A Canadian Family

Natives, French Canadians & Acadians

Tripping the light fantastic, Edouard Theriault & Golda Lagace


Theriault & Lagace, mid 1950s A Canadian Family Photo Archives


This photo sweeps me back to my childhood, when I grew up surrounded by the music of the swing era big bands! It also drew me back to those exciting days at the end of the 50s when we were one of the first families on our street to get a television (black and white of course). In those early years some of our favourite movies were those of the dancing duo – Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.

Lovell's Montreal Directory (1958) Murray Dance Studios where my father worked

You can tell from the photo that my parents were expert dancers. In fact, as a sideline while he was working his way through university, my father was a teacher at an Arthur Murray Ballroom Dancing School in Montreal. My mother wasn’t a dance teacher but she was a natural – light on her feet and quick to learn. To me as a  little girl – sitting on my stool and watching them dance – my parents were every bit as good as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers!

And when I got a little older it was finally my turn as my father taught me my first dances. I remember that Latin rhythms were all the rage then – and I particularly enjoyed the cha-cha-cha!


temporarily gone

Annuaires Lovell de Montreal et sa banlieue (1842-1999)



January 27, 2009 - Posted by | . |


  1. This is a fabulous journey through time, even if for only a moment! It’s a shame, but the newest generations will not have as much exposure to this kind of dancing except in film and on shows like Dancing with the Stars, whereas in the ’50s it was just what people did when they got together at parties. I suppose the same idea is still ever present; we get together at clubs and dance, and share … but not generally with the same care and attention paid to every skip and hop, more, just to drink and be silly.

    Conversely, I went to a ballroom club a few years back, as an outing with my boss who trained at Arthur Murray for a long time. He wanted to show us this hidden gem that most people aren’t aware of, in a part of downtown Montreal. Old, young, and even really young alike assembled in a circle hugging an enormous ballroom floor(size of a modest gym)
    I watched from a big red booth, 50s style at big neon signs (with names of dances) attached to the ceiling around the dance floor. The signs light up as each song rotates … one Samba, one Viennese Waltz, then some west coast swing, etc. Needless to say, I did not get up and dance! Everyone on the dance floor was obviously experienced at what they were doing … this made for a magical outing, resembling much like the kinds that Fred Astaire and Ginger would have attended!

    It is important to know that despite dance styles, fashions and ways of life fazing in and out of popularity, nothing is ever gone for good. There’s always someone, somewhere, who wants it to live on and for that reason, we can always count on a certain level of societal preservation.


    Comment by Francesca Luisa Franchini | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  2. For the record, I can’t remember what the name of this dance club is. I’ll try and find out and place the name here.


    Comment by Francesca Luisa Franchini | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  3. Thanks for the comments.
    I feel nostalgic about things that pass too but on the other hand we would never have had the fifties style dancing if we hadn’t changed from what came before.Plus I notice dance reflects the feeling of a time. When social mores are strict people are really, really focused on dancing as a chance for close contact! In any case, if we were having this discussion in the early 80s I never would have guessed that my daughter would be part of a worldwide renaissance of Irish dancing!


    Comment by evelynyvonnetheriault | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  4. Thank you for posting that clip. It was absolutely lovely. And your parents look so graceful in that picture.


    Comment by gretamk | February 4, 2009 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s