Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Showtime at the Apollo

I walked by the Apollo theatre today on my way to Tarantella Class with Alessandra Belloni. Are you tired of me posting about her yet? Haha sorry. She's a wonderful teacher and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to take up studying with her once again. It's been about 8 years since I last took her classes. Was nice to know that I'm not all that rusty! The moves we did tonight were some of the same ones I used to trance on Saturday. I was very, very careful to keep the locks closed: There was no way I wanted to trance when I had to take public transit home right after!

So again, on the walk to the train, I was pondering the name of the famous theatre and who named it that? And why? Turning to the holy wiki:
Apollo Hall was founded in the mid-19th century by former Civil War General Edward Ferrero as a dance hall and ballroom. Upon the expiration of his lease in 1872, the building was converted to a theater, which closed shortly before the turn of the 20th century... However, the name "Apollo Theater" lived on.
Paisan! He was an Italian whose parent's had paused in Spain when he was born and moved to NYC a year later. In addition to being a soldier, he was the most famous dance instructor of his time.
He educated the wealthy and elite of New York society in the art of dance, and originated many dances that spread in popularity throughout the country. Ferrero became renowned as one of America's leading experts in dance. He worked part-time as a dance instructor at the United States Military Academy and was the author of The Art of Dancing in 1859.
He's from Italy, was a Freemason, and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn; I've hit the trifecta of this blog's mission statement! Italian! Magical! Brooklyn! lol My husband has been looking at me like I'm crazier than usual, especially since I was just doing a little touchdown dance. Dancing for the trifecta? I was at first, but forget that, I've hit the jackpot! has a free copy of the book, The Art of Dancing !

Why is it a jackpot? Aside from the intro being almost entirely about him debunking "the church" on how dancing is the province of "the devil" there is a large section devoted entirely to ancient dances. Make no mistake, it's no "yay for Pagans!" tome: He's as judgmental as expected when it comes to the rites of Bacchus, but he cites ancient writers as sources and so far, backs up his theories with evidence. Sections include titles such as: "Dance among ancient Hebrews," "The Bacchic dances," "the Kybeslesis," "the Memphitic dance," "the Festinalia" and others, including one called "Cabalistic Hat" :-o He also includes various theories on who invested dance, naming candidates such as Castor and Pollux, or Rhea, communicated to her Priests and Priestesses in Crete.

I'm stopping the blog here so I can actually sit down and read the book! So far I'm enjoying it! Care to read along with me? The link will take you right to the book!

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