Beyoncé and ‘Legendary’: Ballroom culture went mainstream. Now it looks to preserve its roots
In the 1950s, American women danced to anthems by jazz legend Sarah Vaughan and the Mills Brothers. At a time when they had been denied the right to vote, their sexual freedom was a cause for celebration.
But over the last few decades, women have been given the right to vote too.
So, how did the woman who gave us the term ‘ballroom’ and was crowned as ‘Ms Billboard’ in 1965 move from high society to a rags-to-riches existence of selling the rights to music?
It is no surprise that during her rise to be the most talked-about female artist of the decade, the singer and dancer was constantly being asked about her early fame.
But her answers, especially during an interview in the 1970s with The New Yorker, have never been fully disclosed.
‘I don’t think it works quite like that. I don’t think you have a magic way to get things to happen,’ Beyoncé said, adding: ‘The world is changing, and I’m not sure how things work in terms of fame and success and so on.’
The most famous ballroom dance steps Beyoncé danced in the 1950s
In the 1970s, she told The New Yorker: ‘There’s nothing magical about it. Fame, you know, the most famous people are the ones who were born to it. My father was a great ballroom dancer, and I’ve always loved dancing.
‘I just had a different set of talents. My mother is an amazing artist – a painter who did a lot of prints while we were growing up. And she never taught me much. I learned to be proud of the things I did, you know, that I made a mark on the world.’
Beyoncé was already enjoying the perks of wealth. She had been given her own label, Columbia Records; built a studio on the shores of the Miami Beach shoreline, and earned a substantial amount of money from her songs.