2 3 Throwback Thursday and Lillian Leitzel | Ballet Webb

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Throwback Thursday and Lillian Leitzel

Throwback Thursday and Lillian Leitzel

Her mother was aerial performer Nellie Pelikan so Lillian Leitzel came by her talent naturally. She wanted to be like her mother, so she worked hard to develop her skills and succeeded beyond her wildest dreams. When she was about fourteen she joined her mother in the aerial troupe.

She was a star almost immediately, becoming known for her act on the Roman rings which took her up into the top of the circus tent where she performed without a net. It is said that for the finale of her act she would grasp the ring with one hand and flip over so rapidly that her arm would dislocate and snap back into place with each rotation.

Her act made her an international star and she was voted “the most beautiful and attractive woman in all the world” by American soldiers in World War I. She was the first performer with Ringling Brothers to receive her own personal rail car.

She continued to wow audiences well into her thirties, but during a performance in Copenhagen the inevitable happened. A piece of metal on her rigging broke and she fell to the floor. She died two days later.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets
Dance History Factoid #139:
“Lillian Leitzel was the first Ringling Brothers star to have her own rail car.”

Link of the Day:

Quote of the Day:
“Fear? When I am up so high? I am afraid, sometimes. But I tell myself I am not afraid. And then I swing. And I swing my fear away.”
-Lillian Leitzel

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