Who was Josephine Bradley MBE By Brigitt Mayer

Josephine Bradley dancing with Frank Ford

Josephine Bradley dancing with Frank Ford

Excerpts from Ballroom Icons © Brigitt Mayer-Karakis

Josephine, “Jo” was affectiontely called the “first lady” of ballroom dancing. Those who were privileged to know her, remember her as one of the great personalities of ballroom teachers.

Josephine Bradley, Victor Silvester and Phyllis Haylor were the key players who founded and promoted the enviable English Style of ballroom dancing. They took on the task of analyzing what dancers, and in particular competitors of their time were dancing, and they started putting it down on paper.

1893 – 1985

  • 1920 dance partnership with G. Kenneth Anderson and won the World Championship in the foxtrot
  • 1924 opened her first school in Knightsbridge
  • 1924– 47 chairwomen of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing
Brigitt Mayer is the author of the award winning book "Ballroom Icons", and chief archivist for the Dance History project.
6 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. I was fortunate to have taken a few lessons with Jo Bradley back in 1948. In fact I took lessons with a number of ‘Greats’ of the day. I was mainly tutored by Wally Fryer and Violet Barnes. I had previously been placed third in the “STAR” Junior Championship at The Royal Albert Hall in London in 1947 and placed Second in The “STAR” Junior Championships at The Empress Hall, London in 1949. In 1949 My partner was Rae Phillips who had won the title in 1948 dancing with Eric Lashbrook. Eric turned eighteen in 1948 so was unable to compete as a junior any more

  2. we were taught ballroom dancing by Josephine when we were courting in 1954/55 and remember her so well and her lovely mews studio in South Kensington .Her partner at that time was Maurice .We often talk about those very happy times .

  3. I am late sevetnies and as a child in New Zealand, our local wireless (radio station) had a recording of Josehpine Bradey and orchestra, “Exhibition Swing” I can play it on the piano , from memory. I have not heard this tune for some 65 years, I loved it.
    I now live in Australia in a country town, does anyone else know the tune and where I can hear this recording again It is very strict tempo and evocative of the period – I am a pianist (middle of the rod) and would love to know more about this tune. Thanks,Rosanne

  4. we did ballroom dancing in london1960/ 1970 ish. (Peter and joy hughes) I had lessons from Josephine Bradley on walking and curtseying for the program on TV. I didn’t get through. Can’t remember the name of the programme but it was Eric Morley and his wife. we used to go to the TV Centre for televised programmes. Also had lessons from Binnick, bill Irvine, Benny Tolmier, Bob burgess, Scrivener. and best of all ? from Barking, Essex .

  5. I’m researching my late father in laws involvement in ballroom dancing, especially when he was younger. His name is Kenneth Nally, and I’ve found a medal that he won in 1949 – “The Star” Winners.
    I’ve tried researching it myself, but cant find anything. Is this something you could help me with please.

    • I will contact some people and see whether I can find out something for you!

Submit your comment

Please enter your name

Your name is required

Please enter a valid email address

An email address is required

Please enter your message

DanceArchives © 2020 All Rights Reserved

The definitive archives of ballroom dancing