, 3, to the side. Repeating the same to the right.
Figs. 5-6.
Repeat the Toddle walking steps as given above, counting two for each step. In toddling any step of the Fox Trot may be toddled if the time of two counts to each step is allowed, altho' the "Old Corte" and doubles are rarely toddled.

November 7, 2012