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Loie Fuller doing the Serpentine Dance
Serpentine Dance History Origin Title

        It is said that 'The Butterfly Girl' Loïe Fuller (1862-1928) created the Serpentine Dance for the Follies-Bergere (later in Paris, France) in 1892 in New York. Loïe Fuller was thirty years old at the time and was more an actress than a dancer. Loïe at a young age took dance lessons, but gave them up as being to difficult. Loïe worked in Burlesque and Vaudeville as a dancer at the time and her invention was due to a "prop." Annabella Moore made many dance films in the early 1890's, with a few being the Serpentine Dance

in 1894.

     The story goes that Loie received a voluminous skirt of transparent white silk and while dancing around sensuously with it in front of a mirror one day, the sun's light had shown thru the silk and it had such a beautiful effect, she had a vision: With dramatic lighting (replacing the sun's light) she could create fantastic, suggestive shapes on-stage by agitating swaths of silk (special cuts) which had an aluminum ring at the top and from underneath swirl the swaths with a pair of hand held wands attached to the open ends.

She would whirl around on a glass platform (new effect added later ) with many different colored lights and different swaths of the cloth shining up and thru. Spotlights whose colors kept changing and mixing. She would place a hypnotic hold on her audiences with billowing shapes such as butterflies, flowers or flames would come alive while she danced.

    The music Loïe would pick would tend to be on the dramatic side, Like the song "Ride of the Valkyries " by Wagner. This dance sensation was more of a gimmick than a dance however. Many people tried to imitate her act, but none came close, she even took an imitator to court over this dance. The year 1893 Fuller had the dancing garment patented in Great Britain and France and in 1894 obtained the same patent in the US (U. S. Patent #518, 347). Loïe would also sell ashtrays, molded with her likeness of the dance in 1927.

    Of the other Serpentine dances they are basically a weaving and spiraling or so called Serpentine movement. This movement is used in various other dances as well and has nothing to do with the Loïe Fuller version.

 

Birth Place

Creation Date

Creator

Dance Type

New York 1892 Loie Fuller Stage Dance
 

Posters, Lobby Cards etc.

Music Titles

la Loie Fuller - aux Folies Bergere (1892) Le Danse de Feu (Orig Serpentine Song)
la Loie Fuller - Aux Folies Bergere (by Bac) Ride of the Valkyries [MP3]
Casino de Paris (Gertrude Hoffmann)  
Loie Fuller Poster  
Loie Fuller (Giclee Reproduction)  
Loie Fuller (by Grun)  
Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 1 (by Cherot)  
Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 2 (by Bac)  
Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 3 (by Pal)  
Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 4 (by Pal)  
Loie Fuller Folies Bergere 5 (unk)  
Loie Fuller Follies Bergere (unk)  
Loie Fuller Marquette (by Cherot)  
Loie Fuller - Tours les soirs (by Pal)  
Salome (Defeure)  
 

Night Clubs

Theaters

Locations

n/a 1902 - Lyceum Theatre (Ithaca NY) 1900 - Paris Universal Expedition
      1910 - Metropolitan Opera House  
      1925 - Champs Elysees Music Hall
 
 
Video Clips (pop-up)

Related Films / Movies

Ballets / Stage

Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1895 - Annabelles Serpentine dance [Dickson Photography] Follies Bergere (1892)
Video Clip not available at this time 1896 - Annabelles Serpentine dance Gay's Electric Company (1904)
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1896 - Danse Serpentine [Lumière Films] Japanese Doll (written by Fuller-1907)
Video Clip not available at this time 1896 - Skirt Dance(Annabelle) Les Feeries Fantastiques de la Loie Fuller
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1897 - Butterfly Dance (Annabelle) Salome (Fuller)
Video Clip not available at this time 1897 - Serpentine Dance [Edison Films]

Publications

Video Clip not available at this time 1898 - Skirt Dance 1913 - Fifteen years of a dancer's life
Video Clip not available at this time 1899 - Danse serpentine par Mme. Bob Walter 1908 - Quinze Ans de ma (Loie bio)
Video Clip not available at this time 1900 - Danse Serpentine [William Moritz collection]      
Video Clip not available at this time 1902 - New Serpentine and Fire Dance      
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1903 - Serpentine Dance(Caroline Hipple)      
Video Clip not available at this time 1903 - Serpentine Dance [Dickson Photography]      
Video Clip not available at this time 1907 - Danse Serpentine (Leopoldo Fregoli)      
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Rosita Royce's 'Dance of the Doves' (Buresque dancer)      
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
Sally Rand's Bubbe Dance      
Video Clip not available at this time 1934 - Le Lys [George R. Busby]      
Viewable thru a Youtube Video Pop-up window.
1939 - Words Fair - Crystal Lassies      
Video Clip not available at this time 1990 - Loïe Fuller ­ Danse des couleurs [Brygida Ochaim]      
Video Clip not available at this time 1994 - Landmarks of Early Film, Vol. 1 [DVD]      
Video Clip not available at this time 1995 - Serpentine Dancer, The (Germany)      
Video Clip not available at this time Paul Killiam Tape # 5(Annabelles)      
Video Clip not available at this time The Movies Begin Volume 1 [DVD] (Great Train Robbery + Serpentine)      
Video Clip not available at this time The Movies Begin: Early Cinema [DVD]      
 

Other Related Dances of the time...

Belly Dance Fan Dance Risqué Striptease
Bubble Dance Fire Dance Scarf Dance Sword Dance
Burlesque la danse de feu Shawl Dance (1830s)  
Butterfly Dance Rainbow and the Basket, the Skirt Dance
Dance Of The 7 Veils    
 

Dancers, Choreographers etc.

Political

Annabella Moore (1894) L'Argentine n/a
Esa Iola Billings (c.1904) Letty Lind  
Kate Vaughan Loïe Fuller   
 

Books, Magazine Articles on the dance...

Title Author Date Publisher
Dancing...the P.P.A. of movement Jonas, Gerald 1992 Abrams
A History of Dancing Johnston, Reginald S. 1905 Simpkin...Kent & Co.
Sunny Side of the Street Wilder, Marshal P. 1905 Funk and Wagnalls
Modern Dancing and Dancers Flitch, J. E. Crawford 1912 J. B. Lippincott Company
Quinze Ans de ma Vie (Fuller Autobio) France, Anatole 1913 ?
The Dance Kinney, Troy & Margaret West 1940? ? (Referenced)
 

Musicians

Artists

Poets

n/a François-Raoul Larche Mallarme
    Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec Yeats
    Jules Chéret (1893)  
    Pierre Roche  
       
 

Misc. Research Words that may be related ... to help your searches

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Other...
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April 10, 2013
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