Author Topic: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast  (Read 10887 times)

Bronagh123

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BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« on: October 04, 2015, 11:49:44 PM »
Hi Everyone

I am a Queens Student here in Belfast and i am currently researching the Ballrooms and Dances of Belfast. So far i have come across, Sammy Houstons, CLARKES, The Astor Ballroom, Betty Staffs, Boom Boom Room, Fiesta Ballroom, Gala Ballroom, Maritime Ballroom, Maxims Ballroom, Orchid Ballroom, Orpheus Ballroom, Plaza Ballroom and Romanos Ballroom.

Basically i am looking to know a few different things about the different Ballrooms;

1:How they were run, Management? what did you have to pay? what time where they over at?

2:what the Architecture of these buildings where, what the interior decor was, colour scheme, type of furniture (layout), something special you remember from it. Construction?

3: Social Aspect of the Dances and Ballroom dancing?

4: Did members of religious communities marshal events? if so how? what was expected?

5: What where the big show bands that appeared in the venue?

6: Does anyone have pictures of the buildings themselves?

7: How do you feel Dances and Ballrooms was represented through Belfast?

If anyone could help me with this research it would be greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks.

Bigali

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2015, 12:15:23 AM »
Welcome to the forum Bronagh123, interesting subject , why the interest in such a thing ?
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Bronagh123

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2015, 09:20:21 AM »
Hi Bigali

Currently i have started my masters in architecture in Belfast at Queens and we are researching Belfast in a lot of depth. Im looking at how dance has developed in the city and how the city developed around dance. Significantly i thought i would ask the people of Belfast themselves as they are the ones that experienced it.

Regards
B

JimIGS

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2015, 09:29:03 PM »
Hi Everyone
I am a Queens Student here in Belfast and i am currently researching the Ballrooms and Dances of Belfast. So far i have come across, Sammy Houstons, CLARKES, The Astor Ballroom, Betty Staffs, Boom Boom Room, Fiesta Ballroom, Gala Ballroom, Maritime Ballroom, Maxims Ballroom, Orchid Ballroom, Orpheus Ballroom, Plaza Ballroom and Romanos Ballroom.
Hi Bronagh123, you appear to have listed the downtown ballrooms as above, they were generally smaller in size other than the Orpheus, the Plaza and Romanos but the biggest one which you do not have on your list was the Floral Hall out towards Glengormley on the Antrim Road, it was abandoned by the city council and there are pictures of the derelict building somewhere on the Forum, I stand to be corrected if I am in error as I left NORN IRN in 1968.
It isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Bigali

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2015, 09:51:26 PM »
Hi Bigali

Currently i have started my masters in architecture in Belfast at Queens and we are researching Belfast in a lot of depth. Im looking at how dance has developed in the city and how the city developed around dance. Significantly i thought i would ask the people of Belfast themselves as they are the ones that experienced it.

Regards
B

Good idea Bronagh123, there are plenty on here who remember the dance halls of yesteryear , good luck with your project.
Support Soldier F Support Soldier B

The courageous deeds and sacrifices of the RUC and UDR must never be airbrushed from history .

servialeeson

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2015, 07:11:18 PM »
As an 'Astorhopper' in the 1960s I was keen on the music of the era and the opportunity to learn to dance to it.  There was another form of entertainment which often included dancing and that was ceili dancing.  The Ard Scoil in Divis Street and St Paul's Hall in Hawthorn Street hosted such dances at the weekend.  From a parish perspective St Teresa's Hall on the Glen Road provided for many an introduction to the music of the 50s and 60s while being overseen by local clergy.  I recall it had a sprung floor.  The Plaza Ballroom used to host the Mater Nurses' Ceili.  In Andersonstown the CODA venue (the large marquee) was an annual feature.

tboy

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2015, 08:19:50 PM »
You never mentioned the' Starlite' which may have been another name for the Boom Boom or the Elizabethan in Royal Avenue, it all depends on the few years that are relevant to peoples 'dancing period'  as for the architecture of Belfast  most was copied from Edinburgh and Dundee.

servialeeson

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2015, 09:34:32 AM »
Bronagh did mention the Boom Boom Rooms/Starlite in her piece.  Never heard of the Elizabethan though.  As regards some of the 'big bands' who appeared at the Belfast venues I do remember the Fortunes at the Floral Hall, the Everly Brothers in Romanos, Long John Baldry (with Elton John as his pianist) in Romanos, Freddie and the Dreamers in the Boom Boom Room as well as the Miami, the Royal, Clipper Carlton, Eileen Reid and the Cadets, the Young Shadows, Joe Dolan's Drifters, the Hilton, Spencer Davis at the Plaza and many others.

