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Arts feature

The dark history of dance marathons

Stuart Jeffries on the dark history of dance marathons

27 March 2021

9:00 AM

27 March 2021

9:00 AM

On 31 March 1923, Alma Cummings put her feet into a bowl of cold water. Then, tired-eyed but smiling obligingly for the photographer, she held up her dancing shoes. There were holes in both soles. Cummings had just finished a 27-hour stint of waltzing at a Manhattan ballroom, wearing out not just her shoes, but six male partners in the process.

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