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  • historicalzg - 1Reply
    imperial1890 wrote on Apr 3, '11
    David-
    I see this is an old post, but I am hoping you are still around. I own the house that Adelaide's parents built in Cohoes in 1890. She lived there for a few years. I have some questions that I hope you can help answer.
    Thanks for a reply, Paul

    studiolymar wrote on Dec 18, '10
    Nice David, thank you. Wishing you and your's a merry Christmas from Belgium

    Maurice

Adelade & Hughes: Vaudeville's finest Dance Team
by David for group historicalziegfeld Dec 17, 2010

Three dance partnerships can be said to have shaped stage dancing in the 20th-century American theater: Vernon & Irene Castle, Fred & Adele Astaire, and Adelade (sometimes spelled Adelaide) Dickey & Johnny Hughes. Each emerged in a different venue: the Castles in ballroom exhibitions, the Astaires in Broadway revues, and Adelade & Hughes in vaudeville. The venues determined the different directions of their performances. The Castles were perpetually modeling dances for performance by members of society. The Astaires were characters serving the themes, sketches, plots of Broadway book & lyric writers. Adelade & Hughes competed for top billing on vaudeville programs, maintaining the short time limits and providing the extravagant gestures that made their act stand out from the 15 on a night's bill. Adelade Dickey was the moving force behind the formation of the partnership. Trained in classical ballet (or toe-dancing as it was called in the American theater), she had become a fixture on stage as a girl, supplying her "doll dance" or similar quasi-classical routines in extravaganza's and musical comedies shortly after 1900. In 1911, having outgrown her girl repertoire, she decided she needed a partner, and secured the tactful, elegant J. J. Hughes. Immediately they distinguished themselves by their innovative costuming, their experimentation with narrative frames for their dances, the daring music chosen as accompaniment, and their mutual pleasure performing together. They were classy, yet current. By the time of this shoot in 1916 the partnership had ascended to the top of the vaudeville food chain, the only dance act to be regularly booked for more than a month's residence in a theatre. They headlined the Palace in New York and the chief London West End theatres as well. Hill's portraits below convey the variety and interest of the partnership's costuming. In 1916 the act toured with its own band. In 1917, it added a 15 persons corps. The partnership survived WW1, and enjoyed periodically working in a feature spot in revues and musicals. Ned Wayburn in particular admired them for their versatility and sense of short form drama and lyricism. David S. Shields

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