April 22, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Nellie Navette(1865-1936), English music hall dancer and serio-comic, as she appeared for her new ‘Floral Electric Dance,’ which she introduced at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, on Monday, 23 January 1893; with ‘kaleidoscopic effects’ by Mr. A.L. Fyfe , specially written music by Georges Jacobi, and a costume designed by herself
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1893)

‘London, Sunday Night [22 January 1893]
‘For those to whom either the political or the poetical drama proves too solid a fare, London just now is able to provide excellent enjoyment. At the Alhambra, where a fresh ballet, Chicago’s World’s Fair, is shortly to take the place of the picturesque Up the River, Miss Nellie Navette, one of the neatest and cleverest of dancers, will to-morrow give for the first time a new “electric dance,” introducing some kaleidoscopic effects of recent invention by Mr. A.L. Fyfe.’
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, England, Monday 23 January 1893, p. 5b)

‘LONDON, Tuesday [24 January 1893]…
‘A charming novelty was produced at the Alhambra last night. It is a new floral electric dance by Miss Nellie Navette. In light, floating, classical garb, whose soft folds indicate without revealing too much of a lovely figures, Miss Navette glides gracefully through a series of exquisite movements. She is flower decked, and ever and anon among the flowers electric lights sparkle. It is a most charming picture dance, and last night was received with a fervour of enthusiasm. The two great ballets, Up the River and Aladdin, have lost none of their fascination for the frequenters of the Alhambra, but I understand that Mr. A.A. Gilmer, who has succeeded Mr. John Hollingshead in the management, is already preparing a new spectacular ballet which will deal with the humours of the Chicago Exhibition.’
(Western Mail, Cardiff, Wales, Wednesday, 25 January 1893, p. 4g)

‘On Monday night the variety portion of the now liberal programme was added to by the appearance of Miss Nellie Navette in her new electric dance. Miss Navette has for some time held a place among the foremost of the favourites of the music halls, owing her position in no small measure to her Terpsichorean ability. Her many admirers might address to her the lines of “the Bard” from The Winter’s Tale – “When you do dance, I wish you a wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do nothing but that,” for her “steps” are pleasant studies in neatness and grace. In her new electric dance she comes on in a dress that is garlanded with pretty flowers, and in her hand she bears a feathered spray. While she dances flowers and spray become suddenly radiant with electric lights, producing a most charming effect, which is presently enhances, as, retiring for a moment, she returns bearing a sunshade, from the various points of which comes further radiance. Miss Navette’s contribution to the Alhambra programme is as pretty as it is novel, and it is greeted with applause that is both loud and long continued… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 January 1893, p. 16a)

‘New music has, we learn, been composed by M. Jacobi for the “Floral Electric Dance” now being performed by Miss Nellie Navette at the Alhambra Theatre.’
(The Daily News, London, Monday, 30 January 1893, p. 2a)

‘THE dancing dames who delight the golden youth (and silver age) which frequents “ the halls,” seem lately, in the ever necessary search after “fresh trips and postures new,” to have found some virtue in wearing electric light. The idea admits of nothing more novel than variation of application, having become pretty familiar to the public since it was first introduced at the Savoy Theatre. Miss Nellie Navette, a lady not unknown in these circles for feat footing, is the latest experimentalist. Wearing a garland of (what are presumably) large red poppies, whose hears are light (either because their souls are pure, or because they nestle on Miss Nellie’s bosom), and carrying a branch of the same flowers (of which one feels a sad prescience that she cannot leave go) the lady executes some ordinary steps neatly enough. She pauses occasionally to smile upon us, and “light up” (which is permitted at the Alhambra, if not at the Palace [also in Leicester Square]), and the general effect is – shall I say? – fetching.’
(Nestor, ‘Slashes and Puffs,’ Fun, London, Wednesday, 8 February 1893, p. 55a)


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