The Natural History of the Ballet Girl

Albert Smith / (original 1847 / reproduction 1996)

London: D. Bogue, 86 Fleet Street / 85273 046 3

A facsimile of the 1847 original; partly-satirical but amazingly correct and sympathetic to
the working conditions of the 19th century ballet-girl. He catches her trying to rehearse in
full street costume in winter on an unheated stage, and he sees her in the heat of summer as
she swoons under the flares of swelteringly hot gaslights.

That she walks long distances between home and theatre because she hasn't enough money
for the trolley, even though her feet are bruised and bleeding from hours of dancing,
is recognized. He points her out from the comfort and safety of his own carriage as
he sees her hurrying down wet and muddy streets or digging in her purse to pay bridge
tolls. He also see the children being drilled daily in the exercises, and marvels at
the work they must do to grow up into a profession that can promise so little reward
-- and where one injury could make it all a total loss. Just think, not much has changed.

dimensions: 4 1/4 x 5 1/5 in / weight: .5 lb / volume: 103 pages

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