Another Cultural Experience

Turkish Dance, Ella Lola
Thomas A. Edison, Inc., 1898

The film features Ella Lola, a popular performer on the vaudeville stage, performing her rendition of a “belly dance.” This type of performance was not uncommon and points to vaudeville’s roots in earlier forms of burlesque. Ms. Lola’s routine, although bordering on risqué, far from violates any accepted standards of decency. Presentations of dance, or other ‘dumb’ acts [such as animal acts and acrobats], generally opened or closed performances to give audiences time to filter in and out of the theatre.

—University of Virginia, American Studies Department, Vaudeville website

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