Ten Cents a Dance

@Corbin5 (115637)
United States
January 29, 2018 1:18pm CST
In the 1900s, taxi dancers, women who were paid dance partners for male patrons, were alive and well in the USA. Taxi-dance halls sold tickets to male patrons. The tickets were 10 cents each. A male patron at the taxi-dance hall would choose a taxi dancer with whom he wanted to dance. He would give the taxi-dancer one of his 10-cent tickets before the start of the dance. The male patron and the taxi dancer would dance for the length of one song, and one song only. Every dance ticket a taxi dancer accumulated would earn her a commission based on the amount of tickets she had received from male patrons. The name "taxi dancer" comes to us courtesy of taxi-cab drivers. Since a taxi-cab driver was paid for the amount of time it takes him to take a passenger to his or her destination, a taxi dancer's pay was based on the amount of time she spent dancing with a male patron. Taxi dancers were often called "dime-a-dance-girls" or "dance hostesses." The taxi dancers only made 5 cents out of every dime they earned and were often called "nickel hoppers." In 1927, Joan Crawford had the starring role in The Taxi Dancer. In 1931, Ten Cents a Dance was the title of a movie in which Barbara Stanwyck starred. The song, "Ten Cents a Dance," from the movie of the same name, is definitely a song tinged with despair and sadness. Even though taxi-dancers made only a nickel from each 10-cent ticket, the money they made was more money than the money made by women who worked in stores and factories in the 20th-century. From the song, "Ten Cents a Dance." "When I get back to my chillly hallroom, I'm much too tired to sleep I'm one of those lady teachers, a beautiful hostess you know; One that the palace features, at exactly a dime a throw Ten cents a dance, that's what they pay me Gosh how they weigh me down Ten cents a dance, pansies and rough guys, tough guys who tear my gown Seven to midnight I hear drums, loudly the saxophone blows Trumpets are tearing my ear-drums, customers crush my toes." .
Barbara O'Neill (Barbara Stanwyck) is a streetwise Taxi dancer who is pursued by a wealthy tycoon, Bradley Carlton (Ricardo Cortez), but her heart belongs to...
28 people like this
30 responses
@sharon6345 (137784)
• United States
29 Jan
They had a lot of smart ways to make money. I am broke I should go to the dance hall.
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
Well, the taxi-dancing halls closed up after WW2, but there may be a few still around. In Argentina, they have them still, but too far away for us.
2 people like this
@Kandae11 (40370)
29 Jan
I would like to watch the movie.
4 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
I would too. The life of a taxi dancer was a rather sad one.
2 people like this
@just4him (126889)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
29 Jan
I hadn't heard of that. Sounds like an interesting way to make a nickle.
3 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
I was surprised to learn that taxi dancers made more than women who worked in factories and shops.
5 people like this
@RasmaSandra (19614)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
29 Jan
That is interesting. Thanks for sharing. Way back when I lived in NYC there was an area in Manhattan known as Yorkville it was mostly German immigrants and lots of German restaurants and dance halls. One of the dance halls was the kind where you could go with friends and gentlemen would come to your table to ask you to dance. I loved that time. No money exchanged though.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
I had heard the song Ten Cents a Dance a long time ago, and that reminded me of taxi dancers. The dance hall you describe does sound like a lovely place to spend some time.
1 person likes this
@RasmaSandra (19614)
• Daytona Beach, Florida
29 Jan
@Corbin5, unfortunately, all those dance halls are closed now and this neighborhood that I remember has now fewer Germans and more Arabs and other immigrants from that part of the world.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
@RasmaSandra I bet the neighborhood has really changed from what it used to be.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Jan
Maybe in those times ten cents was already something big. I don't think that's applicable now a days you'd get harassed for doing that on the street.
2 people like this
• Philippines
30 Jan
lol of course its not on the street its done on the clubs right
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
I think you are right.
1 person likes this
@xFiacre (5139)
• Ireland
29 Jan
@loriamoore That seems so very sad somehow.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
It really was sad. I am sure the girls were not treated well at all by some patrons.
1 person likes this
@xFiacre (5139)
• Ireland
30 Jan
@Corbin5 Not a lot’s changed there then. I’m told.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (72878)
• United States
29 Jan
The wonderful Doris Day singing this song. I was only one year old when the movie came out. But do remember the song Ten Cents a Dance.
Singer: Doris Day Song: Ten Cents a Dance Movie: Love Me or Leave Me Year: 1955 Lyrics: Ten cents a dance that's what they pay me, gosh, how they weigh me do...
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
For some strange reason, the song came to mind, and I decided to write about taxi dancers. Off to take a listen to Doris Day. I did listen to Ella Fitzgerald sing it. It really is a sad song, I think.
1 person likes this
@amadeo (72878)
• United States
29 Jan
Everyone should loved the song by Doris Day.Here it is
Singer: Doris Day Song: Ten Cents a Dance Movie: Love Me or Leave Me Year: 1955 Lyrics: Ten cents a dance that's what they pay me, gosh, how they weigh me do...
