Harriet Hoctor: Shaking Hoosick and Making Music


Today is the birthday of the great dancer Harriet Hoctor (1905-1977). A native of rural Hoosick Falls, New York, at age 12 she was sent to New York City to live and study with a Russian ballet master. By the early 1920s she was touring big time vaudeville’s Keith/ Orpheum circuit including its flagship the Palace. This led to featured turns in Broadway shows and revues such as the Duncan Sisters’ Topsy and Eva (1924-1925); Show Girl (1929) with Eddie Foy Jr and Clayton, Jackson and Durante; Ed Wynn’s Simple Simon (1930-1931), Earl Carroll’s Vanities of 1932; and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1936. This led to film work in The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Shall We Dance with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (1937), and the short Billy Rose’s Casa Manana Revue (1938). She continued to work for Rose for a couple of years, dancing and choreographing at his Diamond Horseshoe RevueIn the 40s she opened a dance school in Boston, where she taught for 30 years.

Here, following elaborate fanfare, is her ballet sequence in The Great Ziegfeld:

To find out more about vaudeville past and presentconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famousavailable at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.