Film, Video Princess Rajah dance

About this Item

Title
Princess Rajah dance
Summary
Princess Rajah performs an "Oriental" or belly dance, and a balancing chair act in her teeth like that often found in folk performances in various cultures from Northern Africa to Greece. Shot outdoors in a street scene at the St. Louis Exposition, the film captures her act in an extreme long shot. She wears a dark, sleeveless dress to mid-calf, with a fringed, low-cut bodice and fringed belt worn at the waist, over multiple petticoats, bloomers, stockings, and heeled shoes. While playing finger cymbals, Princess Rajah performs a variety of dance movements that include spins, traveling movements, shoulder and hip shimmies, a frontal hip lock, other hip movements, and pirouettes. She then grabs a decorated chair in her teeth and swings it above her head, playing the finger cymbals and performing traveling foot movements, followed by floor work with the chair. Returning to a standing position still with the chair in her mouth, she performs shimmies and hip movements while playing the finger cymbals, then lowers the chair in front of her face and spins. She puts the chair down with a flourish, makes a closing gesture to the camera, and starts to exit the frame.
From Kleine Optical Co. catalog: An Oriental dance which was one of the features of "Mysterious Asia," a Concession on the Pike, St. Louis Exposition. Length 72 feet. Class A. $10.80.
Contributor Names
Princess Rajah, performer.
Weed, A. E., camera.
American Mutoscope and Biograph Company.
Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress)
Created / Published
United States : American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1904.
Subject Headings
-  Belly dance--United States
-  Louisiana Purchase Exposition--(1904 :--Saint Louis, Mo.)--Exhibitions
-  Dancers--Missouri--Saint Louis
-  Folk dancing
-  Silent films
Genre
Dance
Vaudeville
Shorts
Notes
-  H46819 U.S. Copyright Office
-  Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 3June1904; H46819.
-  Original main title lacking.
-  Camera, A.E. Weed.
-  Performer: Princess Rajah.
-  Duration: 1:11 at 16 fps.
-  Materials listed originate from the paper print chosen best copy of two for digitization; for other holdings on this title, see the M/B/RS Paper Print database.
-  Summary description provided by dance ethnologist Michelle Forner, 9/25/96.
-  According to vaudeville historians Joe Laurie, Jr. and Douglas Gilbert, Princess Rajah started as a "cooch" (an early form of belly dance) dancer at Coney Island in the 1890s. She was booked for a time at Huber's Museum in New York City before Willie Hammerstein presented her in her vaudeville debut at Hammerstein's Victoria theatre on 42nd Street. In addition to her dance with a chair, she also performed an Oriental dance with snakes. Princess Rajah was a featured act in the "Mysterious Asia" concession on the Pike at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis. She later married agent Clifford C. Fischer.
-  Biograph catalog no. 2924; code name (for telegraphic orders) Retajan.
-  Kleine catalog no. 3207G; code name (for telegraphic orders) Nae.
-  Available on the Internet; Library of Congress World Wide Web site (http://lcweb.loc.gov)
-  NCN046339; Princess Rajah dance.
-  Filmed May 23, 1904, at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in St. Louis.
-  Sources used: Copyright catalog, motion pictures, 1894-1912; Niver, K.R. Early motion pictures, 1985; AFI cat.: film beginnings, 1893-1910, 1995; Biograph photo catalog, v. 6 [MI]; Kleine Optical Co. catalog, Nov. 1905, p. 348; Laurie, J. Vaudeville, 1972, p. 40-41, 392; Gilbert, D. American vaudeville, 1963, p. 246-47.
-  Received: 12/6/94 from LC film lab; ref print; preservation; Paper Print Collection.
-  Received: 7/31/94 from LC film lab; dupe neg; preservation; Paper Print Collection.
-  Received: 6/3/04; paper pos; copyright deposit; Paper Print Collection.
Medium
1 reel of 1 (71 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. ref print.
1 reel of 1 (71 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. dupe neg.
1 roll (71 ft.) : si., b&w ; 35 mm. paper pos.
Call Number/Physical Location
FEC 2186 (ref print)
FPE 7702 (dupe neg)
LC 1821b (paper pos)
Library of Congress Control Number
96520235
Online Format
image
video
Description
Princess Rajah performs an "Oriental" or belly dance, and a balancing chair act in her teeth like that often found in folk performances in various cultures from Northern Africa to Greece. Shot outdoors in a street scene at the St. Louis Exposition, the film captures her act in an extreme long shot. She wears a dark, sleeveless dress to mid-calf, with a fringed, low-cut bodice and fringed belt worn at the waist, over multiple petticoats, bloomers, stockings, and heeled shoes. While playing finger cymbals, Princess Rajah performs a variety of dance movements that include spins, traveling movements, shoulder and hip shimmies, a frontal hip lock, other hip movements, and pirouettes. She then grabs a decorated chair in her teeth and swings it above her head, playing the finger cymbals and performing traveling foot movements, followed by floor work with the chair. Returning to a standing position still with the chair in her mouth, she performs shimmies and hip movements while playing the finger cymbals, then lowers the chair in front of her face and spins. She puts the chair down with a flourish, makes a closing gesture to the camera, and starts to exit the frame. From Kleine Optical Co. catalog: An Oriental dance which was one of the features of "Mysterious Asia," a Concession on the Pike, St. Louis Exposition. Length 72 feet. Class A. $10.80.
LCCN Permalink
https://lccn.loc.gov/96520235
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Chicago citation style:

Weed, A. E., Camera, American Mutoscope And Biograph Company, and Paper Print Collection. Princess Rajah dance. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1904. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/96520235/. (Accessed April 24, 2017.)

APA citation style:

Weed, A. E., American Mutoscope And Biograph Company & Paper Print Collection. (1904) Princess Rajah dance. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/96520235/.

MLA citation style:

Weed, A. E., Camera, American Mutoscope And Biograph Company, and Paper Print Collection. Princess Rajah dance. United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1904. Video. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/96520235/>.