Today is the birthday of Albertina Rasch (1891-1967). A native of Vienna, she was a classically trained dancer who came to New York to dance at the Hippodrome in 1909 and just stayed. With her Albertina Rasch Girls, she staged ballet and modern dance works at nearly all of New York’s major vaudeville houses throughout the teens and twenties, as well as revues like the Ziegfeld Follies and Gerorge White’s Scandals. In 1925 she married composer Dmitri Tiomkin and choreographed a ballet to George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”. In the late twenties she began staging dances for Broadway book musicals; and in the mid 30s she began doing the same for Hollywood films.
And now the Albertina Rasch dancers perform the Hades Ballet from the 1930 film The March of Time:
To find out more about the history of vaudeville, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
For more on silent comedy don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc