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The Dancing Girl

Earl Shinn ["Edward Strahan"], Gerome: A Collection of the Works of J.L. Gerome in One Hundred Photgravures. Multiple Volumes. New York: Samuel L. Hall, 1881.


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THE ALMEH,

HASNE was her name, according to the interpretation of M. Gérôme's dragoman; and she first attracted his admiration "not by the regular beauty of her features, but by her almost savage countenance and the extraordinary fire of her glance." So says the painter's scribe, M. Lenoir. And over her barbaric dance, such as his master has here portrayed it, he thus lingers: "She did not wait to be solicited ; at the first sounds of the darabouka and the violins, Hasne planted herself in the middle. Animated, doubtless, by the sight of this numerous audience, encouraged by the princely backsheesh which we had promised to her, she was prepared to regale us with the most exquisite refinements of her choregraphic art. Her brilliant eyes brightened up, and at a given signal the dance commenced. At first slow and measured in her movements, the dancer scarcely displaced herself from the spot to which she seemed nailed by the feet ; then, as the rhythm of the music quickened little by little, with slight and almost imperceptible steps she seconded and supported the incredible inflexions of her whole body, a sort of dislocation of the hips, almost convulsive, which seems to be the foundation of the dance of the almehs. As the musicians hastened the measure, the gestures of the dancer, her contortions, the least movements of her arms and her head, acquired a wilder, more feverish character. Arrived at last at the paroxysm of this rhymed epilepsy, so to speak,



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