Rose Newham, acrobatic and skirt dancer, New York City, late 1880s

February 16, 2013

Rose Newham (née Rose May Newman, b. 1862),
acrobatic and skirt dancer in characteristic pose.
She was a younger sister of Amelia Newham (née Amelia Augusta Newman, b. 1845), otherwise known as Mlle. Colonna, who had caused a sensation in the late 1860s/early 1870s with her troupe of can can dancers.
(photo: Sarony, New York, late 1880s)

Rose Newham appearing on tour in the United States in Lydia Thompson’s Penelope Company, 1888
‘But High Kicking Which Does Not Offend Good Taste.
‘The startling and sensational dance and high kicking of Miss Rose Newham, of the Lydia Thompson Company, in the burlesque of Penelope, which is the opening performance of the company this evening at the New Park theatre, has been the talk of every city in which the dance has been witnessed.
‘Miss Newham kicks and points her toes to the flies, with quite as much ease apparently and quite as perpendicularly as a flagpole pointing its nob [sic] to the heavens. The dance is executed in the costume which was known in the Elizabethan period as a doublet and hose, but which has been considerably modified for the purposes of burlesque.
‘There is nothing at all suggestive in the highest of the high kicking and nothing to offend the most correct taste. The dance is simply graceful, fanciful, eccentric, sensational and entirely startling.
‘It is during the second act that a chord from the orchestra bring the dancer down to the footlights; here she stands for an instant until a measure in the music is reached that suits her, and her feet start into motion. The rapidity of her movements are well nigh inconceivable, and cannot be followed by the eye. Before one position can be flashed to the retina the nimble limbs have cleaved the circumambient air in a wholly different direction. The result is confusing and bewildering in the extreme, and yet not unpleasing. When Miss Newham kicks there is a perpendicular line that flashes from her hip upward past her shoulder, past her shell-like ear, and terminated by a green slipper waving triumphantly above her golden hair. For a moment she looks like a human being with one leg. The other leg has disappeared entirely from the place where it is usually found, and then as the dancing becomes more fast and furious, and it is impossible to follow her movements with any degree of accuracy, she seems to have two limbs on one side of her body – one over her head and the other with the foot still resting on the floor. The optical delusion is complete. The press throughout the country have been loud in their praise of the very remarkable dancing of this young lady; and one and all confess it to be the most graceful and the highest kick ever seen on the stage.
‘Miss Lydia Thompson and her famous burlesque company open this evening in Stephens’ and Solomon’s satirical burlesque Penelope. The company numbers fifty-five people and is the largest and most complete organization ever seen in Portland. The advance sale of seats have been remarkably large, and prospects point to a successful week’s engagement.’
(The Morning Oregonian, Portland, Oregon, Friday, 22 February 1889, p.5b)

Lydia Thompson’s production of Henry Pottinger Stephens and Edward Solomon’s burlesque, Penelope, opened at the Star Theatre, New York, on 15 October 1888, with herself playing Ulysses and Aida Jenoure in the title role.

Rose Newham
Rose Newham
(photo: unknown, late 1880s/early 1890s)

The People’s Theatre, 199 Bowery, New York City, week beginning Monday, 2 February 1891
‘The People’s has reproduced the striking situations and sensational effects of After Dark, a play that appeals very strongly to the tastes of this theatre’s patrons. Edmund Kean Collier, a vigorous and admirable actor when the conditions favor, is now the impersonator of the heroic Old Tom, and the Eaza is that careful and occasionally powerful actress, Stella Rees. Among the vaudevilliers [sic] who appeard in the concert hall scene was Rose Newham, who, though not named on the programme, gave a capital interlude of dancing.’
(The Sun, New York, Thursday, 5 February 1891, p. 3b)

Cinderella, Academy of Music, East 14th Street and Irving Place, New York City, November 1891
‘there was a sort of mortuary jollity about the production of Cinderella at the Academy of Music, a suggestion of the dear, dead ago. As an English pantomime it is a very, very long way off, and as an American entertainment it is lacking in many essential qualities. The costumes, ballets and ballet music all brought back memories of The Babes in the Wood at Niblo’s – to which, by the bye, Cinderella cannot hold a candle – then there was deal of Bertha Ricci, of comic opera memory, and other souvenirs… . Miss Fannie Ward, the Cinderella, has the ghost of a voice… . The best member of the company if Rose Newham, the skirt dancer, who did a conventional pas seul with her best Drury Lane smile.’
(Alan Dale, The Evening World, New York, Wednesday, 25 November 1891, p 2e)

‘Rose Newham, the skirt dancer, will, it is said, star in a new comedy next season, backed by a Chicagoan.’
(Dunkirk Evening Observer, Dunkirk, New York, Tuesday, 10 February 1891, p.2b)

Rose Newham is including in a long list of ‘ACTRESSES – SHOWING BUST’ in ‘New Cabinet Photographs,’ available from ‘RICHARD K. FOX, Publisher, Franklin Square, N.Y.’
(advertisement, <I.>Life and Battles of James J. Corbett The Champion Pugilist of the World, published by Richard K. Fox, New York, 1892)

‘Rose Newham
‘At Liberty. 325 West 34th Street.’
(The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 8 February 1896, p. 27d)


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