Ernestine Myers: Terpsichore of Terre Haute

The daughter of MLB player Albert “Cod” Myers, Ernestine (1900-91) was born in Terre Haute to himself and the provocatively named Flora LaTart. When still quite young, she followed the slightly older local Valeska Suratt to Chicago to get into show business, studying at the Chicago Musical College and, then in L.A. under Ruth St Denis and Ted Shawn, with the Denishawn Dancers. She performed acrobatic toe dances, ballet and Creole folk styles in both Keith and Shubert vaudeville, and in the legit she danced with the Ziegfeld Follies and in the extravaganza Sinbad (1918) with Al Jolson. She left the latter show to take the named part of Mlle Rizpaz in Follow the Girl (1918) with Walter Catlett, George Bickel, Jobyna Howland, and Nita Naldi. Then came Silks and Satins (1920) at George M. Cohan’s Theatre, where she was billed with the spelling “Meyers”. She was featured several times in the pages, and on the cover of Shadowland magazine from 1919 through 1922., viz., this illustration, based on a Cheney photograph:

Myers was still quite young when she opted to return to Terre Haute, where she founded the Ernestine Myers School of Dance, a local institution which she operated for 50 years.

To find out about vaudevilleconsult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.

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