The English Girls
| See Below!|
| The Florodora Girls
| The Floradora Sextette
The most popular all Girl groups of the time was 'the English Girls' later nicknamed the "Florodora Girls" and "Florodora Sextette" who performed the leggy, risqué dances popular during the time in the show entitled "Florodora" which opened in London at the Lyric Theatre on November 11, 1899, and later came to America in 1900 at the Casino Theatre from the London Operetta. The original London production opened in 1899 where it ran for a very successful 455 performances. The New York production was even more popular, opening the following season and running for 552. These leggy dancers became a chorus type dance group like the Goldwyn Girls, Goldiggers, Samual Roxy's Roxyettes, Tiller Girls, Ziegfeld Girls and others.
Some of them were in a musical stock company of female dancers who appeared in many other musicals such as Ziegfelds and George White productions. The six who opened the 1900 show, wearing pink walking costumes, black picture hats and carrying frilly parasols, they were known as the Florodora Sextet, the original members (pictured) were: Marjorie Relyea, Daisy Greene, Margaret Walker, Vaughn Tex-Smith, Marie Wilson and Agnes Wayburn.
The Florodora Sextet girls were largely responsible for the production turning from modest entertainment to a world wide phenomenon. New York society fawned over the girls, and all the sudden everyone wanted to hear them, see them and meet them. They were even invited to teas on Fifth Avenue and many affluent males of all ages, married or not started attending performances at the Metropolitan Opera House. What made them so popular ... Well, one of the first critics to revue and print said this: "One of the most uncompromisingly filthy plays ever seen in New York, and it is a shame that its representation is permitted by the police. Not one of the low burlesque theaters, which no decent person would think of visiting, would dare present such an unblushingly bawdy work for fear of clashing with the police." That revue was probably because of a rather novel feature of 'Florodora' was that it was devoid of the ladies wearing the usual tights with the exception of a single pair worn by the prima Donna. After that, everyone had to see for themselves.
Many of these ladies would later dance as Goldwyn Girls, Ziegfeld Girls and others as well as other musicals and movies in the 1900s-1940s. They were sometimes listed as "Models," "Showgirls" or "Chorus Girls." It was well known that if you danced in shows like Ziegfeld's, Floradora, Tiller's, the GW Scandals, etc., there was a good chance to marry a wealthy man. Ziegfeld is probably the one who started this as he would invite wealthy men to his shows, with the promise of meeting a pretty girl. Most of the girls of the Florodora would dance in the show, marry one of the rich patrons and then quit the show which over time produced over 70 Floradora dancers. Which is why the movie portrayed them so loosely. Soon fter the organizers figured it out, they prohibited fraternization with the patrons.
After concluding it's run in 1905, during which "Florodora" moved from the Casino theatre to the New York Winter Garden Theater (not the 50th Street Winter Garden) and then to the Broadway Theater (was demolished in 1929.) After the shows final curtain run, Thomas W. Riley (Casino manager who first hired the show) produced another show featuring a revival of the Florodora girls, but this time called them "The Powder Puff Girls," saying they were more beautiful and more gingery (red hair) than the Florodora Sextette¹.
- Powder Puff Girls octette: (these girls were more petite, shorter and younger)¹
- Elsie Hamilton (from New Orleans)
- Hazel Lewis
- Lydia Scott (from Staten Island, born 1894)
- Margarete Morris
- Marguerite St. Clair
- May Leslie
- Truly Ewers
- Zelma Mantell
Requirements for a Florodora girl were red or brunette hair; 130 pounds and five feet, four inches.