A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006. Now a Popeyes fast food restaurant on Google Maps.

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Entry from August 02, 2022
Canned Apple (Big Apple dance + Can-Can dance)

Brooklyn-born jazz singer and entertainer Adelaide Hall (1901-1993), with the help of Anita Lou Mason of Los Angeles, developed the “Canned Apple” dance, a hybrid of the American “Big Apple” dance and the French “Can-Can” dance. The dance was performed at Hall’s Paris nightclub, La Grosse Pomme, in December 1937.

“When the dancers of the Canned Apple move into a circle everyone must kick straight over their heads, holding their shin to their nose, and when the dance reaches its climax everyone leaps into the air and comes down in a split,” Hall explained to the United Press on December 7, 1937.


Wikipedia: Adelaide Hall
Adelaide Louise Hall (20 October 1901 – 7 November 1993) was an American-born UK-based jazz singer and entertainer. Her long career spanned more than 70 years from 1921 until her death and she was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance. Hall entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 2003 as the world’s most enduring recording artist, having released material over eight consecutive decades.

Wikipedia: Big Apple (dance)
The Big Apple is both a partner dance and a circle dance that originated in the Afro-American community of the United States in the beginning of the 20th century.

Wikipedia: Can-can
The can-can (also spelled cancan as in the original French /kɑ̃kɑ̃/) is a high-energy, physically demanding dance that became a popular music-hall dance in the 1840s, continuing in popularity in French cabaret to this day. Originally danced by couples, it is now traditionally associated with a chorus line of female dancers. The main features of the dance are the vigorous manipulation of skirts and petticoats, along with high kicks, splits, and cartwheels.

Newspapers.com
8 December 1937, The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), sec. 1, pg. 8, cols. 1-2:
Big Apple, French Can-Can
United In ‘The Canned Apple’

Paris, Dec. 7 (U.P.)—Adelaide Hall, a dusky dancer from Brooklyn, took a few shakes from the Big Apple tonight and tossed them in with the naughtiest movements of the French Can-can, called it “The Canned Apple” and dared the folks back home to imitate it.

The hybrid “Canned Apple” will have its premiere tomorrow night in one of the Pigalle hot-spots of Montmarte when the Big Apple Cafe opens with the double attraction of free drinks and Adelaide.

As Adelaide described it, the “Canned Apple” is sort of a pantomime of a young lady with a nest of hornets in her bustle.

The Brooklyn dancer, who came to Paris with Josephine Baker and the “Blackbirds” show troupe, had intended to give Parisians an out-and-out Big Apple.

“But the French, who have been accustomed to the Can-can with its athletic gyrations for more than fifty years, the Big Apple would look like child’s play,” she said. “So we had to make the Big Apple more difficult.”

Adelaide was sure “The Canned Apple” wouldn’t get very far back home.

“Oh, no, not because it is so difficult,” she said, but, you see, it has to be done with the same costumes Can-can dancers wear. You know, lace-trimmed panties with black silk hose and side garters.”

Adelaide wears a little something above the lace-trimmed do-dads, but the Can-can girls at the Bal Tabarin don’t.

“When the dancers of the Canned Apple move into a circle everyone must kick straight over their heads, holding their shin to their nose, and when the dance reaches its climax everyone leaps into the air and comes down in a split.”

Newspapers.com
8 December 1937, Daily News (Los Angeles, CA), pg. 14, col. 2:
New Can-Can
Embraces
Apple Dance

By HAROLD ETTLINGER
Paris, Dec. 7 (U.P.)—Adelaide Hall, a dusky dancer from Brooklyn, took a few shakes from the big apple tonight and tossed them in with the naughtiest movements of the French can-can, called it “the canned apple” and dared the folks back home to imitate it.

The hybrid “canned apple” will have its premiere tomorrow night in one of the Pigalle hot-spots of Montmarte when the Big Apple Cafe opens with the double attraction of free drinks and Adelaide.

As Adelaide described it, the “canned apple” is sort of a pantomime of a young lady with a nest of hornets in her bustle.

The Brooklyn dancer, who came to Paris with Josephine Baker and the “Blackbirds” show troupe, had intended to give Parisians an out-and-out Big Apple.

“But the French, who have been accustomed to the Can-can with its athletic gyrations for more than fifty years, the Big Apple would look like child’s play,” she said. “So we had to make the big apple more difficult.”

Adelaide was sure “the canned apple” wouldn’t get very far back home.

“Oh, no, not because it is so difficult,” she said, but, you see, it has to be done with the same costumes Can-can dancers wear. You know, lace-trimmed panties with black silk hose and side garters.”

Adelaide wears a little something above the lace-trimmed do-dads, but the Can-can girls at the Bal Tabarin don’t.

Aiding Adelaide in developing the “canned apple” was Anita Lou Mason of Los Angeles, who was the first American girl ever to do a can-can feature at the Bal Tabarin.

“There’s no dance in the world so difficult as the can-can,” said Anita, who came to Paris after graduation from Hollywood High School. “It has terrific speed, kicking, splits and handsprings.”

Newspapers.com
8 December 1937, Daily News (New York, NY), pg. 6y1, cols. 2-3:
Can-Can + Big Apple
Equals Canned Apple

By HAROLD ETTLINGER.
(United Press Staff Correspondent)
(Same article as above. A photo of Adelaide Hall is added, and two paragraphs about Josephine Baker are added at the end.—ed.)

Newspapers.com
21 January 1938, Montreal (Quebec) Daily Star, pg. 12, col. 2:
“Canned" Apple
Paris Puts the “Kick” in Modern Dance

PARIS, Jan. 21—(B.U.P.)—America’s latest dance craze, the “Big Apple Dance” has got to Paris where it has been grafted on to the French Can-Can to make the “Canned Apple Dance.”

The Can-Can puts the kick into it.

To the shakes, shrugs and stamping of the “Big Apple,” the French have added the high kicks and splits of the Can-Can to produce a dance that only an acrobat can perform.

The reason for the “Canned Apple” was explained by one of the American girl dancers, Adelaide Hall. “When the French saw the Big Apple,” she said, “it looked like a child’s game, so we had to make it harder by combining it with a few of the best features of the Can-Can. It makes it hard on the tendons and stockings, but it certainly puts life into the dancing.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityMusic/Dance/Theatre/Film/Circus • Tuesday, August 02, 2022 • Permalink