Kick Up Your Heels-100 years of social dancing

Kick Up Your Heels-100 years of social dancing

The Kick Up Your Heels program will relive the heady days of waltzes, polkas, swing, rock ‘n’ roll, disco and clubbing. You don’t have to be an expert—workshops and classes are available to brush up your skills before the real thing. If you don’t have the clobber, don’t worry, just dress comfortably. You may wish to check out authentic dance attire and go hunting around the shops to find the perfect item.

The focus, and most purpose built venue, is the Albert Hall, opened in 1928 and the site for many a social dance. Prior to that, dances were held at woolsheds or town halls.

1900s: Shearers Ball - 2 February, Yarralumla Woolshed Canberra

The very first in the series will be a Shearers Ball, produced by the Monaro Folk Society and held at the historic Yarralumla Woolshed, which was built in 1904 to serve the homestead that is now Government House.

1910s: Edwardian Ragtime - 23 February, St Saviour’s Church Hall, Goulburn

Enjoy the freedoms of new styles of dress and demeanour. Look into the things you inherited from your grannies and come dressed in period costume as your favourite Edwardian character.

1920s: The Roaring Twenties - 9 March,  Albert Hall Canberra

The third dance in the Kick Up Your Heels series starts a brilliant run at the Albert Hall. For a once in a lifetime night on the town, celebrate the roaring twenties and the Centenary of Canberra at the Albert Hall in style. Let’s not forget the Albert Hall was built and opened in the 1920s!

1930s: Swing into the Second World War - 27 April, Albert Hall Canberra

Social Dancing has always lifted the spirits and to counteract the Depression in the 1930s, swing dancing developed, originally in the ballrooms of Harlem, danced to the big band swing music of the day.  The music of Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Duke Ellington and Glen Miller helped counteract the looming horrors in Europe. 

1940s: Bobby Soxers v Rockabillys—the Big Band Bash - 25 May, Albert Hall Canberra

Music and dance styles have evolved together through time, intricately interwoven. The 1940s saw the end of the big band era (which began in the 1930s). Fans of swing music, played by big bands, were often referred to as bobby-soxers because of their distinctive socks. As rock ‘n’ roll began to take hold in the 1950s, one of the earliest forms of rock was rockabilly, named for its combination of rock and hillbilly (country) music. Rockabilly also drew influences from swing, rhythm and blues.  

Canberra City Band, founded in 1925, will present the evening of swing and rockabilly, partnering with dance organisations Swing Katz to bring a polished event with dance lessons, demonstration dancers and costumes. Music will be provided by Canberra City Band’s own Spectrum Big Band—Canberra’s premier big band.

The above events take us up to the end of May 2013. More information about Kick Up Your Heels events between June – December 2013 will be available soon.

Look out for these events

1950s: Rock Around The Clock - 15 June, Albert Hall Canberra

1960s: Swing into the Sixties-  27 July, ANU Bar

1970s: The Australian Ladies Scottish Ball - 10 August, Albert Hall Canberra

1910s: Canberra Founders' Ball - 7 September
Albert Hall Canberra

1980s: The Electric Eighties - 28 September, ANU Bar

1990s: Out There Somewhere - 26 October, Galaxy Club

2000s: Shake It (Like a Polaroid Picture!) - 16 November, Zierholz @ University of Canberra 

Check out the events calendar for details on individual events.

Kick Up Your Heels is presented by SoCanDance, Auspiced by Ausdance. Visit for more details.  

Kick Up Your Heels is a Centenary of Canberra project, proudly supported by the ACT Government.