Lecture examines life and literature of famous dancer
The public lecture, entitled 'Telling the Dancer from the Dance: Image, Dancer, Text', was held at the Rose Bowl and discussed what happens when an artist's work is appropriated by other artists for their own artistic production.
Professor Robbins is widely published and her research has ranged across Victorian and early twentieth-century cultures; autobiography and identity; feminism and contemporary women's fictions.
As she explains: "In the late nineteenth century, images of dancing girls were everywhere. Edgar Degas famously produced his distorted sculpture, 'The Little Dancer'. The dancer was also to be found as an image in multiple, much more ephemeral productions - the adverts of Alfred Mucha, of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and a host of more anonymous commercial artists. In the pages of novels, plays and poems, the orientalist fantasy of Salomé and her dance of the seven veils became very popular and was recreated in fiction, poetry and a famously banned play by Oscar Wilde.
"My lecture pursued the dancer Jane Avril (1868-1943), who danced on the stages and dance floors of Paris nightclubs and London music-halls in the 1890s. It considers the images that proliferated of her strange, contorted movements, her indifference to her audiences, and even of her life beyond the stage. Telling the dancer from the dance requires a complex unravelling of the relationships between the dancing woman, her images, and the texts that are based on her."