Today is the birthday of Dame Adeline Genée (1878-1970). Born Anina Jensen, the Danish native later took the first name of the admired opera singer Adelina Patti, and the last name of her uncle Alexandre Genée, who was to become her dance instructor, her ballet master, and eventually her legal guardian. At age 19 she took a job as prima ballerina at the Empire Theatre in London. England was to become her permanent home. The theatrical realities of the time necessitated that she alternated between dancing in music hall, in musical plays, and in proper ballets, a form which she helped to reestablish in England after years of disinterest). Periodically she would also visit New York, where she would also split her time amongst the same diversity of venues, including American vaudeville (as when she played the Palace Theatre in 1914). Her last performance was in 1933. She was made a Dame in 1950.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And 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