August 17, 2008

Andrea Wants a Plaza of the Action


Were you ever a Teddy Boy at the Plaza Ballroom in Chichester Street, Belfast? You were? Then Andrea McCartney, who is shooting a documentary on vintage Ulster ballrooms of romance for Double Band Films, wants to talk to you.

The Plaza, which closed down in the early 70s, used to have lunchtime dance sessions for office workers out for their tea and sandwiches, and the evening dances were something else. It was the kind of dance hall worried mums advised their daughters to stay away from on Saturday nights, although I remember the BBC filming black and white concerts there featuring the Belfast Girl Singers.

During the war years the Plaza became a Red Cross Centre for American servicemen and in the winter of 1944 celebrated band leader Glenn Miller brought his orchestra to the hall - and to Langford Lodge on the Lough Neagh shore near Crumlin - to entertain the troops. It was after the war that the Teddy Boys (and girls) crowded into the Plaza to quickstep and slow waltz the weekends away. If you have memories of the old place or if you fell in love there once upon a time, contact Andrea, tel: 9024 3331.

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