Monday, December 01, 2008

Waltzing the night away

‘Laird and Lyons’ demonstrating how to dance in the ballroom
Ballroom dancers Walter Laird and Andé Lyons helped get the nation dancing during and after WW2.
Photograph from collection of Mrs Andé Tyrer (Lyons)
During and after the Second World War Walter Laird and Andé Lyons went to many dance halls throughout the country demonstrating how to dance Ballroom and Latin American dancing. They became known as ‘Laird and Lyons’. I think this particular photograph was taken during a dress rehearsal for an evening performance.

Walter Laird and Andé Lyons were also one half of the cabaret act known as the ‘Dual Dancers’ along with their good friends Frank Spencer and Peggy Spencer. They also demonstrated the correct dance steps for the audience during the BBC ‘Dancing Club’ broadcasts, begun on BBC radio in 1941, enabling beginners and novices to learn to dance and join in the fun on the dance floor.

Dancing and music were popular recreations during and after WW2. Watching elegant couples such as the ‘Dual Dancers’ also gave audiences the opportunity to have a little glamour in their lives, if only for a short time. Whether there any moving film of Laird and Lyons dancing still exist I am unsure. Much of the film used in the early BBC television programmes from the early post-war years was not of the type that could be easily stored.


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