With the advent of the evening skaters, who were mostly people who had to work for a living generally older than the champions and who, on account of this lack of leisure time, had little or no hope of distinction or success in this modern specialised world of figure-skating, it was only natural that they should turn their attention to ice dancing. Seeing the possibilities here, several of the prominent professionals and one or two amateurs of the time, set out to add to the limited repertoire of dances already in existence, a repertoire which consisted of the Valse, the Ten or Fourteen Step and the little Viennese dance called the Kilian, which Sonja Henie and Karl Schafer had shown to my wife and me in 1929 and which we then brought to the Ice Club, Westminster.
In the years that followed, there have come into what is now a Schedule, in addition to the already existing dances: the American Waltz (a very ugly dance indeed); the Tango; the Rocker Fox Trot; the Blues; the Argentine Tango; the Quickstep; the Viennese Waltz; the PasoDoble and the Rumba.
Official recognition of ice dancing was opposed by the authorities for some time. It was something new, something they knew nothing about and therefore. But eventually J. G. Blaver (an old roller dance champion), K. A. MacDonald, and R. J. Wilkie, with the support of such figure-skaters as myself, and the late Kenneth Dundas, pushed the suggestion through the Council and the Ice Dance Committee was created, which duly formulated tests and championships.
The first amateur championship was held in 1937 and was won by R. J. Wilkie and Miss D. Wallis who won again in 1938 and 1939.
There was one professional championship only, before the war in 1939 and it was won by W. E. Gregory, who lost his life during the war when serving with the R.A.F., and Miss M. Roberts.
But ice dancing had come to stay and was providing enormous enjoyment to the business man and woman skater.
Cecilia Colledge
Between The Wars
Part 12
Between the Wars Index.