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This item sold on October 6, 2013.

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This fantastic and rare 1924 Arthur Murray The Modern Dances II & III booklet, has an interesting and sordid past. It was just this incredible back story that made us interested in this particular work.

It was the 1970's in New York City's Greenwich Village. The original owner was an 75-year old defected Russian Ballerina who was living, still in fear of the KGB, in a small studio apartment. By day she taught dance at Arthur Murray, and at night she would practice against the barre in her studio. Even in her 70's she was still a rare and fantastic beauty, in excellent shape.

As the story goes, a young neighbor of hers, a 20-something nerdish man, trying to break into advertising, would help her in with her groceries and would chat with her when they passed in the hall. One night, the ballerina invited the would-be ad exec into her home for a drink after he carried her groceries up the three-floor walk up.

They drank and laughed and shared stories. It was largely a wonderful time, until the Ballerina revealed that she was dying of cancer. She had learned her fate earlier that day. She only had a couple more months to live. The would-be ad exec was crushed. He knew she was older, but had come to be quite fond of the Ballerina. The thought of her not being around broke his heart.

She then stood and put on some music. She reached out her hand to her neighbor and asked him to dance with her. He tried to tell her no, explaining that he couldn't dance. She smiled at him and told him that she could teach anyone to dance. He slugged back his wine and stood. She took his hand in hers, and together they began to dance.

As the night faded to dawn, the wine swirling their heads, the young man kissed the aging Ballerina and well, one thing lead to another. He made love to her, sweetly and gently. She was grateful to be held and revered.

When it was time for the young man to leave, she handed him this book to remember their romantic evening by. He was very touched, kissed her one last time and left. Shortly there after, he landed a job on Madison Avenue and he wasn't home very much, because he was burning the midnight oil. One late evening, he came home to find the coroner there, wheeling out the Ballerina on a stretcher. She had passed peacefully in her own bed.

The ad exec held on to this book for nearly 40 years, until he was moving out of Manhattan to retire upstate. We met him at The Strand in The Village. He was telling his story to the clerk and we happened to overhear. The clerk wasn't interested in his tale, but we were. We offered to buy the book from him, because it's just the sort of item with a past that we love to have in our shop.

The man sold it to us on the spot, and we have been grateful to have it. Even though the condition to the outside cover is rough, the inside of the book is pristine and beautiful... just like the Ballerina. This is a special and unique find and a terrific treasure from a passionate one-night stand.

Live vicariously through these star-crossed lovers, learn about dance, and gain a piece of history all at once. This Arthur Murray The Modern Dances II & III is the real deal.

As with all vintage items, this book is sold AS-IS.

Original, Vintage 1924 Arthur Murray The Modern Dances II & III


  • Vintage item from the 1920s
  • Material: vintage book
  • Ships worldwide from United States
  • Feedback: 71 reviews
  • Favorited by: 5 people