Since prehistoric times people have danced. Whether celebrating at special occasions, preserving their cultural heritage, or just having a good time, Nebraskans like to dance. In Nebraska Memories you can find some great examples.
Folk dancing was popular at the Nebraska State Normal Schools in Kearney and Wayne. In the photo above from the University of Nebraska Kearney collection young women are participating in a May Pole Dance. In this picture from the Wayne State College collection a Folk Dancing Class is performing. When these women graduated and began teaching, they probably taught their students to folk dance.
Speaking of having a good time, by the early 20th century, establishments like the Soukup and Petrzilka Tavern in Brainard had sprung up in many Nebraska towns. The white building attached to the back of the tavern in this pre-1911 photo from the Boston Studio collection was a dance hall. Can’t you imagine the patrons dancing to a Czech polka band and enjoying the Storz beer advertised on the outside wall of the tavern?
The Durham Museum Collection includes the two photos below. The 1939 picture on the left makes me wonder if the folks watching the band at the ballroom at Klug Park were there to jitterbug. They certainly are packed into the room, which must have been pretty hot on that July day! The couple on the right at a 1938 dance at the Logan Hotel are more formally dressed at what was probably a private party.
Visit Nebraska Memories to search for or browse through many more historical images digitized from photographs, negatives, postcards, maps, lantern slides, books and other materials.
Nebraska Memories is a cooperative project to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet. Nebraska Memories is brought to you by the Nebraska Library Commission. If your institution is interested in participating in Nebraska Memories, see http://nlc.nebraska.gov/nebraskamemories/participation.aspx for more information, or contact Beth Goble, Historical Services Librarian, or Devra Dragos, Technology & Access Services Director.