The Peabody: Saving An American Original (expanded edition)

In my article I revealed that it is possible that the Peabody was named after the infamous New York police captain William Frank Peabody. I have been able to find two instances of him winning dance competitions and I’ve included those sources so that you need not take my word for it and also to aid other researchers. I also relayed my doubts as to him being obese and thus using an outside partner position, as it appears he was an amateur boxing champion of some stature and clearly fit, again I’ve included that source below.

1910 April 24 New York Herald – Peabody was a Boxer

1913 Dec 28 NY Times – Captain Peabody wins One Step and Turkey Trot competition

1914 Aug 15 Brooklyn Life – Peabody wins dance competition












I also mentioned that the Peabody was a variant of One Step and that all vintage sources were clear about that, to this end I’ve included a few sources to demonstrate as such.

April 24, 1915 Philadelphia Evening Ledger pg8
Peabody One-Step is New York’s latest hit.

Oct 3, 1915 Boston Globe. Ad mentions classes on One Step with Peabody variations











The above advertisement to the right is quite interesting, as it’s evident that Peabody was not a completely separate form, but rather added to the One Step lexicon.


One Response to “The Peabody: Saving An American Original (expanded edition)”

  1. Forrest Outman August 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm #

    A reader contacted me with this inquiry and I thought I would publicly post his question and my reply so that others can learn from it.

    “My wife and I tried a bit of Peabody this morning. I was leading a bit of teapotting and she asked if that was me or part of the dance. I told her I’d ask. I’m not sure if the rest of the world calls it teapotting, but we do in Pittsburgh. It’s the side to side bending at the waist like when a kid does “I’m a Little Teapot” Thanks, John”

    In a word NO, that action is not part of the Peabody One Step.

    The Peabody is a variant of One Step, which is based on the Turkey Trot, though it changed the hold and removed the swaying action. The Turkey Trot was commonly performed with what you describe as “Teapotting”, however it was by laymen who didn’t know better. Turkey Trot actually used Sway from the hips and knee bend and not a bend of the waist to create such actions. The One Step and Peabody don’t utilize a constant sway in the fundamental figures but rather in specific figures at higher levels. Peabody and One Step are relatively smooth dances with occasional hops, kicks, and trots. The vintage form used steps on the ball of the foot and only much later used heel leads as that was quite uncommon in American partner dances (i.e. Ballroom) until much later when the natural walk was adopted.

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