Joy McVeigh Maze

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2015, 05:32:28 PM »
 Time period. . . the 1950's:    The Plaza was my favourite dance hall.  The Foyer was a good size and tickets were purchased at the door.  Perhaps 2 shillings entry per person. Then as one walked in further, the tickets were "clipped" by an employee. This way, one could go out and in again but one couldn't pass the ticket on to anyone else.  The cloakroom were off to the right side. The hours were from about 2.00 p.m.(some days) perhaps on Wednesdays when shop workers had a half-day,  or from 6.30 p.m. until 11.00 p.m.   
The bands played on a revolving stage  When the main band of the evening finished their set, another band (the regulars) took over and the stage would revolve to bring them out to face the dancers.
The floor was described as "sprung" and was made specially for dancing. It was shaped in a long rectangle.  I think that there was an upstairs balcony with tables and chairs but this was extra space, mostly used for the spectators of the competitive ballroom dancing. There were a number of competitions each year.  The men in tails and their partners, the ladies in beautiful dresses that made us "wannabe" dancers ooh and aah with delight.
The lower floor had also tables (with ashtrays)  :)  and chairs and these were located underneath the balcony.  There was a large glitter ball that hung over the dance floor and depending on the music played, the glitter ball began to turn throwing different coloured lights on the dancers.
No hard liquor or wine was sold, just soft drinks and perhaps tea ?
Although the bands played great music, including Jazz,  "jitterbugging"floor was frowned upon.  There were "bouncers" patrolling the edge of the floor and as soon as some of us started to "jive" the bouncers came towards us to tell us to stop.  With many giggles, we stopped and as soon as the bouncer walked away, we were back doing the same thing.  It was really a game and I don't think that anyone was told to leave.
Belfast really shut down on Sundays which meant that the dance halls did too.  There was one that was open but it was for Irish dancing.  I think that the name was Kingsway and it was off Royal Avenue on the road/street leading to the Falls Road.  A large part of the clientele were Youth Hostellers, cyclists and hikers.  This would have been mostly in the winter months when the bikes were put away and the hostels keeping shorter hours.
Hope that this is some help to you. . . .

   

nodancer

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2015, 09:43:16 AM »
My mother could talk all day about the Belfast dance halls in the 50s but she lives in Warrenpoint now. :read:

oldboy

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2015, 07:18:32 PM »
your right tboy when I went to live in Dundee 1967, it was just walking round Belfast.

tboy

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2015, 07:50:06 PM »
your right tboy when I went to live in Dundee 1967, it was just walking round Belfast.
and are you a Dundee Nil supporter? :D   Good luck, tboy.

Daddycool

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2015, 11:07:45 AM »
Hi bigali   wer u from ive seen u on other pages  im from sherwood st cherryville st im on cherryville st page

boxer1949

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2015, 01:16:06 PM »
Bronagh did mention the Boom Boom Rooms/Starlite in her piece.  Never heard of the Elizabethan though.  As regards some of the 'big bands' who appeared at the Belfast venues I do remember the Fortunes at the Floral Hall, the Everly Brothers in Romanos, Long John Baldry (with Elton John as his pianist) in Romanos, Freddie and the Dreamers in the Boom Boom Room as well as the Miami, the Royal, Clipper Carlton, Eileen Reid and the Cadets, the Young Shadows, Joe Dolan's Drifters, the Hilton, Spencer Davis at the Plaza and many others.Elizabethan was up from the Regent picture house across the road facing the GPO was the Tudor Rooms and Clarkes in Donegall St

rigbarque

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Re: BALLROOMS and DANCES of Belfast
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2015, 01:19:37 PM »
John Dossor's in Royal Avenue was a ballroom in the 1950s. It was above a shop. I think John Dossor, later owned the Fiesta.