Opening of the Trocadero Dansant (1923)

Billo Smiths Dance Band at the Trocadero, Brisbane 1927

Billo Smiths Dance Band at the Trocadero, Brisbane 1927

The evening of 31 May 1923  saw Brisbane’s dancers kick up their heels in delight at the opening of the newest high-class dance palace, Trocadero Dansant, in Melbourne Street, South Brisbane.

Prior to the opening, a full page advertisement in Queensland Society Magazine (pictured) promised an unforgettable experience – “There will be no fatigue after an evening’s dancing at the Trocadero; the resiliency of the spring floor, unrivalled in the Commonwealth, adds tenfold to the pleasure of dancing”.  For those with two left feet, the advertisement also promotes morning dancing lessons with Bella Perman, a premiere exhibition ballroom dancer.

Advertisement for the Trocadero Dansant opening on 31 May 1923

Advertisement for the Trocadero Dansant opening on 31 May 1923

Opening night was a spectacular event with an estimated 2000 people attending, dancers and gawkers alike.  The Brisbane Courier described the experience that awaited dancers out on the floor – “From the novel and artistic cloud and foliage overhead effect in the dance hall dozens of violet and blue electric lights gleamed... A central mechanical device of prismatic glasses, which hung from the middle of the hall, reflected the colour and movement of the dancers below”.  For those needing a rest from the dance floor, the ballroom offered 52 vine-clad alcoves to rest and socialise, complete with mission oak furniture. Over 300 palms were positioned along window boxes and passages, completing the tropical effect.

Exterior view of the Trocadero Dansant in Melbourne Street South Brisbane ca. 1934

Exterior view of the Trocadero Dansant in Melbourne Street South Brisbane ca. 1934

Guest of honour, Governor Sir Matthew Nathan, was received by the Mayor and Mayoress of South Brisbane, Alderman and Mrs A Faulkner, and Mr M L Joseph, managing director of the Trocadero, and his wife.  After watching an exhibition performance by Bella Perman, His Excellency and a large party of invited guests were entertained in the upstairs supper room.

All proceeds from the opening night were donated to the Children’s Hospital Appeal Fund.

Myles Sinnamon - Project Coordinator, State Library of Queensland

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My grandfather was the managing director Mr Michael Joseph

Does anyone know what year the Trocadero did close down?

Hi Elke. The full furnishings and equipment of the Trocadero Dansant were advertised for sale on 25 April 1945 "under instructions from the Trustees In the Estate of James Congrieve" http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-page20023878

Dansant is French for dance. Trocadero is an area of Paris on the opposite side of the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. Trocadero is derived from the Battle of Trocadero in Spain where French troops were sent in 1823 to assist King Ferdinand of Spain put down a rebellion. The battle occurred at the Isla Del Trocadero near Peurto Real in Southern Spain.

I have old photos of family in my parents’ generation at the Trocadero. They are posing on a big white new moon swing. My Dad who’ d be 95 had a favourite saying : See you at the Trocadero! In his memory we’ve named our holiday house and family company after it.

My mother went to school there after the War War II She had been in the Air Force. She said the returned soldiers would walk across the wooden floors to their desk and some making a clunking sound. They would place their wooden legs propped up against the wall. There were lots of them. And they would hop back to their desks. What a waste of young lives.

I have a photo of my parents, taken at the Troc, as they called it. Just wondering, when it finally closed?

Oops, I just now saw Simon's reply. 1945, it was.