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Dance MarathonDance Marathon  Ron Barber Studio

A Crescent Youth Theatre Production

11 - 13 March 2004 at 7.45pm

The Crescent Youth Theatre is proud to present their 2004 show, Dance Marathon! 

From the Horace McCoy novel, ‘They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?’  we have created a part-scripted and part-devised piece of theatre.  To create the show, the young people researched the 1930’s American phenomenon of dance marathons.

Dance Marathons were held against the back-drop of the Depression, where the average person had no hope of employment and often went hungry.  Contestants would enter Dance Marathons enticed by the promise of free food, free medical care, a bed for the duration of the contest and a grand prize of $1500.  They would dance for two hours and then have a ten minute break and this would continue for 24 hours, seven days a week for as long as 6 months!  

The novel, ‘They Shoot Horses…’, gave us the inspiration for the different characters that decide to enter, organise and watch a dance marathon.  In the extreme environment of sleep deprivation, tempers run high and there are fights, shootings and arguments.  In the rare moments of calm, the dancers (often called horses) admit that entering the dance marathon is a way of delaying “real” life and escaping the harsh realities of America in the throes of the Depression.

We have used different types of theatre to create this piece; dance, naturalism, stylised and physical theatre  The overriding feeling of the piece is that of time passing slowly for the characters (hopefully not for the audience!) and their desperate dreams of the prize money, equivalent to a year’s wages

Production Photographs.

Dance Marathon Dance Marathon

Box Office: 0121 643 5858
The Crescent Theatre, Sheepcote Street, Birmingham B16 8AE. Company No: 699933, Charity No: 245054