A Dance Marathon was a fad introduced in 1923. It was a big celebration that everyone looked forward to. People would dance so much that they literally dropped. The Dance Marathons were important because they offered young people an opportunity to socialize and express themselves on weekends, and they also had a chance to make a large amount of money.
People went to these dance marathons once a week. This gave them a chance to get together with their friends and show off some of latest moves. The biggest and best dances in the 1920's were the Charleston, Fox Trot, and the Shimmy. These expressive dances reflected the daring times in which they lived. .
In addition, these dance contests offered the unemployed a small fortune. This was important, especially during the Great Depression. Prizes ranged anywhere between $1000 to $5000. Those who didn't participate for the money participated so that they could have food and shelter which the dance marathons provided. .
People were so into the dance marathons that they would dance for days and even weeks at a time. The dance contests were usually allowed a small 15 minutes for a break or rest for every hour of dancing, they did. The people who succeeded were the ones who did not stop moving, style to the judges did not matter. You may not believe this but the longest dance record ever recorded was a total of three weeks of dancing! .
Many times police officers tried to shut down these dance marathons because of health risks. One health risk was utter exhaustion, in which people would dance until they just dropped. Others actually died from exhaustion. So, the Dance Marathons ended in 1940. .
Dance Marathons were an important part of the 1920's. They were tests of endurance that provided an escape and a chance to make some money during the Depression. Maybe Dance Marathons will be renewed in the 21st Century.