59 results in English
Circus Spectacle Float
This photograph depicts an elaborate spectacle float in the “backyard” of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus in September 1922. The spectacle, or “spec,” often opened the show and was a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. Traced back to the earliest circuses in America, the spec was originally a lavish performance of literary or historical tales intended to entertain and edify the audience ...
Free Street Parade of the Sells-Floto Circus
This colorful lithograph advertises the upcoming street parade of the Sells-Floto Circus, promoting ticket sales to the local residents for the twice-a-day shows. The artwork captures the grandeur of the American circus parade in the 1920s. The parade is led by a rider wearing an 18th-century costume and carrying a circus banner. Behind the rider is a group of mounted horsemen, elephants in costumes worn in big production number during the show (“spec costuming”), a band, and a number of circus wagons. Several of the elephants and wagons promote the ...
Contributed by Circus World Museum
Pastimes of Central Asians. Two Male Actors with Painted Faces and Artificial Beards Playing a Board Game
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pastimes of Central Asians. Three Men, Including Two Maskhara-bāzūs, or Entertainers, with Painted Faces and Artificial Beards
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pastimes of Central Asians. Two Maskhara-bāzūs, or Entertainers Masquerading as Hindus
This photograph is from the ethnographical part of Turkestan Album, a comprehensive visual survey of Central Asia undertaken after imperial Russia assumed control of the region in the 1860s. Commissioned by General Konstantin Petrovich von Kaufman (1818–82), the first governor-general of Russian Turkestan, the album is in four parts spanning six volumes: “Archaeological Part” (two volumes); “Ethnographic Part” (two volumes); “Trades Part” (one volume); and “Historical Part” (one volume). The principal compiler was Russian Orientalist Aleksandr L. Kun, who was assisted by Nikolai V. Bogaevskii. The album contains some ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
Pay Off of Spec—the Good Old Times
In the American circus, the spectacle, or “spec,” developed as a procession that took place around the hippodrome track inside the big top, or circus tent, featuring as many of the performers and animals as the circus director was able to costume. Traced back to the earliest circuses in America, the spec was originally a lavish performance of literary or historical tales intended to entertain and edify the audience. The costumes created for specs were often exotic, representing cultures from all corners of the globe. The costumes also could be ...
Theatrical Group, Kandahar
This photograph of a theatrical group is from an album of rare historical photographs depicting people and places associated with the Second Anglo-Afghan War. The members of the group are dressed up in different comic costumes. A man on the far left side of the portrait is pantomiming a mother holding a rather unhealthy looking “child.” Other soldiers are dressed as Afghan tribesmen, Sikhs, beggars, jesters, and a vendor of “Camel hot pies.” The Second Anglo-Afghan War began in November 1878 when Great Britain, fearful of what it saw as ...
Contributed by Library of Congress
French Opera Theater, 1895−96 Season
Founded in Montreal in 1893, the professional troupe of the Théâtre de l'Opéra Français (French Opera Theater) moved to the Théâtre Français (French Theater), a renovated and electrified auditorium, one year later. The new venue was located at the corner of Sainte-Catherine Street and Saint-Dominique Street. In a context in which Quebec still had very few local professional artists and where theatrical and musical repertoire was primarily Anglophone, comedies, dramas, and operettas of the Théâtre de l'Opéra Français delighted the French-speaking Montrealers. Consisting of singers and actors from ...
Ringling Circus Clown Emmett Kelly in Sarasota, Florida
Emmett Kelly (1898−1979), pictured here, portrayed the melancholy hobo-clown Weary Willie for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus for more than a decade. His act differed from that of the typical jovial clown and made Weary Willie one of the most memorable components of the Ringling Brothers show. The Ringling Brothers built the show from humble beginnings in Baraboo, Wisconsin, into the largest and best-known American circus. They began their ascent in show business in 1884 when they combined with the Yankee Robinson circus. The following year the Ringlings bought out Yankee Robinson and became sole proprietors of the traveling show. The Ringling Brothers quickly acquired smaller circus shows and sought out the top performers from around the world. In 1919, the Ringlings merged their two largest ventures—Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey—into a single, combined circus, the “Greatest Show on Earth.” In 1927, the circus moved its winter quarters from Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sarasota, Florida. Members of the Ringling family had wintered in Sarasota since 1911. This photograph, taken in 1947, is by Joseph Janney Steinmetz, a world-renowned commercial photographer whose images appeared in such publications as the Saturday Evening Post, Life, Look, Time, Holiday, Collier's, and Town & Country. His work has been referred to as "an American social history," which documented diverse scenes of American life. Steinmetz moved from Philadelphia to Sarasota in 1941.
