Are you ready for “The Fifties in Focus” Nebraska Chautauqua on July 28-30 in McCook?

One fun way to get into the groove is to enjoy a 1950s-style meal with family and friends. We’ve researched some popular dishes of the decade and put together a few options for you. Recipes included if you need them! 


Jack LaLanne became the first televised fitness gurus in the U.S. You can still watch some of his exercise videos on YouTube. Here’s a few suggestions:

Premiere Episode
In Home Workout
Hangover Workout
Facial Workout

Of course, Jack LaLanne was not the only source of calisthenic exercise programs. Here are some other options:

1950 Rhythmic Workout 
1950s Beauty Exercises (demonstrated in a dress and high heeled pumps!)
1953 Pin-Up Girl Workout
1950s “Old Hollywood” Morning Stretch Routine

Fun & Games

These exercise systems feel like child’s play…because that’s what they were! 

Hula Hooping:  People have been using hoops as toys for as long as humans have recorded history, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that people started whirling them around their waists. This turns out to be good for your health: 30 minutes can help burn 165-200 calories while strengthening all your ab muscles. 

Roller Skating: hNo matter where you lived or even how old you were in the 1950s, roller skating was a fun pass time, according to this 1950s-era video from the American Roller Skating Association. The American Heart Association says that in 30 minutes, you can burn 115-295 calories.

Bowling:  Bowling alleys were springing up all over the country in the late 1950s. (Learn more here.) Depending on your personal effort, an hour of bowling can burn 150 to 300 calories an hour.  


Dancing of any kind is wonderful exercise, and during the 1950s, the energetic moves inspired by Swing dancing were great fitness routines. Click on the name of each dance for a video tutorial to help you learn the moves. 

The Bop: Borrowing moves from the Charleston and the Swing, the Bop was usually done with almost no touching between the couple at a highly accelerated speed. 

Actually started in the 1930s and taught in many of those excruciating dance lessons parents forced on preteens back then, this dance move didn’t become popular until it was matched with lively 1950s rock rhythms.

Chalypso: American Bandstand gets the credit for naming this simplified cha-cha danced to music with a calypso beat. 

Jive (aka Boogie Woogie): Descended from African-American cultural dancing, this fast-moving swing style included jumps, hops, stomping, and all sorts of ways to showcase personal style.

Stroll: We probably all remember the iconic stroll dance from the movies “American Graffiti” and “Grease,” but this dance actually has its origins in English country line dances. Dancers form two lines down the floor with a wide gap between them. Cue a slower, repetitive song, and as all the dancers sway and step to the music, the first couple “strolls” down the middle, using whatever dance tricks come to mind until they reach the bottom and the next couple takes their turn. 

And if you’d rather sit in a chair instead of dance, here’s a delightful 1959 seated dance medley featuring Gene Kelly and Donald O’Connor, two of Hollywood’s most accomplished and athletic dancers.