Dance is not only a celebration and a ritual, it is a marker of history.
The Highlands Museum and Discovery Center’s latest exhibit makes use of dance as a reflection of the past in “Dancing Through the Decades: 1920 through 1950.”
Curator Carolyn Warnock said the exhibit, which will run through February, will coincide with the Dancing With Our Stars, scheduled for Feb. 8.
Organized by decade, the exhibit includes dresses from the museum’s vast clothing collection, as well as record players, records, radios and sheet music.
Warnock said in each decade, starting with the Charleston in the 1920s, dances were very scandalous.
“Women threw away their corsets and long gloves,” Warnock said. “It was a decade of suffrage. It was a very radical decade.”
The exhibit includes a cylinder disc player, a precursor to the Victrola, which is also represented. The cylinder disc player was common in homes in the 1920s and was invented by Thomas Edison.
The 1930s display includes radios — it was the Golden Age of Radio —which were the entertainment center for most families.
The 1940s display includes a tribute to dancers Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and the 1960s includes references to the television program “American Bandstand” and a shift in style of song lyrics that relate to teenagers.
The museum also provides a children’s area at the end of the exhibit with a dance floor and dress-up section so children can burn some energy creatively with a dance, perhaps one inspired by something they saw in the exhibit.
LEE WARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2661.