Maya Plisetskaya in the Role of The Great Barefoot
This photograph was taken in 1977 by photographer Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010) as part of the series "Great Dancers of the Twentieth Century. Isadora Duncan−Maya Plisetskaya." That year marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of American dancer Isadora Duncan (1877−1927), in honor of which French choreographer Maurice Béjart (1927−2007) created the ballet Isadora at the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. By this time, the name and work of the “Great Barefoot,” the name given to Duncan by her contemporaries, had become almost a myth. Béjart's Isadora ...
Dancing Balanchine's Geometry
This photograph, from the collection "Stars of the Mariinsky Ballet of the 21st Century," was taken in Moscow in 2008 by photographer Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010) during a tour by the Mariinsky Theater. It shows ballerina Ulyana Lopatkina (born 1973) and her partner Danila Korsuntsev (born 1974) rehearsing George Balanchine's ballet Symphony in C to the music of Georges Bizet. Balanchine (1904−83), born Georgi Balanchivadze, a Russian dancer and world-renowned choreographer of Georgian origin, began his dance career at the Mariinsky Theater. His ballets require not only refined ...
"Death of the Rose." Danced by Maya Plisetskaya and Alexander Godunov
This image is from the series “Variations on the Theme ‘Death of the Rose’.” It was taken by Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010) in 1977 at the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow. For the first time, after decades of prohibition, the leading ballet troupe of the Soviet Union invited a foreign choreographer—Roland Petit (1924−2011) from France. An admirer of Maya Plisetskaya (born 1925), the prima ballerina of the Bolshoi Theater, Petit brought to the Moscow stage for her a fragment from his ballet La Rose Malade set to the music of ...
Ekaterina Maximova's "Mazurka"
Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) took this photograph in 1968. It shows Ekaterina Maximova (1939–2009), a ballerina from the Bolshoi Theater, dancing Mazurka (from the ballet Skryabiniana) created by Kasian Goleizovsky (1892–1970). Choreographed specifically for Maximova, the dance was first performed in 1960 in a concert program. Maximova graduated in 1958 from the Moscow Ballet School at the Bolshoi Theater (now known as Moscow State Academy of Choreography), where she was taught by Elizaveta Gerdt. She was accepted into the Bolshoi Theater. A year later, during a tour in ...
Mikhail Baryshnikov in the Role of Vestris
This photograph from the series "Diverse Baryshnikov" was taken by photographer Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) in 1969 at the First International Ballet Competition in Moscow. The miniature ballet Vestris by choreographer Leonid Yakobson (1904−75) became one of the most exciting surprises at the competition. Baryshnikov (born 1948) was able to render the life story of the most famous dancer of the 18th century. A braggart and schemer, Auguste Vestris called himself the King of the Dance and used to say: "Today, Europe knows three great men—Frederick the Great ...
Like a Shot from a Bow. Nina Sorokina and Yuri Vladimirov Dancing
Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) took this photograph in 1965 at the Bolshoi Theater during a performance of The Rite of Spring danced by the Bolshoi Theater soloists Nina Sorokina (1942–2011) and Yuri Vladimirov (born 1942). The performances at the Bolshoi Theater that year were the first time that this ballet, choreographed by Natalia Kasatkina and Vladimir Vasiliev to Igor Stravinsky's music, was performed in the Soviet Union. Sorokina and Vladimirov, the most remarkable representatives of the Moscow school of dance during the 1960s and 1970s, danced the main ...
Maris Liepa's Main Role
Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) took this photograph in 1971 during a performance of the ballet Spartacus at the Bolshoi Theater. Maris Liepa (1936–1989) danced the role of Crassus. Liepa’s professional dance career started in his native Riga, Latvia, but he completed his studies at the Moscow Ballet School at the Bolshoi Theater (now known as Moscow State Academy of Choreography) in 1955. He worked at the Opera and Ballet Theater in Riga and at the Stanislavski and Nemirovich-Danchenko Moscow Academic Music Theater. In 1960, he became a soloist ...
The Goddess of Dance. Galina Ulanova
Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) took this photograph of Galina Ulanova (1910–98) in the ballet Les Sylphides at the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, in 1961. Ulanova was born in Saint Petersburg. In 1928 she graduated from the class of Agrippina Vaganova (1879–1951) at the Leningrad Choreographic School. Ulanova exuded extraordinary magnetism. Forgoing fashionable virtuosity, her dancing was characterized by nuances and half tones. Ulanova was not only a great dancer; she was also a great tragic actress, perhaps the most significant in the history of ballet. Her dance career began ...
