Ballroom Florida was the most dazzling of Tokyo’s jazz-age dance halls. A new kind of venue in Japan in the 1920s–30s, dance halls offered a stylish space for young people to hear the latest music performed by live bands, practice dance steps with a skilled partner, and mix with like-minded peers.
Established in 1928, the Florida surpassed competitors with its capacious Art Deco interior, top-tier jazz musicians from Japan and abroad, and alluring “taxi dancers” — professional dancers employed as partners for clientele. The Florida attracted the patronage of Tokyo’s cultural and economic elites, and served as muse to writers, film makers and artists.
This exhibition celebrates a recent gift of six paintings by Enomoto Chikatoshi (1898–1973) and a photograph by Hamaya Hiroshi (1915–1999) from Mary and Robert Levenson depicting the women of the Florida and its chic décor. The exhibition is augmented with loans that elaborate on themes that define this group of artworks: Art Deco design, the exotic, and elegant pleasures.
Enomoto Chikatoshi (Japanese, 1898–1973)
Florida (detail), ca. 1935
One of a set of six paintings mounted as framed panels; ink, color, and gold leaf on paper
45 5/16 × 77 1/2 in. (115.1 × 196.9 cm)
Gift from the collection of Robert and Mary Levenson, 2019, SN11671.3