Serpentine, Russian Hopak and Ball Room Dancers


SERPENTINE & RUSSIAN HOPAK DANCERIn the 1890's Loie Fuller developed the then-popular skirt-dance into a beautiful and abstract performance which was imitated far and wide, even by marionettes. The dancer wore a voluminous gown of very soft, flowing white material. It hung down from the neck like a circular cloak. The hems were grasped in the hands, or held out by sticks in the hands. On a darkened stage, against black velvet, and over a glass panel in the floor, the dancer waved and whirled her draperies while spot-lights from the sides and from the glass below played upon her in various colour combinations. The movement of the coloured garment suggested butterfly wings, fire, fountains and flowers. There was practically no foot movement. A marionette serpentine dancer m/ay be suspended from head-strings while an operator works continuations of the sticks in her hands through holes in the black velvet back-drop, and the electrician plays his coloured lights. The marionette may stand fixed to the floor, head and arm joints alone being necessary.


His arms and legs are pivoted on pins from front to bqck, like those of a jumpingjack. This makes it possible for him to squat and kick sidewards in the characteristic motions of this peasant dance. The head and hands are strung to one stick and the knees to another. A row of these dancers in Cossack costume, controlled in tandem, with spirited music and wild cries" interjected, would make a rousing number.


A tandem controller with figures facing each other will allow marionettes to foxtrot, waltz or rhumba. A string from the hand of one through that of the other dancer will bring them together when pulled. Adagio dancers work like the equilibrists already described.