Loie Fuller

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Loïe Fuller in 1900.
Poster featuring Loïe Fuller at the Folies Bergères by Jules Chéret.
Portrait of Loïe Fuller, by Frederick Glasier, 1902.

Loie (or Loïe) Fuller (January 15, 1862 – January 1, 1928) was a pioneer of modern dance.[1] She had no dance training, but got experience acting on the stage. A chance experiment with an over-long skirt gave her ideas which she eventually developed into a dance.[2]

Career[change | change source]

Fuller was born Marie Louise Fuller in the Chicago suburb of Fullersburg (now Hinsdale, Illinois). She began her theatrical career as a professional child actress and later choreographed and performed dances in burlesque (as a skirt dancer), vaudeville, and circus shows.

Fuller developed her own natural movement and improvisation techniques. Fuller combined her choreography with silk costumes illuminated by multi-coloured lighting of her own design.[3][4]

Although Fuller became famous in America through works such as Serpentine Dance (1891), she felt that she was not taken seriously by the public. Her warm reception in Paris during a European tour persuaded Fuller to remain in France. A regular performer at the Folies Bergère with works such as Fire Dance, Fuller became the embodiment of the Art Nouveau movement. An 1896 film of the Serpentine Dance gives a hint of what her performance was like (the unknown dancer in the film is not Fuller).

Written works[change | change source]

Fuller's autobiographical memoire "Quinze ans de ma vie" was written in French and published by in 1908 with an introduction by Anatole France. She drafted her memoires again in English a few years later, which were published under the title "Fifteen Years of a Dancer's Life" by Herbert Jenkins (London) in 1913. The New York Public Library Jerome Robbins Dance Collection holds the nearly complete manuscript to the English edition and materials related to the French edition.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Who's Who on the Stage: Volume 1 1910, pg.102 edited by Walter Browne, Frederick Arnold Austin
  2. Craine, Debra & Mackrell, Judith. 2000. The Oxford dictionary of dance. Oxford University Press, p194.
  3. Richard Nelson Current and Marcia Ewing Current, Loie Fuller: goddess of light, Northeastern Univ Press, May 1997, ISBN 1-55553-309-4.
  4. Giovanni Lista, Loïe Fuller, danseuse de la Belle Epoque, Hermann (Paris, 2006), ISBN 2-7056-6625-7 (in French).
  5. The New York Public Library, Register of the Loie Fuller Papers, 1892-1913, scope and content note.