Guide to Loie Fuller cabinet card photograph and dance program C0469
Published by George Mason University Libraries
Loie Fuller (sometimes spelled with an umlaut over the i), born Marie Louise Fuller in 1862, was an American dancer and theatrical lighting innovator. Fuller's dance career began during toddlerhood with vaudeville performances, burlesque shows, and many other kinds of entertainment. As an adult Fuller was best known for her "Serpentine Dance," her popular interpretation of vaudevillian "skirt dances" of the 1890s. With the "Serpentine Dance" Fuller utilized silk fabric and colored lighting to create evocative billows around herself as she danced, creating mesmerizing shapes. In addition to her choreography, Fuller patented numerous theatrical lighting techniques in order to achieve the look she desired for her performances, and some of her innovations persist to this day. Fuller was one of the most popular dancers of the Fin de Siecle era and is often considered the personification of the Art Nouveau movement. She spent the majority of her career in Paris, France, first performing to great acclaim at the Folies-Bergere and eventually creating her own dance company. Fuller was also an out lesbian - something practically unheard of during the time - and her romantic partner of three decades Gab Sorere also served as her professional partner, inheriting Fuller's dance company when she passed away in 1928.
A cabinet card photograph of the dancer Loie Fuller, taken circa mid-1890s in Glasgow, Scotland. The photograph features Loie seated from the waist up, dressed finely for the time, smiling and staring straight into camera. The photograph was taken by Langfier, Louis, & Co. of 202 Hope St., Glasgow, Scotland. The studio information is on the bottom of the card. There are two inscriptions on the card. The first on the front of the card reads "LA=Loie=Fuller." The second, on the verso, reads "3/16 Loie Fuller / bailarina[.]" "Bailarina" means "dancer" in Spanish.
Also included in the collection is a one-sided program from a dance performance by Fuller's dance troupe at the Union Interalliee club in Paris on July 8, 1924. The program, written in French, gives information on the performance, including musical pieces and who will be dancing to them. The performance is titled "Danses d'Ombres et de Lumieres," which translates to "Dances of Shadows and Lights."
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Fuller, Loie, 1862-1928
Loie Fuller cabinet card photograph and dance program, C0469, Special Collections Research Center, George Mason University Libraries.
Purchased by Steve Gerber from Schubertiade Music in October 2009.
Processing completed by Amanda Brent in March 2021. EAD markup completed by Amanda Brent in March 2021. This item was formerly part of the Performing Arts Manuscript Materials collection, C0215
Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Loie Fuller." Encyclopedia Britannica, accessed March 1, 2021. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Loie-Fuller.
Garelick, Rhonda K. "Loie Fuller and the Serpentine," November 5, 2019. The Public Domain Review. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/loie-fuller-and-the-serpentine.
Jones, Josh. "Watch the Serpentine Dance, Created by the Pioneering Dancer Loie Fuller, Performed in an 1897 Film by the Lumiere Brothers," November 12, 2019. Open Culture. Accessed March 1, 2021. https://www.openculture.com/2019/11/watch-the-serpentine-dance-created-by-the-pioneering-dancer-loie-fuller-performed-in-an-1897-film-by-the-lumiere-brothers.html.