1900 and 1920, the distinguishing characteristics of
the acrobatic Pony Ballet dancers was
their youth (no older than 17), petite size (no more
than 5' tall and less than 130 lbs) and frequent costume changes. Trained in England at the Tiller School
by John Van Tiller,
the Pony Ballet
first performed in George Lederer's Casino
Girl at the Shartesbury Avenue theater in London
By 1901 the group size was
reduced from sixteen to eight and they made Chicago
their home base. In 1902 while performing in
Milwaukee, one of the girls died of typhoid fever.
She was replaced by Dorothy Marlowe when rehearsals
began for Mr. Bluebeard in NYC January, 1903.
Their costumes were designed by F. Richard Anderson and made by
the Klaw & Erlanger Costume Company; wigs were
Clarkson of London and Hepner of New York.
In Chicago, in addition to their
performances at the Iroquois Theater they performed
at a special publicity performance at Powers Theater
on November 17, 1903.
May 15, 1904 The Inter Ocean newspaper of
5.5 months after fire
Sisters Dorothy and Eva Marlowe were injured at
the Iroquois but recovered sufficiently to open four months later in Piff!,
Paff!, Pouf! at the Casino Theatre in New York. The group would
become so popular that imitators cropped up and the Pony Ballet became the
Original Pony Ballet.
* The term "pony
ballet" appears to have been a permutation of an
older term, "jockey ballet," going back to at least
the mid 1800s, both terms used to describe a group
of young female dancers.
Jandrew and wife Louise Elton
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