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
Yes, all should give this song a listen!!!
1 person likes this
@BelleStarr (39654)
• United States
29 Jan
I suppose if there was one nearby I would have found it an interesting way to earn a living.
2 people like this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
I think it was a pretty hard life for the taxi dancers. They did make more money than women who worked in shops and factories, though.
2 people like this
@just4him (126889)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
30 Jan
I was surprised to read that. I'm guessing more people wanted to be dancers than factory women.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
Yes, for women, taxi dancing was better pay. Not that much fun, I am sure, but the money was vital.
1 person likes this
@just4him (126889)
• Green Bay, Wisconsin
30 Jan
@Corbin5 I'm sure it was. Sorry for the double response. I was on my laptop and it did crazy things.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
@just4him My laptop is sane, but its user, me, is crazy.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (84978)
• United States
30 Jan
College mixers were similar without any money making.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
I met my husband at a dance put on by all the fraternities to welcome incoming freshman. He did not have any money then, but glad I was able to spend his money when we got married.
1 person likes this
@DianneN (84978)
• United States
30 Jan
@Corbin5 Isn't that always the case?
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (55052)
• United Kingdom
30 Jan
I've never heard of them being called taxi dancers before, though of course I've heard of dance hostesses. These days there is a version of them on some cruise ships, but they are invariably male. There are a lot of widowed or single ladies on cruises, and it's nice for them to be able to dance. The men get the cruise for free, and the ladies don't pay anything. All perfectly respectable (as far as I know)
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
31 Jan
Well, that is so nice to have men who will dance with ladies who do not have a partner. Another user mentioned something about a dance place in the US where guys wear T-shirts with the word "Taxi" on front. The guys are just there to dance with anyone who would like to dance with someone. No money is exchanged, just the love of dancing.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (55052)
• United Kingdom
31 Jan
@Corbin5 That's great too.
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17934)
• Fairfield, Texas
30 Jan
Heck of a difference from us Go-Go Girls later on @Corbin5 . Salary plus tips and we didn't have to have them (guys) touch us.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
Yes, I think the life of a taxi dancer was a sad one, for sure.
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17934)
• Fairfield, Texas
30 Jan
@Corbin5 Ya gotta do what'cha gotta do.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
30 Jan
I recall hearing that song and have seen bits and pieces of the movies in news programs. I am sure the women were bullied by patrons and employers as well.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
It had to be a rough job for a young lady.
1 person likes this
• Eugene, Oregon
30 Jan
@Corbin5 No doubt it was.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Jan
thanks for the link i will try to watch it
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
It is an interesting video.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
30 Jan
@Corbin5 yeah i only watched 1/4 of it 1931 very old clip. the taxi dancers just wearing a normal dresses unlike now.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (175653)
• Switzerland
30 Jan
It is a sad song indeed, not always making more money makes you more happy. I think this was the case for those taxi dancers.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
There were only low-paying jobs for women in the 1900s, so being a taxi dancer was a step up regarding money made.
1 person likes this
@LadyDuck (175653)
• Switzerland
30 Jan
@Corbin5 Women were underpaid in the past and in many countries this is still the case.
1 person likes this
@db20747 (9375)
• Washington, District Of Columbia
30 Jan
That's a fun job!!
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
I think some women may have enjoyed the job.
1 person likes this
@db20747 (9375)
• Washington, District Of Columbia
30 Jan
@Corbin5 I know I would. Love to dance!!!
1 person likes this
@alberello75 (18635)
• Genova, Italy
29 Jan
Interesting topic. I was not aware of it. These movies related to the time, are too dated for me. In other words, not of my generation. Maybe my mom could know something. But this movie "Ten Cents Dance", is dated back 1931. Well, my mother was born in 1949.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
29 Jan
I heard the song somewhere a long time ago, and for some strange reason, the term taxi-dancer came to mind. My mom may have known of taxi dancers, but they were not around when I was growing up.
1 person likes this
@alberello75 (18635)
• Genova, Italy
30 Jan
@Corbin5 I see. It is said, things of other times ... Maybe, at the time, even better times ..
1 person likes this
@Fishmomma (11452)
• United States
30 Jan
I'll have to watch the movie, as I like older movies. Its amazing to hear how people made money and knowing women had few ways to earn. Most of my friends married young and had children. I'm the only one that doesn't have grandchildren.
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
31 Jan
I do not have grandchildren either. My husband and I were married for 10 years before we had our son, our only child. He has been married for two years. His wife has medical issues, so not sure if they will have children. I know they both want children, but we will see.
@andriaperry (58385)
• United States
30 Jan
I wished these dance halls still existed. It would be kind of like blogging for pennies. Plus no one would be fat
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (115637)
• United States
30 Jan
I do too. The dance halls probably would have body guards to make sure the girls were treated respectfully. I think Americans need to dance whenever they can to keep those pounds off.