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  • The Texas Tommy is said by many to be the first swing dance. The main reason being that during this period (1909), all the dances were done in "closed" position, this was supposedly the first modern dance of the time to include the "break-away" step (dancing in open position) while using a basic 8 count rhythm. (The "break-away" step developed into a dance with the same name.) The dance was one of many that originated in the dancehalls of the Barbary Coast redlight district.

    The Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco popularized and legitimized the low dancehall Texas Tommy along with the Bunny hug, Turkey Trot and Grizzly Bear. The hotel had a house band that regularly played the Texas Tommy song and was a major place to be for dancing. Who originated the Texas Tommy is obscure, most likely it was being done and someone capitalized upon it. Some say Johnny Peters, an African-American, developed the Texas Tommy in the Pre-1910s in San Francisco. Peters and Ethel Williams were masters of the dance and danced it regularly at the Fairmont.


    February 26, 2008