Loie Fuller was born in a
saloon in Illinois. Loie began her career as a child temperance
lecturer. At a young age she would take a few dance lessons but
gave them up because they were to difficult. Around 1883, she
would be acting on Broadway stages playing in a variety of touring
companies. and by 1889 had already formed her own company of young
women dancers ... (Loie Fuller and her Muses or Fullerets.)
Moving to Paris and performing her famous Serpentine
dance at the Follies-Bergère in 1892.
She would be known as the 'Butterfly Girl'
and invent the 'Serpentine
Dance' which she Patented and presented it in New York at
the Folies Bergère on February of 1892. Loïe Fuller
was thirty years old at the time and was considered more an actress
than a dancer, which she worked hard to change. Her La Danse de
Feu dance was not really a dance, but the audience mistook it
as one. She would create many versions of these dances over time.
Loïe worked in Burlesque
and Vaudeville as a dancer at the time and her Serpentine invention
was due to a prop (see Serpentine
dance for more info.) These dances were imaginative with
lights and fabrics (scarf's) and made pioneering achievements
with lighting in films (with patents) as well as educating artists
who studied her dance for movements through colors.
Her Fire dance was another
pioneering lighting effect with dancers wheras she would be dancing
on an illuminated pane of glass in the floor, with special lighting
to appear as if it was fire. Fuller had a school and a dance troupe
(1908 - the Muses,) where she taught her own movements and improvisational
techniques. She was a magician of dance so-to-speak.
Loie Fuller and her Muses would travel all of Europe, Paris and
America performing. She was the first American modern dancer to
perform in Europe and introduced Isadora Duncan to Europe as well.
For a period of time she traveled with the Buffalo Bill's Wild
West Show and even had a theatre named after her at the Paris
Expo of 1900. Fuller continues to be an influence on contemporary
choreographers to this day. Loie passed away due to breast cancer
in Paris in 1928, her body was cremated.
(The clip on the above/right is of Loie Fuller and her Serpentine
dance in 1896.)