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Lola Montez Postcard by Stieler, circa 1847

Stage Name

Birth Name

Lola Montez Maria Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert
"Montez, the Toreador" | "Ballerine of La Scala" (aka: Marie Gilbert)
"La Grande Horizontale" "Countess of Landsfeldt"

    Lola Montez ( AKA: montes) daughter of British and Irish parents, was named the 'Ballerine of La Scala' and 'Montez, the Toreador'. She was actually the 'Countess of Landsfieldt' and was also known as Marie Gilbert who transformed or some say masqueraded herself into an aristocratic Irish and Spanish dancer who became the mistress of Ludwig I of Bavaria ( Who held much political power until he abdicated,) Dumas and Liszt. Of her three marriages ( Some say five,) only the first, to Lieutenant Thomas James, was legal, since it was not dissolved in her lifetime.

    She is one of the characters in Leonide Massine's ballet "Bacchanale" in 1939. Edward Caton staged 'Lola Montez,'  a Ballet based on her life for ballet America in 1946. Lola was a skilled Spanish dancer who danced many of the Spanish dances such as the Bolero and Jota. 'El Olano' (aka: 'El Oleano') was a danced created for or by her in 1843. It was a mixture of the Cachucha, Bolero, and Tarantella. Some of her notoriety came from her “ Spider Dance” routine in which she pretended to get spiders off her skirt by raising it high so the audience could see her legs, then

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At the end, sqaushing the spider on the stage, very scandalous for the time. Even the critics were enthralled by it … well, in the beginning that is. But it was not artistic merit that her audiences sought; it was to became a glimpse of the scandalous beauty only. Soon the crowds realized that Lola's act was mediocre. One rival began a comic caricature of her gyrations, and Lola became a target of ridicule. Audiences began to laugh at and heckle her performances on stage. She would have a hard time after this point.

    Lola however was praised many times for her dancing as well as criticized, mostly for faking her Spanish decent, smoking cigarettes, ( Which was even scandulous in the 1920's,) her romances, etc.. However, she would prove to be a notorious liar about her past and her training which led to many poor reviews of her work, but many of the rumors were actually started by Lola herself. She was as well-known for conquering the hearts of her lovers, including then 60 year old King Ludwig I of Bavaria (who also banished her), Alexandre Dumas and Franz Liszt as she was for her dancing.

    There were many articles written on her hot-headed temper, the fatal duels held over her, her whip carrying and the use of it(It was accurately reported that she had horsewhipped the local Nevada newspaper editor for his disparaging remarks,) and even with police officials who almost had her thrown in jail and was escorted out of many countries she was in on a many occasions, even banished from Poland by Governor Paskevitch and ousted by Bavarian Prince Metternich, plus others. She seems to have wanted to gain political influence that wasn't shared by others.

   With a monstrously egocentric and manipulative spirt, she had a talent for self-promotion which made her world famous. As one writer nicely put it "she had a personality of vivid and alluring interest." The song "Whatever Lola Wants" was even scribed after her. She sounds abit as a dominatrix of her time. Her character and or fiery personality has been portrayed in various films by Carmen D'Antonio in Golden Girl (1951), Sheila Darcy in Wells Fargo (1937), Yvonne De Carlo in Black Bart (1948), and Rita Moreno in an episode of the 1950s TV show Tales of Wells Fargo.

   Lola was not as cruel and self centered as a lot of the reports made her out to be, less well known with the gossiping public were her secretive acts of charity. Montez helped the town's needy, carried food and medicine to injured miners, sat up all night with sick children, and confidentially endeared herself to many during her lifetime. She even gave singing and dance lessons to local children such as Lotta Crabtree at six years of age At her home in Grass Valley, Ca. Lola prophetically remarked that "history would remember Lola Montez as notorious, but would call Lotta Crabtree famous."

Note: Lola and Andre were Spanish and Adagio dancers, who shared the same name. She died at age 39 from complications with pneumonia.

Birth Place

Birth Date



Grange, County Sligo, Ireland 2/17/1821 - 1/17/1861 Thomas James n/a
    George Trafford Heald (2nd)  
      Patrick Purdy Hull (7/1853)  

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Ballet Hern Gasparini (Gitana-1843) Whatever Lola Wants, Lola Gets (inspiration)
Spider Dance    
1843 - Bolero    
1843 - El Olano    
1843 - La Sevillana    
1852 - Lola Montes    

Night Clubs


Stage, Choreography

n/a 6/2/1843 - Teatro Reale - Seville (El Olano) 1843 - Barber of Seville
      American Theatre (San Francisco) (AKA: - Barbiere de Siviglia)
    Bijou Palace (Munich) Built for her by Ludwig 1859 - John Bull at Home
          1864 - Merry Wives of Windsor
        Fanny Major
        Lola (Trestle Theatre Company)
        Lola Montez in Bavaria (1853, San Francisco)



1955 - Lola Montès (Martine Carol, Peter Ustinov) 6/5/1843 - Morning Herald (London)
2010 - Spider Dance (Lola's later years) 8/20/1843 - The Era Newspaper (London)
  1850 - Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VI (Odell)
  1857 - Annals of the New York Stage: Volume VII (Odell)
  1858 - Anecdotes of Love (Lola Montez)
  1858 - The Arts of Beauty and Lectures By Lola Montez
  5/21/1859 - New-York Saturday Press
  8/9/1860 - New-York Saturday Press
  8/18/1860 - New-York Saturday Press
  8/25/1860 - New-York Saturday Press
  9/30/1865 - New-York Saturday Press
  5/1904 - Century Magazine
  10/1950 - Dance Magazine
  1954 - Lola Montez und Ludwig Bayern by Costello
  1972 - Lola Motez (Darling)
  1998 - Lola Montez: A Life (Bruce Seymour)
  Spider dance (Mackinlay) a novel
  2007 - Lola Montez: Her Life & Conquests by James Morton
  2009 - Lectures of Lola Montez, Countess of Landsfeld (Burr)
  Lola Montez - San Francisco's Most Notorious Lady
  Lola Montez: The Spider Lady (Rosenhouse)


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