In 1925 Ned Wayburn wrote The Art of Stage Dancing, a book about his dancing classes and what he expected of his pupils
It is a well established rule of the studio that pupils shall weigh themselves every Monday and keep a record of their weight from week to week. For this purpose use the scales in the main office of the studio, please. They are accurate. You are expected to come into my private office and talk with me once a week, and when you do so I shall ask you about your weight, and you must be prepared to tell me. I know just how much you ought to weigh, and am interested in hearing whether you are gaining or losing flesh in the proportion that you should. I am able to tell who is faithfully following my instructions as to diet and the other simple and necessary requirements of our courses. You cannot disguise the real facts from me. It is my business to manufacture symmetrical bodies.
before and after photos from Ned’s book
Don’t bring or wear valuable jewelry to the studios. All of our employees are trustworthy, and we investigate the pupils who come into our studios. We know all about them. If the wrong kind of person does get in, he or she doesn’t stay more than an hour or two. We also have detectives in the classes.
Now there is one little thing I am going to talk to you about that really is a bigger thing than it seems—and that is gum—chewing gum. If you had had stage experience you would know that gum is taboo in the theatre, and the reason for this is not only that to chew in sight of an audience would be an insult and result in immediate dismissal, but also for this very important reason, that a cud of gum if dropped on the stage would destroy that stage for dancing—your own dancing and everybody else’s. We have here the finest of clear-maple dancing floors in every one of our studios. Drop a piece of gum on this floor and then try your dance and see what would happen to you
I do not charge anything for counselling, you may come to my office at any time. If I am busy with some important matter I may ask you to wait awhile, I’m a pretty busy man.
While waiting, weigh yourself and tell me about your weight.
image by Helmut Newton