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Gabrielle Ray and Georgie Mahrer in The Merry Widow, Daly’s Theatre, London, 1909

September 22, 2013

Gabrielle Ray (1883-1973), English musical comedy dancer and actress, and Georgie Mahrer (active early 20th Century), Austrian exhibition dancer, as they appeared in The Merry Widow, at Daly’s Theatre, London, from 6 January 1909. The run of this popular musical play began at Daly’s on 8 June 1907 and ended on 31 July 1909.
(photo: Bassano, London, 1909)

‘Mr. Georgie Mahrer, who is said to be the world’s champion waltzer, is coming from France to play in The Merry Widow and incidentally to give London people some new ideas on waltzing.’
(Daily Express, London, Thursday, 7 January 1909, p. 7d)

‘NEW MERRY WIDOW DANCE.
‘Mr. Georgie Mahrer, a dancer with a Continental reputation, made his London début at Daly’s Theatre last night in the third act of the Merry Widow. With new music and Miss Gabrielle Ray as a partner he made such an instantaneous success with the audience that two encores had to be given.
‘The craze for stage dancing that has at present caught hold of London has now a new feature in the ballroom style introduced by Mr. Mahrer last night.’
(Daily Mail, London, Wednesday, 20 January 1909, p. 3c)

‘AMERICAN DANCERS GIVEN FIRST PLACE
‘Georgie Mahrer, Expert, Puts French in the Second Rank.
‘English people are tearing their hair over an interview given by Georgie Mahrer, an Austrian, said to be the first dancer in the world, who has been brought over to London from Paris. According to Mahrer the best dancers in the world are, not the Austrians, nor the Germans, not even the English, but – the Americans. Along with people on the other side of the Atlantic he classes a select few of the Parisians.
”’Vienna,” he said, ”is the home of the waltz, but my country people are not, in my opinion, the best waltzers. That distinction belongs to the Americans and the Parisians. The English lift their feet too far off the ground, dance too quickly and turn too rapidly.”
‘Truth to tell the average Englishman has a poor opinion of the American as a dancer and loses no chance of ridiculing such innovations as the ”half-time” and the ”glide.” Kansas City Star
(The Washington Times, Washington, DC, Monday, 15 March 1909, p. 9d)

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