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Kate in 1887

Stage Name

Birth Name

Kate Vaughan Catherine Candelin

    Kate Vaughan, who created a new era in the world of dancing, whom thousands came to see for the grace of her art, and of whom John Hollinshead wrote: 'In all the troubles and worries of rehearsals she was never once known to be wanting in patience and perfect courtesy,' a tribute that could be rendered to but few.Kate started her career as an Actor, but eventually found fame thru dance more favorable to her audiences. She was a member of Miss Marie Litton's company at the Court Theatre in 1872 and appeared

There in a subordinate part in the Burlesque "In re. Becca" and after appeared at the Drury Lane Theatre in Pantomime.

   Kate, by her own institution of the long-skirted form of dancing, called the Skirt Dance, took by storm the hearts of all theatergoers, for the grace and charm of the new style could not be denied, and the superiority. On the model of Kate Vaughan's style is built practically all that is best in the stage dancing of the day, and had it not been for her happy inspiration a very different type of dancing might have been in vogue.

   In all of these, Kate Vaughan won her way into the hearts of the people, and no one was more sorry than her Gaiety audiences when she relinquished her dancing shoes for the theatre. If it had not been for her dancing prowess that so completely overshadowed her efforts in this direction, she might have made a big name for herself as an actress also. As it was, her rendering of Peg Woffington in 'Masks and Faces' drew forth the genuine praise of the critics, and in many other parts she showed that she had the capabilities of a great actress.

   Not all of her appearances were received well. the Era Newspaper stated that ... At the play la Doda, a three act folie-vaudeville by Edmond M. Gondinent which was held at the Varieties in Paris on February, 24th, 1876. The theatre was packed in anticipation of her appearance. She came on stage and started to dance and was almost booed off stage by the parisians. For some reason they thought she was going to do a more familiar gymnastic style of dance, rather than her pantomimes of the time. The show had to redo the parts for her in subsequent performances. They thought her to be a very pretty girl and lovely and graceful dancer and a Pantomime of exquisite perfection, but not at all what they expected or wanted (citation: 2/27/1876 - The Era pg.5).

   Kate is credited by the English to have been the first dancer to wear "Lace Petticoats on the stage, which she did at the Gaiety on 12/24/1880 version of the "Forty Thieves." She was said to have a dainty voice that did not project very well and her singing, which sometimes she insisted to do or wouldn't take the part in the show was bad if not horrible. It was the Burlesques that her people loved to see her. They loved her costumes and her dancing and many recalled the tumultuous applause that greeted her as Alice in 'Dick Whittington' -- one of her big hits, when she made her bow, dressed in a lilac-tinted early Victorian costume, with white furs and a big white muff. Her health failing, she went to Australia, 1896, and South Africa in 1902, dying at Johannesburg in 1903. How different was all this to her last days, forgotten and almost unknown, in far-off Johannesburg!.

   Kate married Colonel Hon. Frederick Arthur Wellesley, son of Henry Richard Charles Wellesley the 1st Earl Cowley and the grand nephew of the Duke of Wellington. His mother was the Hon. Olivia Cecilia FitzGerald-de Ros. Kate and Colonel Hon. Frederick Arthur Wellesley were divorced in 1897 and a huge scandal ensued. She was also known to always wear Long Black Gloves and carry a lace handkerchief.

   NOTE: Some books cited The Skirt dance as the 'Twentieth Century Skirt Dance.'

Birth Place

Birth Date



Luton 6/3/1884-2/21/1903 Frederick Arthur Wellesley n/a

Dance Types

Dance Partners

Music Titles

Ballet Edward Terry n/a
New Polish Mazurka (w/ George Canning) George Canning (in 'Round The World)      
Pantomime Nellie Farren      
Serpentine Dance Teddy Royce      
Skirt Dance      

Night Clubs



n/a Adelphi Theater (1873) 1873 - Ballet of the Furies
  Court Theater (1872) 1873 - Orpheus of the Underworld
  Drury Lane (1880s) 1876 - La Doda(Paris, France)
      Empire Theatre (London, 1886) 1876 - Little Don Cæsar de Bazan
      Gaiety Theater 1876 - Paris Varieties(? La Doda ?)
      Grecian 1880 - Forty Thieves (Gaiety)
      Holborn Theatre (1873) 1883 - Cinderella (Kate as Cinderella)
      Novelty Theatre (1884 Country Girl) 1884 - The Country Girl (Novelty Theatre)
        1886 - 'Round The World(London)
        1887 - School For Scandal, the(R.B. Sheridan)
        6/9/1896 - Gaiety Benefit for Kate
        Dick Whittington(as Alice, Gaiety)
        Masks and Faces




n/a n/a 2/18/1876 - The Era (London)
    1880 - The Dramatic List (Chas E. Pascoe)
    2/27/1876 - The Era (pg5) La Doda Flop.
    4/26/1886 - Daily News (London)
    3/21/1912 - Pearson's Weekly
    1949 - Gaiety: Theatre of Enlightenment (by W. McQueen-Pope)
    2001 - Isadora Duncan: A sensational Life (Kurth)
    $ 2002 - The Victorian Visitors: Culture Shock in 19th Century Britain
    2003 - Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage (Chas. Mosley)

NOTE: had a sister named Susie Vaughan. They have a great niece named Christina Candelin

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