When the celebrated Danish-born ballerina, Adeline Genée, appeared on February 17, 1913 at the Imperial Theatre during the last of her North American tours, E.R. Ricketts had left the Vancouver Opera House and was the theatre's manager. Disappointingly, Genée's performance was reviewed by the Province's R.H.H. in a mere 36 lines. The review did have the honour, however, of being the lead article in the theatre section, which was easily identified by the large heading, “Monday Night at the Theatres”.
As dainty as a zephyr, as capricious as a zephyr should be, and full of the joyous contentment that makes life for her one long song - or dance to be correct - Adeline Genée captivated the audience which crowded the Imperial last night. She is not only the most wonderful dancer ever here; she is also the nicest. There is nothing sensuous about any of her offerings.
R.H.H. saves his criticism for those unnamed others who “take liberties with art that can almost be called license, for art in the twentieth century is long suffering and not always of great goodness....” Despite the reviewer's adoration of the refined Genée, there is even less description of what actually transpired during the event than Makovski gave us with Pavlova: there are no program details, let alone any idea of the ballets this “daintiest little fabric of femininity” actually danced. As for her partner, Alexandre Volinine from the Bolshoi Ballet, who had been in Vancouver less than two years previously with Gertrude Hoffman, R.H.H. refers to him anonymously as “one remarkable masculine dancer, himself a star.”
The lack of clear-sighted detail, although taken to an extreme here, was typical of the period. It wasn't a deliberate slighting of the nuts and bolts of a dance performance, but more an inability to separate the dancer from both the dance and the person. Dance critics train on the job and, even for those familiar with the technical jargon, describing dance is not particularly easy. There was, at least, quite a bit of coverage given to Genée overall, including a gushing announcement of her visit in the Province's Page of Social and Personal News on February 15 and a picture and preview on the theatre page the same day. (next page)
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