Dance History Quiz | The Dancer Who “Created the Phantom of an Era”

Fun facts for teachers & students

When French writer and artist Jean Cocteau wrote, “Let us all hail this dancer who created the phantom of an era,” who was he describing?

a. Vaslav Nijinsky
b. Isadora Duncan
c. Anna Pavlova
d. Loie Fuller

d. Loie Fuller

At the 1900 Exposition Universelle in Paris, American modern dancer Loie Fuller made a lasting impression. Writes Natalie Lemle for, it was “the height of Art Nouveau and its flowing, feminine subjects inspired by nature. Fuller herself personified the movement, with performances that incorporated swirling yards of silk attached to bamboo wands sewn into her sleeves. Colored lights were projected onto the flowing fabric, and as she twirled, she seemed to metamorphose into elements from the natural world: a flower, a butterfly, a tongue of flame.” Fuller’s spectacles inspired other artists of the era, including painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, who featured her in prints; sculptor Auguste Rodin, who commissioned photographs of her; and the Lumière brothers, who made a film about her.

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