Dragonfly. Olga Lepeshinskaia
Leonid Zhdanov (1927–2010) took this picture of Olga Lepeshinskaia (1916–2008) in 1959. Lepeshinskaia, a star of the Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, from the 1930s through the 1950s, graduated from the Moscow Ballet School at the Bolshoi Theater (now known as Moscow State Academy of Choreography) in 1933 and immediately became a soloist, dancing lyrical roles in The Nutcracker, Coppelia, Sleeping Beauty, and Red Poppy. In 1940 she successfully danced the part of Kitri in Don Quixote, which became her signature role. Lepeshinskaia was not ideally built for classical ballet ...
Giselle. Natalia Bessmertnova
This photograph was taken by Leonid Zhdanov (1927−2010) in 1975 during the filming of the ballet Giselle, directed by Vladimir Grave. The title role was performed by Natalia Bessmertnova (1941−2008). Bessmertnova graduated from the Moscow Academic Choreography School at the Bolshoi Theater (now known as Moscow State Academy of Choreography) in 1961 and was admitted to the Bolshoi Theater. She made her debut in the ballet Les Sylphides choreographed by Fokine. A year later, her Giselle came as an artistic revelation to her contemporaries. Bessmertnova introduced a whole ...
Actors Backstage Sugoroku
Actors Backstage Sugoroku is an e-sugoroku (picture board game) that depicts the backstage area of a Kabuki theater (playhouse). Published in 1863, towards the end of the Edo period, it contains pictures by Utagawa Kunisada II (also seen as Utagawa Toyokuni IV, 1823−80). This is a type of sugoroku called tobi-sugoroku (flying sugoroku), in which the squares are not lined up in order and the player moves around the board by jumping from square to square, depending on the roll of the die. From the furi-hajime (start) at the ...
Contributed by National Diet Library
Actors of the Chinese Theater in Costume. Beijing, 1874
In 1874-75, the Russian government sent a research and trading mission to China to seek out new overland routes to the Chinese market, report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories, and gather information about the Dungan Revolt then raging in parts of western China. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Iulian A. Sosnovskii of the army General Staff, the nine-man mission included a topographer, Captain Matusovskii; a scientific officer, Dr. Pavel Iakovlevich Piasetskii; Chinese and Russian interpreters; three non-commissioned Cossack soldiers; and the mission photographer, Adolf Erazmovich ...
Actors of the Chinese Theater in Costume. Beijing, 1874
In 1874-75, the Russian government sent a research and trading mission to China to seek out new overland routes to the Chinese market, report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories, and gather information about the Dungan Revolt then raging in parts of western China. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Iulian A. Sosnovskii of the army General Staff, the nine-man mission included a topographer, Captain Matusovskii; a scientific officer, Dr. Pavel Iakovlevich Piasetskii; Chinese and Russian interpreters; three non-commissioned Cossack soldiers; and the mission photographer, Adolf Erazmovich ...
Two Actors of the Chinese Theater Depicting a Scene in which the Emperor is Attired in the Costume of the Han Dynasty, with a Figure of the Celestial Sovereign over Him. Beijing, 1874
In 1874-75, the Russian government sent a research and trading mission to China to seek out new overland routes to the Chinese market, report on prospects for increased commerce and locations for consulates and factories, and gather information about the Dungan Revolt then raging in parts of western China. Led by Lieutenant Colonel Iulian A. Sosnovskii of the army General Staff, the nine-man mission included a topographer, Captain Matusovskii; a scientific officer, Dr. Pavel Iakovlevich Piasetskii; Chinese and Russian interpreters; three non-commissioned Cossack soldiers; and the mission photographer, Adolf Erazmovich ...
Negroes' Congado at Old Mountain
The Thereza Christina Maria collection is composed of 21,742 photos assembled by Emperor Pedro II (1825-91) throughout his life and donated by him to the National Library of Brazil. The collection covers a wide variety of subjects. It documents the achievements of Brazil and Brazilians in the 19th century and also includes many photographs of Europe, Africa, and North America. In 1868, photographer Augusto Riedel accompanied Luis Augusto, Duke of Saxe, son-in-law of Emperor Pedro II, on an expedition into the interior of Brazil. During a visit to the ...
Dancing Zamba, Argentina
This photograph shows a couple in traditional costumes dancing the zamba, one of Argentina's most popular dance forms. The dance originated in Peru in the Creole genre known as the zamacueca, which was adopted in Chile as the cueca. The zamba is a slow dance in three-quarter time played primarily on guitar and bombo legüero (the indigenous Argentine bass drum). The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrating life and culture in the ...
