Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 17 October 2009

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

Nina Martino joins the cast of
A Gaiety Girl for a tour of
the United States and Australia, 1894/95

Nina Martino

Nina Martino (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century),
French actress and variety artist

(photo: unknown, late 1890s)

'Twenty years ago managers would as soon have thought of flying as undertaking a tour around the whole English-speaking globe. Now such enterprises are of quite common occurrence. Early in September [1894] George Edwards [sic] sends to America a powerful burlesque company, whose tour will open with a ten weeks' season in New York. Their principal piece is A Gaiety Girl, which has been such a phenomenal success at the Prince of Wales. But In Town will also be played. After visiting the principal cities in the United States, the company will sail from San Francisco for Australia, and will not return to England until July, 1895, so that the tour will last altogether ten months. Several interesting engagements have been made by George Edwards [sic] in connection with the English tour of A Gaiety Girl. Nina Martino, of La Petite Parisienne fame, will play the important part of Mina, and two sons of Nellie Farren will also be in the cast. Miss Martino is now having dancing and fencing lessons at the expense of the management.'
(St. Paul Daily Globe, Saint Paul, Minnesota, Sunday, 22 July 1894, p. 9a)

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La Sylphe appears as Salome
at Keith & Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre,
New York, Monday, 27 July 1908

La Sylphe

La Sylphe as Salome

(photo: unknown, probably USA, circa 1908)

'If La Sylphe Should Lose Her Pearls as Salome?
'Well, Don't Worry; She'd Put on Another Suit of 'Em.
'There's So Little to the Costume in Which She Made Her Broadway Debut That, Really, She Doesn't Stop to Think About It.
'By Nixola Greeley-Smith
'The most sinuous Salome that has struck New York appeared at Keith & Proctor's Fifth Avenue Theatre yesterday, when La Sylphe made her Broadway debut.
The latest picture of Herodia's dancing daughter is called ''The Remorse of Salome,'' and is designed to portray the morning-after emotions of the enterprising young siren who was bound that John the Baptist should lose his head over her one way of another.
'It is an extremely serpentine Salome which Miss Edith Lambelle - La Sylphe's real name - presents, and there are moments in the dance when one has serious misgivings that the serpent is about to slough its skin of pearls.
'The young woman is of extraordinary slenderness and suppleness, and her performance is a contortionary marvel. Her dance, to an uninitiated observer, suggests that she has undertaken to tell the guidance the time by the movements of her slim legs, beginning with both feet decorously together at half past six, and ending in an incredibly divergent 12.30 described on the floor and shown in the picture in The Evening World to-day.
'As La Sylphe's clothing yesterday consisted of about a yard of spangled tulle for a skirt, and several yards of string pearls for sole covering above the waist, speculation was rife in the audience as to what would happen if one of these strings broke.
'In La Sylphe's dressing-room, after the performance, I thought it only right to satisfy the general wonder by asking the question.
'''Oh,'' she replied, nonchalantly, 'there are more pearls,'' and waved her hand toward several yards of reserve ornaments hanging from a hook on the wall.
'At close range La Sylphe seems very tall, and incredibly slender even then. She is five feet seven inches tall, and weighs only 109 pounds.
'''You look about sixteen,'' I said to her, for it was the truth.
'''Well, I should look about sixteen,'' she replied, ''If I want to be historically accurate. Salome was just about that age. In those days girls married generally at fourteen. If they didn't they were considered passe at sixteen, and real old maids at seventeen.
'''But I don't think there were very many old maids then. There are more now, and I think it's a good idea. I'm going to be one. Marriage is fine for a man, but it's rotten luck for a woman, in my opinion.''
'I brought La Sylphe back from her views on matrimony with a question which I asked not without diffidence.
'''How do you feel about going before so many people with practically no clothes on? Don't you mind it?''
'''No,'' replied the dancer. ''I don't think about it. The dance calls for such a costume. Maud Allan dance it practically naked in Paris. I never did, even at the Folies Bergeres. I'll admit I was frightened in Harlem when they told me I might be arrested. But they didn't arrest me.
'''I've been among artists, and studied art so much, that I can see no harm in the nude figure. An artist in Munich gave me the idea for it. I've been doing it for seven years abroad, long before Maud Allan ever thought of it.
'''I've seen her dance, and Gertrude Hoffman's imitation of it. Miss Hoffman doesn't give a suggestion of the muscle dance. I give as much of the regular Eastern dance as I dare, for, of course, that's what Salome gave.'''
(The Evening World, New York, Tuesday, 28 July 1908, p. 3c)

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© John Culme, 2009