Posts Tagged ‘Maud Allan’


Maud Allan, Canadian-born dancer and choreographer, London, 1908

September 13, 2015

Maud Allan (1873-1956), Canadian-born dancer and choreographer
(postcard photo: W. & D. Downey, London, circa 1908)

This postcard, postmarked twice during September 1909, is addressed to a Mrs Barton in Newton Abbot, Devonshire, England. The message reads: ‘You can get her life written by herself I hear, so I’m going got get it out of a library. This I should imagine is specially like her. Love May.’

Maud Allan’s My Life and Dancing, was published by Everett & Co, London, in 1908. A special souvenir edition was printed to commemorate Miss Allan’s 250th performance at the Palace Theatre, London, 14 October 1908.


Topsy Sinden’s music hall appearances during 1908

January 14, 2014

Topsy Sinden (1877-1950), English musical comedy, pantomime and variety theatre dancer, actress and singer
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, circa 1908)

The Hippodrome, Richmond, Surrey, week beginning, Monday, 30 November 1908
‘The first appearance here of Topsy Sinden is another popular item. Her soldier song makes a very favourable impression, and is followed by a striking success in her second song as a demure schoolgirl, where her vivacious and graceful dancing is seen to its best advantage and gains her continual recalls.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 3 September 1908, p. 13c)

Holborn Empire, London, week beginning Monday, 26 October 1908
‘Another popular item is the turn of Topsy Sinden, who gives two songs. The first is delivered in good style by Miss Sinden, dressed in a becoming soldier’s costume, while the second, which is of poor quality, serves as an introduction to some of Miss Sinden’s magnificent dancing. Her work is greatly to the liking of the house, and one cannot help feeling that the daintiness and charm of her movements afford a far better expression of the art of dancing that the so-called ”Salome” and similar efforts, a view that is shared by the spectators, if one may judge by the applause.’
(The Stage, London, Thursday, 29 October 1908, p. 12c)


La Divine Amylla

May 27, 2013

La Divine Amylla (fl. early 20th Century), dancer
(photo: Hana, London, circa 1908/1909)

This real photograph postcard, probably dating from about 1908/1909, is by Hana, theatrical and music hall photographer, London.

‘Beauty and Classicism at The Empire [Johannesburg, South Africa].
‘The ”sensation” of the Empire season just now, the ”top-liner,” is Mdlle. Amylla, classic dancer. She brought a huge audience to the Palace [sic] on Monday, and there has been little or no falling off through the week. Opinions may clash as to the ”sensuality” of the lady’s show. I can see none. It is Art, pure unadulterated Art, of a kind that explains the furore created by Maud Allan and her imitators in England. The ”divine Amylla,” I should imagine, is unequalled in her own line. She is the embodiment of Moods – lithe, sinuous, graceful, sometimes snake-like in her dancing; reflecting the meaning of the music, subtly conveying its lesson without words. In her illustration of the Chopin Marche Funebre, she is the very abandonment of woe, crushed to the earth by calamity; a one bound she reaches the other Pole, when Mendelssohn’s Spring Song begins – she is the Spirit of Youth, the Nymph of dancing for sheer lightness of heart in ”meadows trim with daisies pied.” As the awakened statue she is a picture of unreasoning ecstasy in her dance before the shrine. But the masterpiece is her presentation of Herodia’s daughter, the young lady who so charmed her step-father by her dancing that he vowed a vow she should have whatso’er she wishes – and she took him at his word and got the head of John the Baptist, in disfavour with her mother because he had condemned that person’s marriage with her deceased husband’s brother Herod. This items is distinctly ”thrilly.” We have to imagine Herod sitting in the great hall, in ”bad eminence,” with his vindictive spouse by his side, surrounded by stern soldiery. Enter Salome, fit daughter of a wanton mother, very neglige as to costume. She dances after a fashion fit to wile the senses of any man, until once can fancy the enraptured Herod crying, ”with an oath,” that she could have her wish even to half of his kingdom. ”Being instructed of her mother,” she compasses the death of John, and presently receives the ghastly head, which she now fondles, now taunts, now spurns, a very Megæra tormented by the memory of her own crime. It is a wonderful, a magnetic illusion, lasting until the woman falls, exhausted as much by physical strain as by mental stress so it is presented. There was no questioning Amylla’s triumph. She gripped the crowded house from the first, and her hold grew stronger until the ”Salome incident,” which drew thunders of cheering and brought her again and again to the divided curtain.’
(The Transvaal Critic, Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday, 4 December 1908, quoted in The Encore, London, Thursday, 28 January 1909, p. 9 advertisement)


La Sylphe

May 11, 2013

La Sylphe (Edith Lambelle Langerfeld, 1883-1965), American exotic dancer, as Salome
(photo: unknown, probably USA, circa 1908)