Gaucho Drinking “Mate”
This photograph shows a gaucho in traditional dress pouring hot water from a kettle to make maté, a traditional drink common to Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay that is made from the yerba maté plant native to subtropical South America. In the background is a tepee-like structure. Gaucho is a term used to denote descendants of the early Spanish colonizers who traditionally led a semi-nomadic life on the South American pampas. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which ...
Dancing
This photograph shows male and female dancers dressed in folk costume dancing around a maypole. Maypole dancing is a form of folk dance, brought to the Caribbean by the English, in which participants dance in a circle, each holding a colored ribbon attached to a pole. The ribbons are intertwined and plaited either to the pole itself or into a web around the pole. The dancers then can retrace their steps in order to unravel the ribbons. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the ...
Festival in Oruro (Bolivia)
This photograph shows a group of dancers in elaborate costumes in a band at the Carnival of Oruro in Bolivia. The carnival, which takes place every year, lasts ten days and features examples of popular arts in such forms as masks, textiles, and embroidery. The main event is the procession or entrada, in which the dancers walk the four-kilometer processional route repeatedly for a full 20 hours without interruption. In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed the Carnival of Oruro a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. The photograph is ...
Candomblé in Bahia (Brazil) Omolú Daughter
This photograph from Brazil shows a woman performing a dance wearing an elaborate costume made of grass and shells, with a portion of it covering her face, and holding a broom, the handle of which is also decorated with shells and grass. The dance and the costume are associated with Candomblé, a religion based on African traditions, with elements borrowed from Christianity, that is practiced chiefly in Brazil. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 ...
A Feast Day in San José, Costa Rica
This photograph shows a religious parade in San José, Costa Rica, featuring a cross and white-clad young girls, some with wings, all held above the crowd. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter ...
Conga Drums at Carnival Time
This photograph from Cuba shows a group of male revelers in traditional costumes and large sombreros, with various types of drums and other musical instruments, in a Conga line. The conga is a dance that originated in Cuba, and in which the participants form a winding line, take three steps forwards or backwards, and then kick. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the ...
Conga Dancers
This photograph from Cuba shows dancers and drummers similarly adorned in costumes of balloon-like trousers, long coats, and head wraps made of the same shiny fabric, moving in a long conga line. The conga is a dance that originated in Cuba, and in which the participants form a winding line, take three steps forwards or backwards, and then kick. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas ...
Carnival
This photograph from Grenada shows a young girl in a shiny costume and crown, in a carnival band. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the ...
Native Orchestra, Marimba
This photograph from Guatemala shows indigenous musicians playing two different types of marimbas, drums, a violin, and a harmonica. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to ...
Dressed for the Big Show
This photograph from Haiti shows a couple fashionably dressed in clothes of a bygone era. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common ...
Dance and Popular Dress
This photograph from Haiti shows four dancers elegantly dressed in old-fashioned clothes. The men wear suits with large stripes and knee-length pants; the women are in flowing gowns with tall head wraps on which hats are perched. They are dancing to the sound of drummers playing on elaborately-decorated drums. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on ...
Fiesta Dress
This photograph from Haiti shows a group of male and female dancers dressed in colorful costumes while performing a dance outdoors in brilliant sunlight. The men are attired in bold-striped outfits with balloon-bottomed pants and straw hats, the women in floral dresses with tall headwear of matching print. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS ...
Carnival Costumes
This photograph from Haiti shows two masqueraders in amusing carnival costumes that simultaneously represent both pig and human. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the ...
Indian Style Ferris Wheel
This photograph from Mexico shows a type of indigenous Ferris wheel: there are no seats, and the bodies of the individuals are held against the length of the poles as they revolve around the wheel in the middle. Each individual on the wheel wears a large, circular, decorated headdress that is itself like a wheel. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs ...
Oaxacan Feather Dancer
This photograph from Mexico shows the imposing figure of an Oaxacan dancer in an elaborate costume that features intricate, detailed designs of feathers and beads on the headdress, breastplate, and shield. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western ...
Masks Used in Native Dance
This photograph from Mexico shows an indigenous dancer wearing seven masks around his head that are used in a native dance. Onlookers wear the traditional Mexican poncho. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS ...
Panamanian Girl in a Pollera (brightly colored national dress worn for festivals and Carnival)
This photograph shows a Panamanian girl in a pollera, a brightly-colored national dress worn for festivals and carnival, with an elaborately decorated headdress and earrings of a similar pattern. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted ...