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

A Collection of Vintage Photos Featuring Josephine Baker (1906-1975)

Josephine Baker was an American born French actress, singer, dancer and comedianne, but most importantly the first African American female to star in a motion picture, to integrate an American concert hall, and to become a world-famous entertainer.

Living in the slums of St. Louis. Starting from the age of eight Josephine was put to work cleaning houses.

She first danced for the public on the streets of St. Louis for nickels & dimes. Later, she became a chorus girl on the St. Louis stage. At 15 she married a Pullman porter named Baker, but left him when she ran away at age 17, because of racial discrimination.

She made her way to Paris, France. She first captured Paris audiences in La Revue Négre captivating audiences with Danse Sauvage which was exotic and had her performing in nothing but a feathered skirt.

When La Revue Nègre closed, Josephine starred in La Folie du Jour at the Follies-Bergère Theater. Her jaw-dropping performance, including a costume of 16 bananas strung into a skirt, cemented her celebrity status. Her Banana Dance is probably one of the most famous dances during the era. She was given such nicknames as the “Bronze Venus”, the “Black Pearl”, and the “Créole Goddess”.

Her first major motion picture was Zouzou from 1934.

She also is noted for her contributions to the civil rights movement in the US for assisting the French resistence during World War II in which she received the French military honor the Croix de guerre. To show that people from different cultures could live together, Baker took on 12 multinational children and called them her Rainbow Tribe.

One qoute about her reads as follows: “She kissed babies in foundling homes, gave dolls to the young and soup to the aged, presided at the opening of the Tour de France, celebrated holidays, went to fairs, joked with workers and did charity benefits galore. She was all over Paris, always good-natured and exquisitely dressed.” (source)

Josephine Baker, 1928-1930

Josephine Baker, 1920s via

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Josephine Baker via

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Portrait of Josephine Baker, 1920’s via

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Portrait of Josephine Baker for the Follies Bergère by Walery, 1926 via

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Portrait of Josephine Baker in Paris qui remue at the Casino de Paris by Walery, 1930 via

Josephine Baker’s Banana Dance

Footage of Josephine Baker performing her infamous Banana Dance.

Beautiful Belle Epoque Photos of Marcelle Lender

Marcelle Lender (1862 – 1926) was a French singer, dancer and entertainer made famous in paintings by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Born Anne-Marie Marcelle Bastien, she began dancing at the age of sixteen and within a few years made a name for herself performing at the Théâtre des Variétés in Montmartre.

Marcelle Lender appears in several works by Lautrec but the most notable is the one of her dancing the Bolero during her February 1895 performance in the Hervé operetta Chilpéric. Lautrec’s portrait of her in full costume, her flame-red hair accentuated by two red poppies worn like plumes, boosted Lender’s popularity considerably after it appeared in a Paris magazine. The painting was eventually sold to a collector from the United States, and on her death in 1998 the painting’s then owner, American Betsey Cushing Whitney, donated it to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

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Marcelle Lender, 1900s french postcard by Reutlinger via

 

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Marcelle Lender via

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Marcelle Lender via

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Mlle Marcelle Lender. Robe de bal par Doucet via

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Marcelle Lender via

Vintage Photos of The Infamous Anita Berber

Anita Berber (1899-1928) was immensely famous in 1920s Berlin. Berber was a dancer, actress, and writer who epitomized the excesses and decadences of the German Roaring Twenties. Incredibly, given her notoriety, almost no one in the present day would have heard of Anita Berber were it not for a portrait by Otto Dix from 1925.

Born in Leipzig to musician parents who later divorced, she was raised mainly by her grandmother in Dresden. In time Berber would exert a huge impact on Weimar Berlin, whose excesses and experimentation she both embodied and surpassed. Simply, in a period when Berlin was rethinking art, politics and life itself, Berber was going further than anyone else, blurring the line between life and performance, setting new standards for scandal and audacity.

It was her public appearances that really challenged taboos. Berber’s overt drug addiction and bisexuality were matters of public chatter. In addition to her addiction to cocaine, opium and morphine, one of Berber’s favourites was chloroform and ether mixed in a bowl. This would be stirred with a white rose, the petals of which she would then eat.

According to Mel Gordon, in The Seven Addictions and Five Professions of Anita Berber: Weimar Berlin’s Priestess of Debauchery, she was diagnosed with severe tuberculosis while performing abroad. After collapsing in Damascus, she returned to Germany and died in a Kreuzberg hospital on 10 November 1928.

Anita Berber, by Madame d’Ora, 1921.

Anita Berber, by Madame d’Ora, 1921.

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Anita berber, ca. 1920 via

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Anita Berber

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Anita Berber