‘La Sylphe Should Lose Her Pearls as Salome?
‘Well, Don’t Worry; She’d Put on Another Suit of ‘Em.
‘There’s So Little to the Costume in Which She Made Her Broadway Debut That, Really, She Doesn’t Stop to Think About It.
‘By Nixola Greeley-Smith
‘The most sinuous Salome that has struck New York appeared at Keith & Proctor’s Fifth Avenue Theatre yesterday, when La Sylphe made her Broadway debut.
‘The latest picture of Herodia’s dancing daughter is called ”The Remorse of Salome,” and is designed to portray the morning-after emotions of the enterprising young siren who was bound that John the Baptist should lose his head over her one way of another.
‘It is an extremely serpentine Salome which Miss Edith Lambelle – La Sylphe’s real name – presents, and there are moments in the dance when one has serious misgivings that the serpent is about to slough its skin of pearls.
‘The young woman is of extraordinary slenderness and suppleness, and her performance is a contortionary marvel. Her dance, to an uninitiated observer, suggests that she has undertaken to tell the guidance the time by the movements of her slim legs, beginning with both feet decorously together at half past six, and ending in an incredibly divergent 12.30 described on the floor and shown in the picture in The Evening World to-day.
‘As La Sylphe’s clothing yesterday consisted of about a yard of spangled tulle for a skirt, and several yards of string pearls for sole covering above the waist, speculation was rife in the audience as to what would happen if one of these strings broke.
‘In La Sylphe’s dressing-room, after the performance, I thought it only right to satisfy the general wonder by asking the question.
”’Oh,” she replied, nonchalantly, ‘there are more pearls,” and waved her hand toward several yards of reserve ornaments hanging from a hook on the wall.
‘At close range La Sylphe seems very tall, and incredibly slender even then. She is five feet seven inches tall, and weighs only 109 pounds.
”’You look about sixteen,” I said to her, for it was the truth.
”’Well, I should look about sixteen,” she replied, ”If I want to be historically accurate. Salome was just about that age. In those days girls married generally at fourteen. If they didn’t they were considered passe at sixteen, and real old maids at seventeen.
”’But I don’t think there were very many old maids then. There are more now, and I think it’s a good idea. I’m going to be one. Marriage is fine for a man, but it’s rotten luck for a woman, in my opinion.”
‘I brought La Sylphe back from her views on matrimony with a question which I asked not without diffidence.
”’How do you feel about going before so many people with practically no clothes on? Don’t you mind it?”
”’No,” replied the dancer. ”I don’t think about it. The dance calls for such a costume. Maud Allan dance it practically naked in Paris. I never did, even at the Folies Bergeres. I’ll admit I was frightened in Harlem when they told me I might be arrested. But they didn’t arrest me.
”’I’ve been among artists, and studied art so much, that I can see no harm in the nude figure. An artist in Munich gave me the idea for it. I’ve been doing it for seven years abroad, long before Maud Allan ever thought of it.
”’I’ve seen her dance, and Gertrude Hoffman’s imitation of it. Miss Hoffman doesn’t give a suggestion of the muscle dance. I give as much of the regular Eastern dance as I dare, for, of course, that’s what Salome gave.”’
(The Evening World, New York, Tuesday, 28 July 1908, p. 3c)


January 12, 2013

advertisement for Bosworth’s film,
The Rug Maker’s Daughter, released 5 July 1915,
starring Maud Allan (1873-1956), Canadian dancer,
and featuring Forrest Stanley (1885-1969), American actor
(photo: Bosworth Inc., New York and Hollywood, 1915;
The New York Dramatic Mirror, New York, Saturday, 23 June 1915, p.25c)

‘Maud Allan, Mistress of Terpsichore, is Seen in an Exotic Drama of Orient at Jefferson [Fort Wayne].
‘Refusing in years past all offers to be shown upon the screen, Maud Allan, the noted exponent of classical and interpretive dancing, was returning to London after a sensationally successful eighteen months’ tour of Australia, India and the far east, when she lingered just long enough on the Pacific coast to be captured by one of the largest American moving picture producers.
The Rug Maker’s Daughter presents Maud Allan as the heroine of a solid ninety minutes of oriental pageantry which unfold a charming romance of the American-Turkish rug trade. She seems equally at home in dramatic scenes and dancing scenes. The three oriental dances she presents naturally are similar in many respects to her marvelous “Vision of Salome,” which is now accepted as the most dignified and artistic of all the versions of the daughter of Herodias before the head of John the Baptist.
‘Maud Allan’s Dancing of Purely Creative Variety.
‘Maud Allan’s whole success in her dancing has been in her departure from the cut and dried dance forms which depend upon a mechanical routine of memorized “steps.” An orator would not make his oration a long string of platitudinous mottoes, and no sooner would Maud Allan descend to meaninglessness in her body’s expression of that great, soundless music known as rhythm. When Maud Allan dances she therefore anticipates her inspiration rather than looks back to it. Music, as carried in these orchestral obligatoes, becomes her stimulus. Every bar, every phrase, every chord gives her a hint: makes her “do something.” And her mind and body – her body as pliant in her hands as a master’s brush – are so enrapport through her genius and long training that she can translate instantly in dancing the characteristics of the vision the music reveals to her. The tense, hypnotic concentration which grips Maud Allan in all her dancing is clearly shown in the picture of The Rug Maker’s Daughter. The camera has been able to catch in her face a secret of remarkable power which audiences probably never discovered because of the great distance over the footlights.
‘Famous Rug Figures in Story.
‘On receipt of word that Maud Allan, the world famous dancer, had been secured as star in The Rug Maker’s Daughter all other productions of Bosworth Incorporated, were sidetracked until its completion. Some idea of the lavishness with which The Rug Maker’s Daughter has been mounted is conveyed in the $75,000 oriental rug which hands upon the wall of the New York rug shop in the latter half of the picture, and is but one of a score of striking features.
‘This rug was specially secured from the $250,000 collection of Frank L. Loftus, of Los Angeles. It was woven in the early seventeenth century for the reigning sultan of Turkey, as can be deduced from the private sign manual of the sultan’s worked in the square inch, and took its weaver over seventeen years to complete. Because of its great value the historic rug has never been shown in public.’
(The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sunday, 11 July 1915, p.18d)