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A.J. Hipkins

revised by David Charlton

(b Menstetten, nr Altona, Hamburg, Feb 25, 1809; d London, May 26, 1886). French dancing-master and composer, father of Eugen d'Albert. He was the son of a captain of cavalry in the French army, on whose death in 1816 d'Albert and his mother emigrated to England. D'Albert received piano tuition in London from Kalkbrenner and composition lessons from S.S. Wesley. After a period with the ballet in Paris (with Saint-Georges he wrote the libretto for Adam's ballet-pantomime ...

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Ronald M. Radano

(née Foote)

Vernon (b Norwich, England, May 2, 1887; d Fort Benbrook, TX, February 15, 1918). Irene (b New Rochelle, NY, April 7, 1893; d Eureka Springs, AR, January 25, 1969). American ballroom and exhibition dancers. The Castles (married in 1911) began to appear as a dance team in New York clubs in 1912. They danced in the musical The Sunshine Girl (1913), gaining wide appeal partly because of the enthusiasm among the upper classes in New York for the new steps of vernacular dance. By 1914 they had become the city’s most popular social dance team, appearing in Broadway shows and silent films, and they enjoyed great success with their book Modern Dancing (1914/R 1980). The Castles owned several entertainment centers where they performed and taught social dancing; the dances that they popularized, including the Castle Walk (a variant of the one-step, danced on the toes with stiff knees), hesitation waltz, and foxtrot, merged patrician sophistication with sexual suggestiveness and lack of restraint. Their special brand of social dancing, accompanied by the syncopated rhythms of their music director, James Reese Europe, and his orchestra, helped to popularize black urban music and paved the way for the dance styles and social life of the 1920s. A film of their lives, ...

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Whitney B. Holley

(b New York, NY, Aug 15, 1892; d Los Angeles, CA, Aug 29, 1972). American lyricist, dancer, and comedian. He began his career as a dancer and comedian on the vaudeville circuit and became a Tin Pan Alley lyricist. From Shirley Temple’s innocent banter to Billie Holiday’s sensual musings, Clare had a knack for fitting lyrics perfectly to a performer’s character. “Ma, he’s makin’ eyes at me” (1921, a collaboration with the composer Con Conrad), became a signature tune for the singer Eddie Cantor. Clare’s song “I’d climb the highest mountain (if I knew I’d find you)” (1926, with Lew Brown) was a hit for both Sophie Tucker and Al Jolson. “Please don’t talk about me when I’m gone” (1930, with Sam Stept) was popularized by the singers Bee Palmer and Kate Smith and later used in the Warner Bros. animated short One Froggy Evening...

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Irene Alm

(b Milan, ?1755; d after 1838). Italian dancer, choreographer and composer. A pupil of Noverre, he danced at the Kärntnertortheater in Vienna in 1775 and presented his first choreography at the Teatro S Agostino in Genoa during Carnival 1776. Most of Clerico’s works were created for the opera houses in Venice, where he worked during the 1780s at S Samuele, S Benedetto and S Moisè, and later in his career at the Fenice, and in Milan, where from 1790 he graced the stage of La Scala for nearly 40 years. He also created ballets for opera houses in Turin, Rome, Brescia, Padua, Bologna, Parma and Florence, and returned to work in Vienna, 1798–1800. Clerico often danced in his own ballets with his brother Gaetano and sister Rosa (who in 1786 married the choreographer and dancer Lorenzo Panzieri). Their exceptional abilities as dancers, according to Ritorni, contributed in part to the success of Clerico’s ballets. Not only was he a renowned choreographer and dancer, but he also composed the music for many of his ballets. He was considered the heir to Angiolini, and an important precursor of Viganò. His enormous output totals nearly 80 ballets, many of which were restaged throughout Italy and in foreign theatres....

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(b Montpellier, Aug 19, 1742; d Tours, Feb 14, 1806). French dancer, teacher and choreographer . He danced in Lyons in 1757 under Noverre, who described his pupil as a joyful and dramatically expressive dancer. Within two years Dauberval was ballet-master for the Turin opera house. In 1761 he made a successful début at the Paris Opéra in Rameau’s Zaïs. He performed under Noverre in Stuttgart, 1762–4, appeared at the Haymarket, London, in 1764 and returned in 1766 to the Opéra, where he was appointed assistant ballet-master in 1770. He danced in many revivals of works by Lully and Rameau, and in the premières of Dauvergne’s Polyxène (1763), Louis Granier’s Théonis (1767), P.-M. Berton and J. B. de La Borde’s Adèle de Ponthieu (1772) and Gossec’s Sabinus (2nd version; 1774). From 1781 to 1783 he shared the title of ballet-master with Maximilien Gardel; he was ousted as a result of political intrigues....

