Cigarette card for the week ending
Saturday, 29 November 2008

Florence Levey (fl. late 1880s-1890s),
English dancer

Florence Levey

Florence Levey

(photo: unknown, early 1890s)

This real photograph cigarette card, issued in the United States during the early 1890s with W. Duke Sons & Co's Preferred Stock Cigarettes, is of the English dancer Florence Levey, who first came to notice as one of the quartet of dancers (the others being Lilian Price, Eva Greville and Maud Wilmot) who performed the 'Pas de Quatre' composed by Meyer Lutz in the burlesque, Faust Up-To-Date, produced at the Gaiety Theatre, London, on 30 October 1888. She also appeared at the Avenue Theatre, London, in Dandy Dick Whittington (23 March 1895) and various music halls, including the Alhambra, Leicester Square, where she remained during 1895 and 1896.

'THE LONDON PAVILION. - The vigorous management of this establishment insures to the spectator whose tastes lie in that direction, something to entrain from ''dewy eve'' if not ''till dawn'' at least until the last omnibus starts upon its convivial way. Last wee - I won't commit myself to this week, ''constant change of scene'' being the motto of the halls - I just caught Miss Dora Fielding informing the assembled multitude that ''It's all very well to play with a girl,'' but she seemed of the opinion that it was better to mean business. Mr. T.W. Barrett related one of his unfortunate matrimonial experiences, Miss Lizzie Collins gave us a nice green, high-waisted dance, and Miss Sadie Grossmith eulogised ''Killarney'' with such sweetness that we unanimously invited her to do it again. Mr. Tom Leamore related some of his unfortunate matrimonial experiences. (Comedians, as they call them, suffer much from wives, and it always has a bad effect upon their clothing.) Miss Nellie Navette danced us a double shuttle, I beg pardon, I mean shuffle, of course. She also sang us a song. I don't think it could have taken long to learn. It was mostly the same two lines all the time. She danced worth a lot, though. [Will] Evans and [Ada] Luxmore gave a sufficiently amusing turn with music on strings and a grotesque elaboration of the bell business. A ''mimic'' gave us some fairly good imitations of popular favourites with the go taken out of them. Miss Marie Collins invited us to ''Der-rink, boys'' with such determination and looked so handsome while she did it, that she drove me to it. So I split a squash with my friend. Capital idea of the management, by-the-way, to advertise the drinks in this way.
'MDLLE. ALMA ''of the Golden Ball,'' an ''equilibriste'' [i.e. a ball walker], is very clever at keeping a balance, and as she has a good and generous figures, must find it very satisfactory from a banking account point of view. It was also satisfactory to observe that this engaging young lady has the ball at her feet. Mr. G.W. Hunter is a comedian, but his matrimonial relations are, so far as we know, all right. He, however, avoided all reference to them, which is a suspicious circumstance in itself. He obliged with a couple of rather funny songs, though - one an expertly constructed medley of popular ditties. Messrs. Baughman and Daly, the crack shots ''from the Tivoli,'' cracked shots here with no diminution of skill. Mr. C[harles] Bignell, Miss Jenny Valmore, Mr. C[harles] Godfrey, and Mr. Howard Reynolds each gave us a taste of their well known quality.
'THEN Miss Florence Levey did her ''Serpentine Dance,'' bless you! Perhaps Miss Levy is not aware that I was the first person to introduce this dance into England. It was suggested to me by the visions and gyrations caused by an over indulgence in ''salmon'' one evening - the snakes and the corkscrew business are sufficient proofs of this. I hope, however, Miss Levy will not leave off dancing it for anything I may say - I beg she won't think of it. She does it every bit as well as I do, and looks about ninety-seven degrees, decimal ten, more fetching. Besides M. D'Auban and a lot of people have often done it in pantomimes with a cloak. Not - as I thought before, but I didn't say - that I care a cent one way or the other. Miss Levy is a born dancer, anyway, and anything she does in that way is simply ''good enough.'' After this, Mr. James Fawn invited us to ''have another'' (but there wasn't another).'
(Nestor, 'Slashes and Puffs,' Fun, London, Wednesday, 31 August 1892, p. 87)

* * * * * * * *

Return to home page

© John Culme, 2008