Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Barbette (Circus Performer) - Major Project

I discovered Barbette who was an American Female Impersonator, Hire Wire Performer and Trapeze Artist born in 1898. 



He began performing aged 14 in various acts then went solo and adapted his exotic pseudonym, performed in drag and only revealed himself at the end of the act.  He found fame in Paris in the 1920's and 1930's.  He was renowned for striking exaggerated poses that were masculine whilst dressed in female clothes.

He was referred to as a graceful daredevil and an angel, or that he was like a flower, or a bird.

''He transforms between man and woman, his female glamour and elegance - Clouds of dust thrown into the eyes of the audience''

Man Ray photographed Bardette during his transformation from a man to a woman and he inspired Jean Cocteau.  Bardette tragically committed suicide in the 70's due to a long battle with horrific pain caused by a fall.  As I have been exploring the theme of Circus, Bardette will be great reference and inspiration for my MP.

I will be looking at the context of Bardette's time as a performer, So far I have discovered:

-Avante Garden, Paris in the 1920's / 1930's
-Bardette appeared at the famous Moulin Rouge Theatre in Paris
-Theatrical /Circus / Drag Artistes
-Make up and illusion
-Trapeze Artists

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