The above 1950 Life magazine photos of a cotillion in Harlem is a rare look at a society that vanished in the following decades along with an interior view of a once prominent building. Young ladies of distinguished backgrounds would be presented at a debutante ball dressed in the most formal of attire. This was also an important event for the young gentlemen of the upper class and they would be paired off with the ladies at the gala.
The other interesting point of reference is that this appears to be the Renaissance Ballroom in Central Harlem which is currently in a decayed state. The formal classical balconies and the layout look the same as the ones in the derelict photo of the box seats taken last year by Nathan Kensinger: LINK. The ballroom was prevented from being declared a landmark based on the understanding that a planned condo conversion would not happen quickly if that were to happen: LINK. That was three years ago and the decaying building still sits on the corner of 138th and ACP/7th Avenue waiting for the day that it will be restored.