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The Dancing Dozen: 1925

The Dancing Dozen: 1925

New York circa 1925. "Tiller girls." Arriving from England, 12 chorus girls in the troupe originated by British musical-theater impresario and precision-dancing pioneer John Tiller. 5x7 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.


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Killer Shoes, though

The fashions of this period are cruel to women of all ages, shapes and sizes. The shoes, on the other hand, I'd wrestle for.

And yes, folks, perhaps a little less snark. The girls were presumably hired because they danced extremely well and looked good on stage.

Be nice, people!

Second from top left is a genuinely lovely woman, if you ask me. Bottom right is a pretty one as well -- am guessing she was extremely fair and redheaded.

As for the hairstyles, if you look at pictures of women pretty much anywhere in the Western world in the mid-20s, you'll be hard pressed not to find one in a perm-waved bob that stops at the earlobes.

Thanks to the poster who supplied the Wikipedia link. Wikipedia says John Tiller, the founder of the troupe, died the year of this photo, in New York.

Points to ponder

It's lucky for us that they managed to attract a mate and reproduce in spite of their "frumpy" clothing and odd hair styles. Otherwise, some of us might not be here today. Maybe they made up for it with their dancing skills. The third one up on the left is pretty scary.

Save yourselves !

Do not click "View Full Size."

The first 12 pages

Of the "Big Book of British Smiles."

Not so great lengths

I wonder if there was some sort of law in Great Britain at the time stating that all women should have extremely thick hair on top, that must abruptly end at the bottom of the earlobe. Although this photograph was obviously taken on a humid day, frankly, I don't see how hair at this particular length could possibly be combed into anything resembling something intentional.

Pop culture

I just reread Anita Loos' incredible "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "But Gentlemen Marry Brunettes," and the Tiller girls figure prominently (in "Brunettes"). Fun to be able to put faces to the description!


My grandmother was a flapper in the '20s. These fashions and hairstyles were a relatively extreme rebellion. Victorian fashion was long, straight hair and corseted curvy wasp-waists. Grandma got the first haircut of her life in 1920 at age 12 -- a bob! Her father nearly threw her out of the house! To our eyes they may appear frumpy and unattractive, but these girls were at the height of fashion for their time and place.


Shorpy shows its fangs. It's too bad we don't have photo avatars for those who post here.

Not exactly eye candy

Third up on the left could be a guy!


This must have been the precursor to Riverdance and similar troupes.

(Then Tiller went on to create synchronised-swimming, most likely.)

The Dirty Dozen

I seem to recall these young ladies starring in a movie many years later called "The Dirty Dozen," about a ragtag bunch of recruits led by Lee Marvin to go behind enemy lines. But I could be wrong.

Some of them are just downright

ugly! Of course I'm referring to the shoes these fine young ladies are wearing. But you knew what I meant -- didn't you?

Middle left and top right

I'm imagining them as being the inspiration for Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis' roles in "Some Like It Hot."

Couple of cuties, but --

The 1920's fashions had to be some of the WORST of the 20th century! It didn't pay to have must in the way of a bustline or hips as most everyone here looks flat as a pancake. Just ugly, frumpy looking clothing and hairstyles.

Bad hair day?

I guess the ship did not have a salon. Third up on the left was fortunate to have dancing talent.

Ah, England

That explains it.

How Shall I Say This

They must have been great dancers.

Pardon me

I seem to have got a stocking in my ladder.

Goblet pockets

The gal at the top clearly belongs there; she is the height of fashion. Every girl would LOVE to have a dress with goblet pockets!

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