Wharton films prompt waltz of dance in the Northern Neck

by Denise DeVries

James Wharton’s films from the 1920s and 1930s show dance performances on various occasions, including one during a break in a boxing match in a schoolyard.

Wharton’s Lost Films of the Northern Neck are now showing at the Rappahannock Art League Studio Gallery, 19 North Main Street, Kilmarnock. The community is invited to view the footage and related photos to help identify faces and places from the past.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Members of the Wharton Films Project will be at the gallery every Saturday in May to record memories. Folks also are urged to visit the Wharton Films Project page on Facebook.

According to “encyclopediavirginia.org,” dance teacher William Levington opened the first theater in British North America in 1718 in Williamsburg. There, audiences of different classes saw solo or company dances between theatrical performances. Colonists brought social dancing customs from Europe and as Virginians became more prosperous, elegant balls were held in private homes. These events introduced many young ladies into society.


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