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The 1947 Harvest Moon Ball

December 8, 2021
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Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

NOTES:

As we go into the great Lindy Hoppers of the 1940s and 50s, a frustrating aspect to research has been the lack of information on the women dancers of this time. And the original dancers of this era we are interviewing — Sugar Sullivan, Gloria Thompson, Sonny Allen — seem to share in this frustration. They truly wish they could tell us more. There is simply much more information on the Harlem men of this era than the women. (This will change for the 60s and 70s, where there is quite a lot of information on the women of the time, many of whom are still with us.) We will keep working hard to uncover as much information as we can. Until more is learned about them, enjoy the artistry they brought to the dance floor in the clips, and seeing their names next to their dancing.

What happened to our 1946 essay? Like our 1941 essay, we are missing some key information to finish identifications in the footage. However, if we had the listing of the competitors from the Harvest Moon Ball program, it would make our lives a lot easier. So, if you happen to be in possession of a 1946 or 1941 program, we would love to have a picture of the Jitterbug listings!

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The 1945 Harvest Moon Ball

October 14, 2021
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Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

(Limited footage for this year)

So far, the only footage of the 1945 HMB we have seen is of the servicemen’s division.

Victory & Dancing

In April of 1945, the man most responsible for the death of millions of Jewish people, LGBTQ+ folks, political activists, Europian civilians, and both Allied and Axis soldiers, put a pistol to his head and took one last life. After Adolf Hitler’s death, it was only a few days before Germany surrendered. Though war in the Pacific would rage until September, America allowed itself to begin celebrating. The theme of the 1945 Harvest Moon Ball was “Victory.”

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The 1944 Harvest Moon Ball

September 30, 2021

Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

No footage for this year

So far, we have not seen footage of the 1944 Harvest Moon Ball. We assume there is some out there in newsreel archives, but until it becomes available, enjoy this brief essay on the year’s HMB.

Delimmas & Dancing

In 1944, an interesting study was published by the Carnegie Institute of New York. You see, seven years earlier, around the time Gladys Crowder & Eddie “Shorty” Davis were winning the 1937 Harvest Moon Ball, the institute had desired to study race in America, and felt they needed an outside opinion; so they hired Swedish sociologist Gunnar Mydral to lead the project. Mydral was aided by head researcher, and all-around incredible Black American scholar, Ralph Bunche.

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The 1943 Harvest Moon Ball

September 7, 2021
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Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. This is the shorter snack-sized version. For a more in- depth look at the HMB and Harlem at this time, check out the Geek Out version here. To see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

A Strange Year

1943 was a strange year for the HMB coverage. There were hardly any pictures of dancing from the ball, and none that we could find of the Savoy dancers, who usually had at least two or three every year. We also don’t have a program with the number listings for this year currently — but, it wouldn’t matter much if we did, because the couple 1943 newsreels we’ve found show only three couples of Harlem dancers and one hard-to-make-out number tag. It doesn’t help that, to our knowledge, none of the Harlem finalists except one are seen in any other footage or mentioned in dance history. So, needless to say, until we get more footage, or more information, this year’s IDs are going to remain quite a mystery. There’s still a few seconds of great Lindy to see, though.

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The 1943 Harvest Moon Ball (GEEK OUT)

September 7, 2021

Venmo: @bobbyswungover

This is part of the Harvest Moon Ball essay series. This is the longer Geek Out version with a more in-depth look at the HMB and Harlem at this time. For the shorter, snack-sized version, click hereTo see all the Harvest Moon Ball essays, please visit Swungover’s HMB page.

A Strange Year

1943 was a strange year for the HMB coverage. There were hardly any pictures of dancing from the ball, and none that we could find of the Savoy dancers, who usually had at least two or three every year. We also don’t have a program with the number listings for this year currently — but, it wouldn’t matter much if we did, because the couple 1943 newsreels we’ve found show only three couples of Harlem dancers and one hard-to-make-out number tag. It doesn’t help that, to our knowledge, none of the Harlem finalists except one are seen in any other footage or mentioned in dance history. So, needless to say, until we get more footage, or more information, this year’s IDs are going to remain quite a mystery. There’s still a few seconds of great Lindy to see, though. So there’s that.

Read more…