Archive for November 13th, 2010

1916, November 13 – LATIMER LOSES EYE TO TANGO !

That night Brent Latimer had taken the long train ride from Greenville to Ashville North Carolina to attend a tango dance which he had read about in the newspaper…once there he was quite smitten by a fashionable young lady and finally found the nerve to ask her to dance…he was totally immersed into the magic of the moment, when suddenly, during a turn, the quill in the girl’s hat somehow entered behind his glasses and pierced his right eye…he was rushed to the hospital but unfortunately nothing could be done and he lost sight completely in that eye…Tango was all the rage then and had been popularized primarily by the mythical dance team of Vernon and Irene Castle who made close dancing chic in America with their success on broadway and with their best seller “Modern Dancing” published in 1914…


On a trip to Paris performing the latest American dances, the Castles were the rage of Parisian society and it is there that they discovered Tango…their success was widely reported in the United States, preparing their way for a triumphant return to New York in 1912 and their introduction of this new dance to American society eventually even popularizing an innovative hands free tango step…Irene was the daughter of a prominent New York physician and Veron was an aspiring actor from Norwich England…their marriage was not approved by Irene’s father but together they would attain fame and fortune….he died at the age of 30 as a decorated pilot in World War I; she would marry three other times but would pay tribute to him in her memoir “My Husband”


  • CLICK HERE – to see a clip of Vernon and Irene Castle dancing including an instant when they dance the tango…the later part of the clip shows a section from the the 1939 film “The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle” starring Fred Astair and Ginger Rogers