The person credited with transforming the traditional Korean Fan Dance into a dance of Erotica has an interesting history, in part:
Some 22 million visitors celebrated the Century of Progress in Chicago, ensuring that the name "Sally Rand" would be known throughout the land. Thereafter, she exploited the popularity of the fan dance and similar routines at every opportunity.
In response to all the hub-bub, Miss Rand waxed philosophic about her career:
I have been successful, and I am grateful for my success. I have had some experiences that I wish I never had had, but that would be true in any business. I cannot say sincerely that I would have chosen just this road to fortune. Perhaps I might have wished for another way. But I took the opportunity that came to me. Certainly I am an opportunist. I admit it.
At any rate, I haven't been out of work since the day I took my pants off.
When the Chicago fair reopened in 1934, Sally perceived the need for something new: "I had to find a new twist."
She decided on a bubble dance: "I wanted a balloon sixty inches in diameter, which is my height, made of a translucent or transparent material." The only trouble was that the biggest balloons available were a mere 30" in diameter. They were heavy red target balloons used by the War Department. Since no one knew how to make the required equipment, Sally fronted the funds for necessary experimentation herself. After numerous tests, the super-dooper, see-through bubble was born. Once again, Sally was a smash hit, now heading a big show of 24 dancers and 16 showgirls.
After the Chicago exposition finally closed, Sally hit the road--and sometimes the road hit back. At the California Pacific Exposition, held in San Diego in 1935-1936, Sally suffered bruises under her left eye and on her left thigh from pebbles flung at her as she danced on stage. Bleeding at the cheek, she reappeared after a brief exit, with fans replacing her bubbles, and completed her act. The management announced it would have guards in future crowds about the dancer's stage.
n the road again, Sally opened a "nude show" at the 1936 Frontier Exposition in Fort Worth. An article by Brad Redford on the Internet entitled "Sally Rand--The Woman Who Brought Nudity to Dallas" offers these delightful observations:
Sally revealed very little by today's standards. Sally's fan dance is tame, hell you could show it on broadcast TV! But, back then in the early thirties open skin was contained in the burlesque houses. She transcended burlesque with dance so heavenly, public opinion overrode the moral objectors, and the law. "How dare you arrest Sally Rand, America's Treasure!" She brought public nudity to Dallas by making it acceptable for the first time. She stepped out of an airplane at Love Field wearing only a bubble held in front of her, and a small toga style wrap. She was barefoot and on her toes, a vision of angelic loveliness, a real goddess. The flashbulbs wailed, the press followed her. She wore a size 4-1/2 shoe, she was a natural blond, and a small, uniform, b-cup adagio dancer. She moved with such grace and was so clever at using minimal cover that, she would not reveal the illegal parts.
This bubble dance looks sweet, sounds like it was a tough career though.
I should collect some of these old turn-of-the-last century photos & do a reg. post on it... er, someday..when I'm not so busy! ha!