Beautiful Vintage Photos of Rosa Rolanda by Man Ray (1928)

Californian born Rosa Rolanda (1895-1970, aka Rosemonde Cowan, Rose Rolando, Mrs or Miguel Covarrubias) was a multidisciplinary artist, dancer and choreographer.

In 1916, Rosa Rolanda began her artistic career in New York as a celebrated dancer in Broadway revues. She became involved with the Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias in 1924, and in the following year the couple traveled to Mexico, where Rolanda began to take photographs.

During the late 1920s or early 1930s, Rolanda experimented with photograms, creating significant series of surrealist self-portraits that may have been influenced by Man Ray, who photographed Rolanda in Paris in 1923.

She probably began painting around 1926. The majority of Rolanda’s canvases depict colorful, folkloric scenes of children and festivals, portraits of friends such as the movie actresses Dolores del Río and María Félix, and self-portraits.

Rolanda and Covarrubias married in 1930, and by 1935 they had permanently settled into his family home in Tizapan El Alto, close to Mexico City.

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Rosa Rolanda by Man Ray, 1928 via

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Rosa Rolanda in Paris c. 1923, photograph by Man Ray via

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Rosa Rolanda by Man Ray 1923 via

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Rosa Rolanda in Paris circa 1923 by Man Ray via

Ann Pennington teaching Felix the Cat how to dance the “Black Bottom” (1927)

The “Black Bottom” refers to a dance which became popular in the 1920s, originating among African Americans in the rural South. It was adopted by mainstream American culture  and became a national craze in the 1920s.

The dance was most famously performed by Ziegfeld Follies star Ann Pennington (1893 – 1971) , who danced the Black Bottom in a Broadway revue put on by Ziegfeld’s rival George White in 1926. The dance was first popularized in New York by the African American show Dinaah that had been staged in Harlem in 1924, after Pennington performed the Black Bottom on Broadway, the dance became a national phenomenon, overtaking The Charleston in popularity.

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Ann Pennington teaches Felix the Cat the Black Bottom, 1927 via

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Ann Pennington teaches Felix the Cat the Black Bottom, 1927 via

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Ann Pennington teaches Felix the Cat the Black Bottom, 1927 via

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Ann Pennington teaches Felix the Cat the Black Bottom, 1927 via

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Ann Pennington teaches Felix the Cat the Black Bottom, 1927 via

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Ann Pennington teaches Felix the Cat the Black Bottom, 1927 via

American Dancer Jean Barry (1930s)

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Dancer Jean Barry, ca. 1931. Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene via

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Dancer Jean Barry, performing in the play Evergreen, 1931. Photo by George Hoyningen-Huene via

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Dancer Jean Barry, 1931. Photo by Edward Steichen via

W.B. Yeats “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”

When Loie Fuller’s Chinese dancers enwound
A shining web, a floating ribbon of cloth,
It seemed that a dragon of air
Had fallen among dancers, had whirled them round
Or hurried them off on its own furious path;
So the Platonic Year
Whirls out new right and wrong,
Whirls in the old instead;
All men are dancers and their tread
Goes to the barbarous clangour of a gong.” – W.B. Yeats, ll.49-58 in the poem “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”.

Dancer Enrica Soma by Philippe Halsman

Enrica Soma (1929 – 1969) was an Italian-American socialite, model, and prima-ballerina. She was also the wife of director John Huston and mother of actress Anjelica Huston.

Soma was pushed into the entertainment industry by her father, using his connections he had gained through his restaurant. She studied ballet with George Balanchine and joined his company as a principal dancer. As a model, she appeared on the June 9, 1947 cover of Life Magazine at the age of 18. She worked often with Philippe Halsman. 

She was offered a film contract by David O. Selznick, but turned down becoming an actress once she met Huston.

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Philippe Halsman. Enrica Soma as a rococo courtesan via

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Philippe Halsman. Enrica Soma, 1947 via

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Philippe Halsman. Enrica Soma, 1949 via

Vintage Photos of Russian Prima Ballerina Alexandra Danilova

Aleksandra Dionisyevna Danilova (1903 – 1997) was a Russian-born prima ballerina, who became an American citizen. In 1989, she was recognized for lifetime achievements in ballet as a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Born in Peterhof, Russia on November 20, 1903, she trained at the Russian Imperial Ballet School in Leningrad (formerly and currently St. Petersburg). She was one of the few Russian-trained ballerinas to tour outside Russia. Her first professional post was as a member of St. Petersburg’s Imperial Ballet.

In 1924, she and George Balanchine left Russia. They were soon picked up by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes; Danilova as a dancer, Balanchine as a choreographer. Danilova toured for years with the Ballets Russes under Sergei Diaghilev, then with the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo after Diaghilev’s death.[1] With the latter company, Danilova andFrederic Franklin created one of the legendary ballet partnerships of the twentieth century. Danilova became known for her glamour and beautiful legs, as well as her work ethic and professionalism.

Danilova made her Broadway debut in 1944’s Song of Norway; her last ballet performance was in 1957.

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Alexandra Danilova photographed by George Platt Lynes, c. 1930s via

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 Alexandra Danilova as a star of Colonel de Basil’s Ballet Russe  (1936)  by Maurice Seymour. Courtesy of Ronald Seymour/Maurice Seymour Archive via

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Alexandra Danilova in Ballet Russe’s Nutcracker via

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F. Franklin and Alexandra Danilova by Irving Penn, 1948 via

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The Legs of Danilova, New York by Erwin Blumenfeld, 1950 via

Alexandra Danilova dances in Gaite Parisienne