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June 18, 2013

Mdlle. Nadje (née Amelia Cecilie Bowden, 1885-1966), English ‘hand-balancer and expert in equipoise’
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, circa 1906)

Mdlle. Nadje was a younger daughter of John Bowden (1825-1908) by his second wife, Rose (Watson). Bowden, whose stage name was Delevanti, was head of the Delevanti Troupe of equestrians, acrobats and wire-walkers.<br.
The Royal music hall, week beginning Monday, 30 January 1899
‘The Three Delevantis well deserve their description as ”graceful.” they perform various feats of bending and contortionism in an easy and supple way and with an absence of all apparently strain and effort which completely removes any unpleasant impression from their work.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 4 February 1899, p. 20a)

The Royal music hall, week beginning Monday, 10 December 1900
‘The Three Delevantis, ”bric-à-brac artistes and hand-balancers,” are three symmetrically shaped and prepossessing young ladies, who have been thoroughly well trained in their business, and rapidly revolve on the tops of decanters, turn somersaults with marvellous agility and activity, and do clever things upon a pair of ladders. They are evidently admired, and their turn evokes ardent applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 15 December 1900, p. 21b)

The Walthamstow Palace, week beginning Monday, 12 June 1905
‘Loud applause greeted the appearance of Mdlle. Nadje, who as hand-balancer and expert in equipoise has surely no superior. The exceeding grace of the performance, in addition to its cleverness, was recognised at once and vehemently cheered.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 15 June 1905, p. 18b)

‘I Lead – – OTHERS Follow
‘MLLE. NADJE
‘Now Playing eighth month on Keith, Proctor and Williams’ Circuit WITHOUT A BREAK.
‘I am the ONE and ONLY ORIGINAL DELEVANTI (NADJE), the only daughter of the original John Delevanti. I have played three engagements at THE ALHAMBRA, London, and TWICE BEFORE QUEEN ALEXANDRA OF ENGLAND.
‘I return for six weeks, December 23, 1907. I also have played SOUTH AFRICA.<br. ‘Finish the Season on K., P. and W. time June 13. Begins Orpheum circuit from June 23 to November 17.
‘I can stay forever in America.
‘LET ‘EM ALL COME. There is only one NADJE – THE REAL THING.
‘The Principal Performer for ten years of The Three Delevantis. My DAD’S name is JOHN. I am in no way related to any other artist in my line of work claiming to be related to THE THREE DELEVANTIS.
‘Wood of April 29, K. & P., 23d Street, New York.’
(Variety, New York, 27 April 1907, p. 27, advertisement)

Orpheum, Los Angeles, week beginning Monday, 8 July 1907
‘Mdlle. Nadje, an equilibrist who has been a feature of the London music halls for two seasons and has appeared privately before the king and queen of England.’
(Los Angeles Herald, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, 7 July 1907, part II, p. 3a, with photograph)

1909, ‘From Mdlle. Nadje, Alhambra Theatre, London
‘STAFFORD-MILLER CO., St. Louis, USA. ‘Quite without an equal are your preparations. Really I would consider it a serious handicap if I had to use some other powder than your Carmen [complexion powder]. It is beautiful and has kept my skin so perfect.
‘NOTE. – This letter is from a professional woman acclaimed for her beauty in three countries.’
(New York Tribune, New York, Sunday Magazine, 3 October 1909, full-page advertisement)

Tivoli Theatre, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 20 November 1915
‘Mdlle. Nadje, described as a ”physical culture” girl, appeared in the regulation Canadian bathing costume, and performed some clever acrobatic turns, for which, as well as for her graceful posing, she was heartily applauded.’
(The Argus, Melbourne, Victoria, Monday, 22 November 1915, p. 6b)

The King’s Theatre, Adelaide, week beginning Monday, 7 November 1921
‘The advent of the charming Franco-American artist, Mddle. Nadje, at the King’s Theatre, has been enthusiastically hailed. The vivacious little lady, whose beautiful figure has been so much admired and commented upon, gives a clever and artistic performance. Her attire, which is suitable both for her act, and to display her shapely proportions, consists of a perfectly fitting costume of silk, and she gives a unique display of posing, acrobatics, and physical culture. On her first entrance, Mdlle. Nadje wears an elegant Parisian gown, which must excite the envy of the lady members of the audience.’
(The Register, Adelaide, South Australia, Wednesday, 9 November 1921, p. 9c)

‘… Mdlle. Nadje is not of French birth. She was born in London. At the age of 15 she went to America, and since then has been before the footlights, adopting a Hindu stage name. She has played in the leading theatres of the United States, London, Paris, and Brussels. In many places she has given a lead to ladies desirous of taking up physical culture. ”Invariably,” she declared subtly, ”after my talks they want to kiss me. Will the Adelaide ladies be the same?” was her parting question as she walked gracefully on to the stage in one of her charming gowns.’
(The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia, Thursday, 10 November 1921, p. 12e)

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