Dancing master from Underbarrow and later Crosthwaite, Cumbria. Also taught in Kendal. Born c. 1860. In 1913 he moved to Scarfoot and then began teaching full-time. Active at least 1910-1925. Served in WW1. In addition to his teaching activities he ran two dance bands, his wife Theodora playing the piano.
One evening Alf Robinson became ill at one of his balls and Thomas Cannon took over the evening and then started teaching. Thomas taught around Kendal until 1925, then moved to and taught in Annan. Also ran an old time dancing academy in Carlisle. Gave up teaching due to rheumatism.
He was a part-time dance teacher teaching at St George’s Hall, Blackhall Yard, Kendal and later at the Punchbowl Inn, Crosthwaite, where he was the landlord. The Kendal classes were 4-6 pm Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Cost 10/- a quarter (13 weeks) with a dance on the final Friday. The next quarter followed a two week recess. On Tuesday night at 6pm a beginner’s class was followed from 7.30 -10 by a session where new dances were introduced: French Quadrilles, Lancers, Boston 2-step, Dinkie One–step.
He was a pupil of Joseph William Robinson (Old Jos). He appears to have mainly taught children and teenagers, holding a “Juvenile Ball” at the end of the season of classes at which his pupils performed. A detailed description of how the classes ran was provided by Mary Hawes and his son Theodore Cannon.
The social dances he taught included:
Back to Back Schottische
Empress Barn Dance
Eva Three Step
Five Hand Reel
Heel and Toe Polka
Napoleon’s Grand March
Sir Roger de Coverley
Six Hand Reel
Three Hand Reel
He also taught the following exhibition dances which were probably only for children:
He also taught clog and step dancing.
Mrs Storey was able to provide notations for his Three Hand Reel and the following steps – shuffle off, hagworm crawl, double shuffle, treble shuffle, advanced treble shuffle, single crunch, double crunch. John Wright provided a notation for the 5 Hand Reel learned from him in St Georges Hall Kendal. He first saw the dance in 1917 and learnt the dance in 1919. Frances Gray and Mary Hawes provided detailed instructions for the Three Hand Reel and Five Hand Reel and Mary Hawes also gave a notation for the Sword Dance. Diddy Dixon was able to provide notations for his shuffle-off, crunch, kicking step, swivelling crunch, rolling step, her exhibition hornpipe and the Sword Dance.
Information derived from interviews by Tom Flett with Mrs Storey on 6 January 1960, John Wright (undated), Mrs Frances Gray (undated), Mary Hawes (undated), Diddy Dixon on 13/9/1962, 20/9/1962 and 25/9/1962, and with Theodore Cannon on 17/9/1962 correspondence between Norman Robinson and Tom Flett dated September 1962, and an interview with Florence Nixon, 2/12/1977, by J.F. Flett.
Photograph of Mabel Parrington and Muriel Hoggarth