Flams — often referred to as “dudeflappers” — were “a kind of girlie, flirty dance form of American cultural and political expression” that flourished in the 1930s and 1940s, said a New York City-based historian called William E. Garton.
“They came from all over the United States, from Europe and across Africa, along with South American dancers from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Argentina,” Mr. Garton said of the earliest flappers. Many of these flappers worked in hotels or in the factories of Manhattan’s garment districts, he said.
The work was dangerous and dangerous — as we all know. For a long time after World War II, many flapping workers were locked up in jails for their activity. When the flappers organized into unions, flapper leaders tried to get the courts to put them behind bars for non-violent crime, such as smoking dope.
During the 1960s, flapper artists were forced to leave nightclubs to earn their living but kept on doing what they loved — flapping.
But the popularity of flappers began to wane in the 1970s and 1980s.
A flapper dance performance at the Plaza Hotel, circa 1975. (Photo: Robert Schilling) More
“These are the last days of the flapper,” said Mr. Garton. He said many flapper families abandoned the art form over this last decade.
“Some flappers are on their deathbeds, and if you ask them if they know of a dance form they like that has more life and is bigger than flapping, I don’t think they can name one,” he said.
Now, for the last time, a flapper party is being held in New York on Saturday: “Marilyn Flapper’s American Dance,” he said. Mr. Garton said he’ll be selling flapper costumes, flapper memorabilia, moccasins and a flapper party banner, as well as the art form itself.
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