“Sunshine Girls” of Washington, D.C. July 19, 1923. The view is across either the Tidal Basin or Potomac River, with the Lincoln Memorial visible in the distance.
A little background on this group of women. This is an article published in the Washington Post on March 4th, 1923.
Whatever else you may remember or forget after seeing that phantasmagoria known as “Good Morning, Dearie,” it is dollars to little green apples that you will still have a vivid impression of those cyclonic English dancers, the Sixteen Sunshine Girls, photographed on your mind.
These girls rivet the attention so that they become one of the outstanding features of the performance. They flash on the stage only three times during the evening and are seen for less than eight minutes in all, but no precision, uniformity and speed with which they execute their sensational dances always sends a thrill through the audience. Someone has called these Sixteen Sunshine Girls the thirty-two soles that beat as one.
They are the pick of the John Tiller flock, which now numbers some 20,000 dancers all trained by some English dancing master. Tiller is a staid and sedate Britisher who began instructing corps of dancers more than forty years ago. Now, throughout England and indeed throughout the world, Troupes of Tiller girls and performing their intricate dances.
The girls are apprenticed to him when they are 10 years old and the first year of their apprenticeship is devoted entirely to marching. They receive an all-round education, but dancing is not taken up until later. It is this marching and counter-marching which so inculcates in them that sense of uniformity, rhythm and speed which is the amazement of all audiences. The Tiller training is severe and arduous and the discipline among the pupils is almost military in its demands.
Each member of the troupe takes care of her own costumes. They are all responsible to the eldest girl who acts as captain of the troupe.
The Sixteen Sunshine Girls have been together since they were 16 years old. The troupe was first organized five years ago. In that time they have seen all of England, spent a year in Paris and two years in the United States. Eight of the girls are engaged to be married, but have postponed the wedding until the end of the tour of “Good Morning, Dearie.”
Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District. He lives in Columbia Heights with Mrs. Ghost and Ghost Dog.
On September 3rd, 2013, the second site launched as Ghosts of Baltimore.