Home Site Map Back

Juba at Vauxhall

Source: The Illustrated London News, August 5, 1848

The only national dance that we really believe in, as a fact, is that of the N******. We mistrust the "Cachucha"—that is to say, whenever we have seen it performed by a real Spanish danseuse, we have always pronounced it far inferior to Duvernay's in the "Diable Boiteux." We should never expect to see the "Redowa" danced in its own country as Cerito and St. Leon represent it at her Majesty's Theatre; and we have some doubt as to whether Carlotta Grisi's delicious "Truandaise" was ever known in the Cour des Miracles of old Paris. Hornpipes are entirely confined to nautical dramas and pantomimes, or the square bit of board or patch of carpet of the street dancer; and anything so physically painful, not to say almost impossible, as those peculiar pas of the Chinese that we chance to have witnessed in Europe convince us that at all events tho execution must be exceedingly limited.


But the N***** Dance is a reality. The "Virginny Breakdown," or the "Alabama Kick-up," the "Tennessee Double-shuffle," or the "Louisiana Toe-and-Heel," we know to exist. If they did not, how could Juba enter into their wonderful complications so naturally? How could he tie his legs into such knots, and fling them about so recklessly, or make his feet twinkle until you lose eight of them altogether in his energy. The great Box immortalized him; and he deserved the glory thus conferred. If our readers doubt this, let them go the very next Monday or other evening that arrives, and see him at Vauxhall Gardens.

But Juba is a musician, as well as a dancer. To him the intricate management of the n***** tambourine is confined, and from it he produces marvelous harmonics. We almost question whether, upon a great emergency, he could not play a fugue upon it.

Certainly the present company of Ethiopians, at the Gardens, are the best we have seen. They have, with them Pell, the original "Bones "of Mr. Mitchell's theatre; and he is better than ever. No one, in the wildest flights of fashion ever ventured upon such extraordinary shirt-collars as he wears; nobody ever started such a frill, both of which have such marvellous properties of elongation, that, when excited, he can completely bury himself in his finery. One gentle note upon the bones, which he gives after great deliberation and with an evident feeling of the importance of his task, convulses the spectators. The Gardens are nightly crowded.

Madame Marie Macarte, the equestrian, who enjoys a brilliant celebrity throughout the United States, will make her first appearance here on Monday; and "Juba" has been re-engaged.