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b Vienna, Jan 17, 1775; d Addleston, Surrey, Sept 3, 1838). English actress, singer, and dancer . Her father, an orchestral flute player, brought his family to London and she danced on stage as a child, gradually taking juvenile acting and singing parts. From 1790 she built up a repertory of roles in musical pieces, an early success being Macheath in a travesty Beggar’s opera. Hard-working, intelligent and lively, she had parts in many operas by Storace and Kelly. C. H. Wilson wrote, ‘she sings so well, acts so well, dances so well, and looks so well, that she is deservedly a great favourite of the town’. After marrying Charles Kemble in 1806 she generally acted with him but made few appearances after 1813.

BDA DNB (J. Knight) LS ‘Miss De Camp’, Thespian Magazine, 3 (1794),79–80 C. H. Wilson: The Myrtle and Vine (London, 1802) R. Fiske...

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Rainer E. Lotz

(Winston )

(b Philadelphia, May 14, 1889; d New York, May 19, 1939). American dancer, choreographer, and impresario. He went to Ireland in 1903 as a member of a juvenile “piccaninny” group, then toured Europe with Belle Davis (1903–8); his dancing during this period may be seen in the film Die schöne Davis mit ihren drei Negern (1906). Thereafter he worked as an eccentric solo act, and from 1910 into the 1930s was featured as a step dancer in revues in London, Paris, and Berlin; he also toured South America in 1923. In 1925 he starred in La revue nègre, with music provided by Claude Hopkins’s Charleston Jazz Band. He then organized his own revue, Black People (1926), which toured Europe and North Africa with members of Sam Wooding’s band. He organized further revues in Berlin (1926) and New York (1927...

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Susan Au

[Dora Angela ]

(b San Francisco, CA, May 27, 1877; d Nice, France, Sept 14, 1927). American dancer. She studied classical ballet as a child but rejected it as artificial, and developed her own style of dancing based on the principles of natural movement. Early in her career she danced for the theatrical manager Augustin Daly in the United States and with Loïe Fuller’s company in Europe, but subsequently performed mainly as a solo recitalist. After an early performance (New York, 1898) to the music of American composer Ethelbert Nevin, she turned to the compositions of Ludwig van Beethoven, Robert Schumann, Richard Wagner, and Fryderyk Chopin, among others, demonstrating through example that theatrical dance did not have to confine itself to specially composed scores, as had been the prevailing practice in 19th-century ballet. Her insistence on dancing to concert music paralleled her belief that dance was an art capable of expressing the highest aspirations of the soul. She admired the integration of dance in ancient Greek ritual and theater, and took inspiration from Greek sculpture. The simplicity of her costumes, which were based on Greek tunics, was matched by the unadorned curtains she used as her stage setting. She wished to reinstate in dance the sense of naturalness she perceived in the ancient Greeks and showed that simple movements such as walking, running, and skipping could be used as expressive components of the dancer’s movement vocabulary. Although her work is generally regarded as a precursor of modern dance, Duncan also influenced ballet choreographers such as Michel Fokine, particularly in introducing a freer, more fluid use of the torso, untrammeled by the corset that was then a part of the ballerina’s uniform. Her simplicity and naturalness seemed radical to audiences accustomed to the visual and choreographic extravagances of the ballet. She later displayed a political radicalism as well, demonstrating her support for the ideals of the Russian Revolution of ...

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Kate Van Winkle Keller

(b Paris, France, c1762; d Washington, DC, April 11, 1841). American dancing master, choreographer, and composer of dance music. He was born into a family named Landrin with close connections to the court of Louis XVI. He was a pupil of Maximilien Gardel (1741–87), and for six years he was dancing master for the Paris Opéra. He left Paris three days after the fall of the Bastille in 1789 and arrived in Philadelphia in mid-1790. He changed his name, placing advertisements for his dancing schools as Mr. De Duport. Chiefly a choreographer and teacher of social dancing, Duport blended amateur and professional dancing with theatrical standards of content and performance. He wrote music and created hornpipes and other solo dances for his students, as well as duos such as figured minuets, allemandes, and waltzes; group dances, including complex French contredanses, cotillions, and English country dances; and ballets for his classes to perform at recitals. A music copybook in Duport’s hand traces his creative career from ...

