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May 6, 2013

Gertrude Hoffman (1885–1966) American vaudeville dancer and choreographer, as ‘My Bird of Paradise’ in the ‘Hawaiian’ love song of that name, composed by her husband Max Hoffman [otherwise Hoffmann], with lyrics by Edward Madden, which was included in the revue, Broadway to Paris, produced at the Winter Garden Theatre, New York, on 20 November 1912 following a pre-Broadway opening at the Belasco Theatre, Washington, DC, on 30 September 1912.
(photo: Frank C. Bangs, New York, 1912, with artwork by Starmer for Jerome H. Remick & Co, New York and Detroit, 1912)

‘MAUD ALLEN’S [sic] DANCES COPIED BY NEW YORKER
‘Gertrude Hoffmann Will Soon Startle Gotham With London Sensation
‘SPECIAL DISPATCH TO THE CALL
‘NEW YORK, July 2 [1908]. – Maud Allan’s sensational dances that have been the joy of masculine London for several months are to be imitated by Gertrude Hoffmann.
‘Miss Hoffmann witnessed 14 performances of Miss Allan’s at the Palace, and when she returned said that she had copies the most minute detail, even of scenery, costumes and lighting effects. She gave particular attention to a “vision of Salome.”’
(The San Francisco Call, San Francisco, California, Friday, 3 July 1908, p. 3d)

‘GERTRUDE HOFFMAN OPENING FEATURE AT THE BELASCO [Washington, DC]
‘Appears in “Broadway to Paris” Week of September 30 [1912].
‘The Belasco theater will open its eight regular season under the management of David Belasco and the Messrs. Shubert on Monday night, September 30, with Miss Gertrude Hoffman in “Broadway to Paris.”
‘Miss Hoffman, always prolific in novel dance creations, promises some original sensations when her new revue comes to the Belasco theater.
‘Miss Hoffman looked to Moscow and St. Petersburg for her inspiration last season, and the result was “La Saison Russe,” which proved a revelation. Paris was Miss Hoffman’s artistic Mecca this season, and the answer is found in “Broadway to Paris.” The spirit and atmosphere of the French capital finds expression in every stage picture, every costume, every speech, song and dance. The dance plays no small part in the revue, both in solo and ballet form, and it is in the sartorial treatment of the dance numbers that Miss Hoffman has given full expression to her poetic unconventional conceptions.
‘Miss Hoffman will herself lead the dance – barefoot – defying the peacock in the gorgeousness and color combinations of her raiment. Her achievements of the past are said to be totally eclipsed both in point of lavishness and originality in her new vehicle. It has a distinctive Parisian atmosphere and a snap that is thoroughly French. An organization of 125 members is supporting Miss Hoffman.’
(The Washington Times, Washington, DC, Sunday, 15 September 1912, p. 10a)

Gertrude Hoffman’s leg paintings
‘It’s the new style, just over from Paris. Miss Hoffman, who was never particularly strong for stocking[s] anyway, is trying to popularize it in America. She appears in her new revue, “Broadway to Paris,” dressed just like this, with rabbits painted on her legs.
‘Leon Bakst, Russia’s great painter and an international leader in matters of art and fashion, invented the style. He insists that it’s much better to adorn pretty calves and ankles with painted pictures than to cover ’em with stockings.’
(The Tacoma Times, Tacoma, Washington, Monday, 7 October 1912, p. 5c)

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