“Authentic Native Egyptian Dancers” at the Barnum & Bailey Circus, 1895

Here’s an interesting tidbit on Egyptian dance at the Barnum & Bailey circus from an 1895 issue of The New York Times that I came across while researching a paper on ethnographic presentations and photography at circuses. Enjoy!

The impossibility of a scrubwoman who has been employed In the Garden for some years to conceal her astonishment when the Egyptian dancers came in sight incidentally revealed quite a little romance. One of the dancers, gorgeously arrayed in pink, gauze, and tinsel, had the loveliest pair of “real Irish eyes” that one would see In many a day’s journey. But she spoke in the language of the Egyptians and danced in the peculiar custom of the country with an ease that equaled any of her associates.It was learned that, three years ago, that young person was a scrubwoman in Madison Square Garden. She had come to this country from Ireland in search of a recalcitrant lover. The leader of a troupe of Egyptian dancers, who Is an accomplished linguist and a very well-Informed man, fell In love with, married her, and took her to his native land. This year she reappears here as a “native” dancer. This story was corroborated by a gentleman who has known the husband very well for a long time.”

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