Dance hall days

Revisit the music, dances, celebrities and venues of a bygone era where dancing and dance halls dominated the social scene.

Couples dancing at the Royale Ballroom in the Exhibition Building, circa 1950s.
Couples dancing at the Royale Ballroom in the Exhibition Building, circa 1950s.


Listen to a selection of classic dance hall favourites from the 1930s to the 50s.

Image slideshow

Download images depicting the venues, objects and experiences relating to Melbourne Dance Hall culture from Museums Victoria’s collection.


Test your general knowledge about the musical icons, dances and venues of the 1930s to 1950s.


Other activity suggestions


Try your hand at a couple of different popular dances from the era or sit back and enjoy watching others. There are lots of beginner's lessons on YouTube just try searching for: Jitterbug Dancing, Lindy Hop, The Stroll, Square Dancing to name a few.

Name that tune

Do a music quiz by playing songs and seeing if you can name the song. Turn listening to songs into bingo by making bingo cards using words often mentioned in popular songs like ‘love’, ‘heart’, ‘you’, ‘yeah’.


Watch some old classic films from the era.

Some suggestions:

  • Words & Music (1948)
  • Swing Time (both 1936)
  • Shall We Dance (1937)
  • Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
  • Singin' in the Rain (1952)


There is a short documentary about The Leggett Ballroom on YouTube featuring archival footage and even a very young Graham Kennedy. Simply search for “The Leggett Ballroom” in YouTube.

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