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On the Death of Madame Gabrielle Réjane

c. 1920-1921 — Season of the Dance, Champs Elysées Theatre, Paris France


Mes amis: When one of the princes of the earth dies the life of the world stands still and the people mourn. Tonight the Queen of the Theatre lies dead and all the artistic and intellectual life should stand still, and all the artists should be mourning. . .

She was a great soul this Queen of the Theatre and she was my friend. Like all great artists she had her high joys and sorrows; her great struggles and triumphs: she too had her Calvary to tread. And I remember how when my two children were taken from me it was she who first comforted me. It was she who said “Do not grieve chere Isadora. They are not lost. They will be in your heart forever.” Those were the first words of comfort anyone every gave me. And so tonight in spite of great sorrow I want to dance “Les Funerailles” of Liszt as a token of my homage to the great Réjane. And when I have finished I would ask you not to applaud me but to remain silent in a prayer for the soul of the great artist who has passed away.

[Then she danced the dance which no man may ever describe — for who may paint the spirit and its anguish in words? — and the curtain descended slowly and quietly shutting the dancer from the view of the hushed and weeping audience.]



Source: “The Dancer Speaks” by Allan Ross MacDougall, The Touchstone, Vol VIII, No. 5, February 1921 (Mary Fanton Roberts) pp. 336.