Dance in popular theatre – victoria and albert museum gas in oil pressure washer


Wilson, Keppel and Betty formed the greatest eccentric dance act of all time. Wilson and Keppel were two doleful, gangling, moustachioed, skinny-legged and obviously English men. They wore parodies of Eastern dress, usually a fez and a short nightshirt, revealing their scrawny legs. The third member of the team was the glamorous Betty. To the popular music ‘Egyptian Ballet’ by Luigini, they performed a sand dance based on poses familiar from Egyptian tomb art, with Betty as the central seductress. Their complete seriousness added to the hilarity. The dance only became funnier as Wilson and Keppel got older and more emaciated. electricity origin Music hall spawned many comedy dance acts but no other has become part of the general public consciousness like Wilson, Keppel and Betty. A comedian or performer only has to turn in profile and raise a hand in ‘Egyptian’ style for audiences to know the reference. They even turn up (or their costumes do) as Gulli, Gulli and Betti in Terry Pratchett’s Jingo – once the fez and nightshirt were out of the bag, no reader needed the parodied name to get the reference.

By the end of the 19th century, ballet was a popular draw at the rival Alhambra and Empire theatres which stood on adjoining sides of Leicester Square, in London. grade 9 electricity These were full-scale ballets, and both theatres spent a great deal of money on bringing in famous dancers from abroad. Some of the ballets had topical and contemporary themes. Our Crown was choreographed for King Edward’s coronation and others had light-hearted themes such as Seaside and High Jinks.

The Alhambra stood on the east side of Leicester Square, a grand Moorish-style building with two minarets and a huge fountain under the central dome. Originally built in 1854 to display scientific discoveries, the Alhambra became a music hall in 1860. It boasted appearances by some of the most famous performers of the day: the tightrope walker Blondin and Jules Léotard with his new invention, the flying trapeze.

Like its rival the Empire, it became famous for its spectacular ballets and the prostitutes, who plied for custom in the auditorium. The playwright George Bernard Shaw described the Alhambra music hall as ‘a huge circular theatre, lighted by small lamps arranged in continuous lines around the auditorium … The atmosphere was hot, and flavoured with gas, cigar smoke and effervescing liquors.’

Trained by her uncle in Denmark, she danced in his touring ballet company as a child. When she came to London she had already danced as guest ballerina at the opera houses in Munich and Berlin. It is as Swanilda in ‘Coppélia’ that she is best remembered. Her style and technique were said to have been near perfection, and she was responsible for ballet becoming very popular in London. Diaghilev saw her dance in 1911, and was so impressed that he offered her a contract to dance with his company, but she declined.

In 1906 Adeline Genée requested that the Empire Theatre put on ‘Coppelia’ so that she could dance the role of Swanilda. gas upper back pain As in the original French production, Franz was played by a girl dressed as a boy. Although London audiences loved ballet, there was great prejudice against male dancers – the public would only tolerate them in character roles, like Dr Coppélius.

In America Genée danced in musical spectaculars – ballet in its own right was unknown there at the time. She also toured Australia. In both countries she generated huge public interest in ballet. Adeline retired as a dancer in 1917. In 1920 she was active in setting up what is now the Royal Academy of Dance, to establish proper ballet teaching in Britain. gasbuddy nj She retired as president in 1954 and was succeeded by Margot Fonteyn, but remained on the committee till she died at the age of 92 in 1970.

Skirt dancing was thought to be refined, tasteful and tantalizing. It was said that the motion of skirts rippled like the froth on the sea (such were the voluminous underskirts that Victorian ladies wore). Because it was less specialised and more lady-like than many dance forms, society ladies were able to learn the skirt dance as drawing room entertainment.

Skirt dancing was developed by individual dancers each adding their own style to the dance. When Lettie Lind danced in America in 1888 the critics were surprised to see a dancer who did not show her legs and breasts. In the 1890s skirt dancing became wilder. There was a craze for the Can-Can and some skirt dancers, like Katie Seymour, incorporated high kicks into their routine. Some people thought this was a vulgar version of the graceful skirt dance. Lottie Collins devised her own cross between skirt dancing and the Can-Can in her performance of her hit song, ‘Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay’.

The manipulation of yards of fabric was developed by later performers, most notably Loie Fuller. She extended her arms using long wooden wands to which the fabric was fixed. electricity voltage in paris When she moved the wands the lighting changed colour over the flowing fabric, creating beautiful shapes, that were immortalised as figurines and lamps by Art Nouveau designers. Other dancers used electric lighting within the costumes. electricity png Marie Leyton danced against a Black Background so that the illuminations in her costume could be seen. This was called the Electrical Serpent Dance.

John Tiller was born in Blackpool in 1854 and learnt to clog dance as a boy. He later started a theatre school in Manchester. By 1895 he managed several troupes of dancers. Each troupe was slightly different but all of them performed the same style of formation dancing in which the girls were grouped according to height. Each troupe had a distinct personality or theme. There was the Fairy Troupe, Tiller’s Troubadours, the Forget-me-nots, Tiller’s Mascots and the Rainbow Troupe. Dressed in similar costumes they all performed high kicks, cartwheels and the splits as part of their routines.

Tiller’s empire grew rapidly, such was the demand for his girls. He soon had two residential schools and almost 300 girls in training, mostly young, pretty and conscientious girls from poor backgrounds. In addition to training girls to perform in the Tiller Troupes he supplied individual dancers to troupes in Paris and Berlin. In 1912 the Palace Troupe appeared before the King and Queen at the first Royal Variety Performance.