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John Jarrot and Joan Sawyer doing the Maxixe

Stage Name

Birth Name

Joan Sawyer

Bessie Josephine Sawyer


     Joan Sawyer was one of the most successful female dancers in the nightclub circuit in the 1910s. She started her professional dance career in 1907 in the production of the Vanderbilt Cup. Her shrewd business sense and self promotion garnered her top billing among her dance partners hips, some who were very famous dancers themselves such as Rudolpho Valentino ( Not yet a movie star) who she partnered for months in the Vaudeville circuit untill Valentino became involved in a complex sex scandal involving millionaire Jack de Saulles, his wife Blanca, the actress Mae Murray and Joan Sawyer. Valentino was a divorce witness for Blanca, which abruptly ended his partnership with Sawyer. Soon afterwards Blanca de Saulles shot her estranged husband dead.

   She was very popular with New York's '400'. Around 1914 she would manage, dance, teach and perform at the very popular

John Jarrot & Joan Sawyer (pic)
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"Persian Garden" (in The Winter Garden Building.) She had her own band called "Joan Sawyer's Persian Garden Orchestra (PGO.)" Like the Castle's, Joan choose to use Black musicians over their white counterparts for her own routines as well as her club ...

     Sawyer's main dance competition was the Castle's, Mouvet and Walton. Joan is said to have created the Aeroplane Waltz and Joanelle dance. In 1913, Lew Quinn and Joan Sawyer made the first real attempt to introduce a new dance to the United States called the Rhumba.

Birth Place

Birth Date



El Paso, Texas B.10/11/1887 n/a n/a


Dance Partners

Music Titles

Aeroplane Waltz (Creator) Bennie Dixon Joan Sawyer Maxixe (1914)
Ballroom Dances Carlos Sebastian Joan Sawyer's Persian Garden Orchestra
Danse of the Shadows George Raft Aeroplane Waltz
Joan Sawyer Maxixe (1914) Jack Webb Joanelle
Joan Waltz ( Hesitation ) John Gilbert La Rumba ( Tango)
Joanelle (1914) John Jarrott Rio Braselienne Maxixe
Maxixe Lew Quinn Bregeiro (Rio Brazilian Maxixe) (PGO 1914)
Maxixe Argentine (1914) Maurice Mouvet Joan Waltz - Hesitation (PGO)
One Step Quentin Todd Valse Boston (From "Les Millions D'Arlequin")
Pantomime Rudolph Valentino When You're A Long Way From Home - 1 Step (PGO)
Parisienne Tango Wallace Mc Cutcheon  
Rio Brazilian Maxixe        
Three In One (Creator)        
Valse Boston            

Night Clubs



El Fey (Raft & Valentino) Palace Theater 1907 - The Vanderbilt Cup
Louis Martin's ( Cafe de L'Opera)       1908 - The Merry Go Round
N.Y. Persian Ballroom       1911 - The Pink Lady
      'Les Millions D'Arlequin'


Joan's Musician's, Bands


n/a Dan Kildare 7/22/1908 - Newark Advocate (Sawyers Three In One)
  Persian Garden Orchestra
          1914 - Woman's Home Companion


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