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Claude Conyers

(b York, PA, Jan 6, 1768; d Philadelphia, 1822). American dancer. He was the first native-born American to become known as a performing dancer. Interested in theater and dance as a boy, he was, according to his memoirs, “charmed” by the liveliness of the hornpipe. As early as 1780, at age twelve, he learned “the correct style of dancing a hornpipe” from a visiting French dancer and made it his specialty. At fifteen he left home, went to Boston, and in 1785 joined Lewis Hallam’s theatrical company, dancing the hornpipe between acts. During Durang’s first season, a musician named Hoffmaster composed a tune for him that became famous as “Durang’s Hornpipe,” and a few years later his staged version of the traditional “Sailor’s Hornpipe” in The Wapping Landlady (1790) solidified his reputation as an unparalleled performer of the dance.

From his collaborations with visiting European artists, Durang acquired skills in acrobatics, tightrope walking, classical ballet, clowning, pantomime, choreography, and theater management. In ...

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Maureen Needham Costonis

(b Nancy, Feb 4, 1758; d Paris, Oct 18, 1840). French dancer and ballet-master . He made his début as a danseur noble in 1774. He was trained by his brother, Maximilien Léopold Philippe Joseph Gardel (b Mannheim, 18 Dec 1741; d Paris, 11 March 1787), a dancer at the Opéra since 1755 and assistant ballet-master from 1773. The elder Gardel had made a sensation there in 1772 when, asked to replace Gaetano Vestris in Rameau’s Castor et Pollux, he had removed the traditional mask. In 1783 Maximilien became principal ballet-master and Pierre was appointed his assistant. He became principal ballet-master in 1787 and held the post for more than 40 years. Grimm described him as a worthy successor to Noverre, and Bournonville claimed that ‘no one was able to rival’ his opera dances, citing the ‘wealth of invention’ in such works as Le Sueur and Persuis’ ...

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[Edvard, Eduard ]

(b Copenhagen, Denmark, 1843; d New York, NY, Feb 4, 1899). Composer, dancer, and playwright of Danish birth. He immigrated to the United States in about 1874 and was active in New York in both music and theater. He provided the music for several musical comedies, including A Circus in Town...

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Claude Conyers

[William Kersands ]

(b Baton Rouge, 1842?; d Artesia, NM, Jun 30, 1915). American comedian, singer, and dancer. He began performing with the minstrel troupes managed by Charles Hicks in the early 1860s, soon winning a reputation as a comic song-and-dance man. After a European tour in 1870, he played with most of the major black minstrel troupes in America, and in 1885 he formed his own company, which became well known for its marching band. He was the most popular and the best paid African American comedian of his day, renowned for his comic routines involving his large mouth, which he could contort in odd ways or stretch to accommodate a variety of unlikely objects. He was also proficient at dancing, singing, acrobatics, and drumming. As a dancer, his specialty was the Virginia essence, a flat-footed, smoothly gliding dance style that accommodated his comic antics. Among his signature songs, “Old Aunt Jemima” (...

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Allan Thomas

( b 1796; d 1866). Scottish dancing-master . He was the most prominent member of a family of dance teachers in Scotland in the early 19th century, whose descendants numbered more than 20 teachers over five generations and who were active in Scotland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand for some 200 years. With his brothers John, Robert and James, Lowe was influential in establishing Scottish dance in a modern ballroom form. The brothers taught in different parts of Scotland and together wrote Lowes’ Ball-Conductor and Assembly Guide (Edinburgh, c1830), one of the most extensive 19th-century dance manuals. Joseph Lowe also published many arrangements of Scottish dance-tunes for the piano. From 1851 to 1860 he was dance tutor to the family of Queen Victoria, and his journal of these years gives an insight into his teaching at Windsor and Balmoral. His workbook, which contains step descriptions of dances and some entries by his son Joseph Eager Lowe, who taught in New Zealand and Australia, is in the National Library of New Zealand....