One of the first female solo dancers to visit Vancouver in the early 20th century from the U.S. was Loie Fuller. Her Victoria performance was reviewed by a critic named Touchstone in the Province on December 12, 1896.
Miss Fuller certainly produces the most marvellous effects, and her twists and twirls with untold quantities of drapery must be seen to be appreciated, for they are quite beyond my powers of description. The third dance - if dance it can be called - was extremely realistic. One moment she appeared to be literally enveloped in flames, and the next had suddenly, instantaneously 'gone out.' The last scene, too, in which she personated a lily was very beautiful, and met, I think, with the greatest approval. If Miss Fuller invented the 'effects' she produced herself, she must be a marvellous clever woman. In any event she is grace personified.
La Loie was indeed a “marvellous clever woman” and she worked hard to perfect her incredible lighting effects, which many dancers enthusiast-
Vancouver saw one imitator in the month preceding La Loie's first visit: Miss Grace Hunter did a fire dance at the Opera House, as well as a Spanish and a stereopticon dance. A stereopticon is a slide projector that projects two images at once, creating a three dimensional image on a screen, although how Miss Hunter used this in her dance is not described by the press; perhaps she projected the images on her skirts.
When Mlle. Aimee performed her electric dances at the Vancouver Opera House a couple of years later, her Dance du Fen, presumably a garbled rendering of Danse de Feu, was compared unfavourably to Loie Fuller's. But, as stated in the Province, June 18, 1898, “her Lily of the Nile was a triumph.” On the same bill was Adonis of the Wire, “who has not visited Vancouver for some years,” and was “a singularly graceful and accomplished tight-rope dancer.” (next page)
©2006, Dance Collection Danse