Maurice describes “The Maurice Glide” to The El Paso Herald, April 6, 1912

Dancers Maurice Mouvet (1889-1927) and Florence Walton (1890-1981), were instructors and performance partners particularly known for their version of the tango.  They were married married from 1911 to 1920.  In the following newspaper article, dated April 6, 1912, Mr. Mouvet, writing as “Maurice,” described a new step which he named “The Maurice Glide.”

The Maurice Glide El Paso herald., April 06, 1912, Week-End Edition, Page 24, Image 24

The Maurice Glide El Paso Herald, April 06, 1912, Week-End Edition, Page 24, Image 24

The print is somewhat small.  Here it is transcribed:

            “The “Maurice Glide” was specially invented for the ballroom, because its steps and movements can be equally performed by a couple dressed in regulation evening wear, who would otherwise be unable to do the various acrobatic “glides,” etc., required in other new dances.

            This dance is a combination of the waltz, two-step, the glides and slides of the turkey trot, the shuffle and some original movements.

MAURICE AND FLORENCE WALTON ILLUSTRATING ONE OF THE ATTRACTIVE POSITIONS IN THE “MAURICE GLIDE”

            After I have been dancing a certain dance for a long time I begin to tire of it and invent a new one. In the course of the last few years I danced the Mattchiche and the Apache dances in Paris and Vienna, creating new steps for them when I got tired of the old ones, and it has been the same this winter after I had danced the Turkey Trot and the Tango. Miss Florence Walton, my graceful partner and I introduced a new dance which I originated and which I call the “Maurice Glide.”

            As long as the public continues to demand the Argentine-African dances, being the servant of the public I shall supply them, but I like to be just a little ahead of the times and add to the steps I have already danced a few new ones over which I have worked.

            There is always something new in dancing each season, though usually what is new is very old in reality.

            The Turkey Trot is as old as the first dance hopped by Africans over their cannibalistic feast, and the Russian dances have been in existence for hundreds of years, but of course, we take those same steps or the African shuffle and modernize them to suit our present idea of style and clothes in which they are being danced. A lady and gentleman in evening attire can’t dance as Miss Isadora Duncan does or as stage dancers and acrobats do.

            Much of the dancing I have done on the stage this winter can be limited to the ballroom without the slightest difficulty, and I think that is the reason it has been so popular.

            Now the “Maurice Glide” is a combination of the popular ballroom dances, the waltz, two-step, the glides and slides of the trot, the shuffle and a new ingredient, partly Oriental, partly my own invention entirely.

            The “Maurice glide” requires music which changes from two-four-to-three-four time that is from two-step to waltz step. The waltz step is done as usual, only I occasionally hold my partner at arm’s length so to speak – that is, with arms extended. Sometimes I place my hands on her waist, she placing her’s on my shoulders.

            The two-step is done with a very decided rock of the body to one side and then to the other and dragging the feet over the floor in a shuffling “rag” step.

            There are a great many different ways of shuffling, as you know, if you have ever seen a real cakewalk, but the modern adaptation is not the heavy shuffle of the flat-footed laborer, but a light, brisk shuffle that imitates the heaviness without really having it.

            Now for the glides, I take my partner’s hand, hold the arm outstretched and grasp her firmly around the waist with the other, she placing her left hand on my shoulder. We face toward the right, bend toward the right, slide with that foot and bring the body into a crouching position while the foot is extended.

            The foot is drawn back, body raised again. This keeps the body in about the same spot, the movement being only made with the feet. When we slide across the stage the left foot is drawn after the right, providing the slide is done with the right foot and the crouching of the body done by bending the knees, not the body, brings action into an otherwise simple step.

            After the slide is done in this way, I step behind my partner and we continue our glissades in the position seen in the picture. To get back into the regular dancing position at the finish of the two-four measures I release one hand and give a slight pull with the other hand, which holds the lady.

            This gives her the impetus and with a twirl she comes back into the correct position for the waltz, which is as low and languorous as the slides were emphatic and marked.

            At a given measure of the two-four time we separate, each doing the Turkey Trot step toward each other, but without advancing perceptibly. Here the hands are held up, palms in the air in the Oriental manner.

            The step is somewhat Chinese and is the first of a new kind of dancing which, I think, will succeed the Turkey Trot and the Tango, when those popular favorites have had their day.”

Mr. Mouvet writes with all the ego and racial insensitivity one might expect from an Edwardian dance instructor who prefers one name to two.

This article was found at Chronicling America.  The photograph was made available by the Library of Congress, which believes it is subject to no known restrictions on publication.

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