Fan Dancer Sally Rand

By | Jul 8, 2007

“Sally Rand” was born as Harriet Helen Gould Beck in Elkton, Missouri on Easter Sunday, the 3rd of April, 1904. She was the daughter of Nettie Grove, a Pennsylvania Dutch Quaker, and Corporal William Beck, a veteran of the Spanish-American War.
Sally Rand

She left home at the age of thirteen to work as a cigarette girl in a nightclub in Kansas City, but ultimately went to Hollywood. During the 1920s, she acted on stage as well as appearing in over 20 silent films. She was given the name Sally Rand by the Hollywood great Cecil B. DeMille.

Sometime in her late 20’s she came up with the idea to combine her talent for artistic dance with the always present male desire for a glimpse feminine body.

In 1932 she accepted a position at the Paramount Club. It was there that she first performed the “fan dance,”. She had purchased the the two large ostrich feather fans used during the dance at a second-hand shop. The dance proved so popular that she danced at the 1933 World’s fair. Many of the reports were that she danced in the nude. Her nudity was an illusion since she actually danced in a body stocking.

In 1934, Sally perceived the need for something new. She decided on a bubble dance. The only trouble was that the biggest balloons available were a mere 30″ in diameter. Sally fronted the money for experimentation. After numerous tests, the see-through bubble was born.

Rand did her famous fan dance routine well into her seventies. She died in 1979 in Glendora, California at the age of 75.


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