Dancing master from York. Born c.1863, died 1937.

Brother of Oliver Cowper of Workington.  Arthur was born in about 1857, learnt to play and dance and eventually took over from his uncle Robert. After Robert’s death Arthur held ballroom dancing classes twice a week in York. On Mondays the class ran from 7.00 – 10.30 pm the first hour being for beginners. On Thursdays the length of the class was the same but this was devoted entirely to beginners.

Arthur charged a guinea a “term”, which lasted for ten or twelve weeks. The pupils had numbered tickets and when they arrived the doorman would tick off their numbers in a book. On Saturday afternoons he held a children’s class at which he taught not only ballroom dancing but also a number of fancy dances. Arthur held both a juvenile and adult ball at Christmas time. These were for pupils and their guests only, and were devoted entirely to ballroom dancing with no exhibitions.

On the evenings when he held no classes in York, Arthur took classes in some of the villages and towns in the surrounding area (for example Sutton on Derwent, Sutton on Forest, Shipton, Poppleton and Coxwold). These were frequently held in barns and lasted only for one term, although if the pupils requested it he would return for a second term. Arthur frequently walked to these classes and on one occasion when the roads were deep in snow he became tangled in telephone wires brought down by the weather. At the end of the term in the villages he would hold a ball lasting until 3.00a.m. and on these occasions Arthur would provide a band. Arthur had three daughters. Elsie, Beatrice and Gladys. The first two assisted him with the classes when they were old enough and eventually took over their father’s dancing academy when he retired.

He is known to have taught the following dances:

Barn Dance
Fan Gavotte
Highland Schottische
Gypsy Dance
Japanese Dance
Sailors’ Hornpipe
Skirt Dance
Sir Roger de Coverley
Spanish Dance
Sword Dance
Tambourine Dance
Waltz Cotillion

His daughters Beatrice Cowper and Elsie Cowper were able to provide notations for the following:

Steps for fancy dances (10)

Information derived from an interview by Tom Flett with Cowper, Misses Elsie & Beatrice on 28 March 1960.