The Trapeze Disrobing Act 1901

Wed, 08/21/2013 - 08:59
Submitted by Carlin Ross

This is a picture of Laverie Vallee - stage name Charmion - who had a disrobing trapeze act turn of the century.  

She would appear on a trapeze in full victorian dress and strip down to her underwear while performing impressive stunts (my favorite is when she spins upside down and loses her skirt in one movement).

She performed to mostly male audiences but if I was around I would have been in the front row with my great great aunt Dr. Cort and my great great grandmother (her sister) Willa Cort.  It would have been the ultimate girl's night out.  

Thomas Edison was a huge fan and in 1901 had Charmion perform in one of his early films.  And you know I found the link.  I love her body and I love her moxy:

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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Walter's picture
Thu, 08/22/2013 - 09:48

Laverie Vallee was quite an athlete to be able to do those flips in the full skirt and petticoat. It is also seen in her still-photo. Thanks for posting, good research, Carlin.

That's great! :)

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 10:58

I searched for a link with better quality where I can see her facial espressions better in full screen and found one:

Laverie Vallee

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 14:09

Thanks, Jake, the quality is much better. In its time this routine must have been very provocative. She's quite a strong woman, isn't she? I was really interested in her expressions---she's smiling and seems clearly to be having fun. Maybe she genuinely enjoyed performing. She was certainly a woman who went her own way and didn't confine herself to what conventional women were supposed to be like in those days.

Yeah Patrick her expressions are important.

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 17:01

And she seems to be having great fun! and watching it again I'm kind of thinking about what the two very animated guys are saying "Gad zooks a veritible feast upon the eyes!! bravo!!!" 

Those two guys

Thu, 08/22/2013 - 17:40

The spectators in the balcony are wildly enthusiastic---they're having great fun too! It would have been something to listen in on the comments of Ms Vallee's devoted fans. I found a web page or two with a history of women who performed feats of strength back in the day---Laverie Vallee is amongst them and the other women are very intriguing as well. One pic shows a rear view of Vallee flexing her muscular back---she was strong indeed, and she didn't need steroids to get that way.

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