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Bacchus Dance: 1909

Bacchus Dance: 1909

Edwardian-Bohemian New York circa 1909. "Bacchus Dance -- Miss Grace Walters, Mrs. A.S. Burden, Miss M.R. White, Alfred Hester, Mrs. James B. Eustis, Miss Martha White." 8x10 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.


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The photo documents a benefit bazaar and Greek pageant held on May 4, 1909, at the Manhattan Trade School for Girls, at 209 East Twenty-third Street. The entertainments included this bacchanal, inspired by a similar performance held several weeks earlier at the Architectural League. The New York Times reported that, "in most cases the feet and ankles of the dancers were entirely bare, allowing the grace and simplicity of old Greece to appear with some modifications to meet modern taste." The modern bacchantes in the photo have tastefully left their stockings on. Bacchus, wearing a flame red wig and beard, was played by the important New York painter and muralist Albert Herter (1871-1950), whose father was one of the founders of the famous interior decoration firm of Herter Brothers.

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