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Variations on the Dance of the Seven Veils

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 June 2005

Abstract

Early twentieth-century Paris saw an embarrassment of half-naked women dancing with seven veils and papier-mâché heads: ‘Salomania’ had gripped the capital. By 1913 Salome was a regular feature on music hall show-bills, besides the balletic and operatic stage. This study focuses on three variations on Salome's notorious Dance of the Seven Veils, performed by Loie Fuller (1907), Ida Rubinstein (1909) and Maud Allan (from 1906) on music by Florent Schmitt, Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov and Richard Strauss respectively. Such an investigation provides a peculiar line through the cultural and aesthetic determinants of early twentieth-century theatrical dance. In this context music takes on new narrative significance, offering ways of configuring the Dance above and beyond its mere visual surface.

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Regular Articles
Copyright
© 2005 Cambridge University Press

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Footnotes

I am grateful to Kerry Murphy and Michael Christoforidis for giving me the opportunity to present an early version of this piece at the Symposium on Music in France: 1830–1940, University of Melbourne, July 2004. Thanks to Sai Man Liu for his assistance with musical examples, and, above all, to Roger Parker for his tireless support and encouragement.
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