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Flora and May Hengler, American duettists and dancers

January 5, 2013

Hengler Sisters (Flora and May, fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
American duettists and dancers
(photo: Morrison, Chicago, mid 1890s)

‘Announcement is made that the Hengler sisters lately danced at an entertainment in the house of one of the Vanderbilts at Newport. The unimpeachability of the Vanderbilts is less significant in this instance than the delicate compliment carried to the taste of the entertainment committee of the Hanover club. It will be remembered that the Hengler sisters danced at that club with so much chic and agility that the integrity of the organization was seriously threatened by the women who were not present.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Monday, 24 July 1893, p. 4e)

‘The Hengler sisters, two little girls, who began their professional career about the time that they made a stir by dancing at the dignified Hanover Club of this city, are in Paris. They began a return engagement at the Folies Bergeres in Paris on September 4. During their previous engagement they made such a hit that M. Marchand, the manager, gave them this return engagement, which is for three months. They are the stars of the bill, and the fact that they are Americans is noted on the programmes. They are said to be the first performers to make a success in Paris with what is known as a ”neat” singing and dancing act.’
(The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Brooklyn, New York, Sunday, 3 October 1897, p. 16c)

‘In connection with this production [The Sleeping Beauty and the Beast, Broadway Theatre, New York, 4 November 1901] the appearance of the Hengler sisters brings back memories to the old-time theatre-goer. They are the daughter of T.M. Hengler, dead these many years, who with his partner, W.H. Delehanty, was a pioneer in what for many years was known as the ”refined clog-dancing speciality.” Both men were Albanians, and had been in minstrel troupes for several years, when, in 1868 they formed the team of Delehanty and Hengler and joined Dingess and Green’s minstrels. Then they introduced the act of coming on dressed in the pink of costume fashion, the stage usually being set as a garden. There is a sample of the kind of song they sang:

White wandering in the park one day
In the pleasant month of May,
What was my surprise
When a pair of roguish eyes
Met me by the fountain in the park
Tra-la-la-la.

‘At the end of each verse they broke into a clog-step in rhythmical harmony with the music.
‘The little Hengler girls have speaking parts in the extravaganza. One of them has had more serious dramatic ambitions, and has devoted time to the study of Shakespeare and reading. Tony Pastor first saw their talent, and was largely responsible for their first opportunities in London.’
(The New York Times, New York, Sunday, 10 November 1901, Magazine Supplement, p. 3d)

‘Shuberts Sign Hengler Sisters.
‘The Hengler sisters, Flora and May, have signed a contract to appear under the management of Shubert Bros. when they make their new production that Reginald De Koven is writing for the new Lyric Theater. Prominent roles will be assigned the Hengler sisters, and it is said they will be seen in more pretentious parts then they have yet essayed.’
(The Post-Standard, Syracuse, New York, 30 November 1902, p. 11c)

‘The Hengler Sisters are reported to be arousing the audiences to great enthusiasm at the Alhambra Music Hall, London, with their dainty turn. They are billed to appear at 10.30 P.M., which is headliners’ time in England, and are effectively singing ”The Maiden With the Dreamy Eyes” and ”Down Where the Cocoanut Grows,” Horowitz & Bowers’ latest effort. It is expected that they will arrive in new York shortly, to go into one of the Shubert productions.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, 4 April 1903, p. 134d)

‘Mrs. Stuyvesant Fish gave a dinner Thursday evening at her house, 25 East Seventy-eighth street, New York, for Mr. and Mrs. Albert Zabriskie Gray. Her guests were seated at tables decorated with spring flowers.
‘After the dinner, which was accompanied by the music of Highland bagpipers, there were songs and dances by the Misses May and Flora Hengler. General dancing followed the entertainment, and for this other guests arrived.’
(The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Saturday, 4 February 1911, p. 7e)

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