This is a blog about music, photography, history, and culture.
These are photographs from my collection that tell a story about lost time and forgotten music.

Mike Brubaker
{ Click on the image to expand the photo }

Song and Dance

02 February 2018

Achtung! Wir grüßen dich!
What admiral could resist returning the salute
of four shapely young women dressed in
sequined bathing costumes and bi-corned hats?
They were the:

Damen Gesang und Verwandlungs Ensemble
directed by M. Witthein
Ladies Singing and Transformation Ensemble
Lightning Girls

Their postcard was sent on an obscured date,
to someone in Berlin by way
of the German Marine Schiffspost.


No doubt the admiral's wife would prefer
the Blitzmädel's more nautical costume
as pictured here with their marlinespike accessory.  

This postcard was sent on the 26 November 1913
from Friedrichshafen, an industrial city
in the German state of Baden-Württemberg.
It is situated on the northern shoreline
of Lake Constance (Bodensee)
which borders both Switzerland and Austria.


Costumes were a specialty of the Blitzmädel,
and it's likely that under those sailor suits
they were wearing stripey bathing costumes.
The quartet of Lightening Maidens
Verwandlungskünstlerin or quick change artists. 

This postcard was posted on 25 January 1916
from Neumünster, a city in the north German state
of Schleswig-Holstein.


The Damen Gesang Werwandlungs Quartett
Lustige Hamburger „4 Blitzmädel”
traveled with a large wardrobe
that allowed them to portray
a wide variety of German fashions.
Their music hall performances
likely combined songs and dance moves
with strategically placed screens on stage
that let them quickly transform
from female to male and back again.

Based on the postmark on this postcard
they had been around since at least 1910.
This was sent from Lüneburg,
a town in Lower Saxony, Germany
not far south from their home city of Hamburg,
to a soldier in Hannover
from a whole platoon of his comrades,
at least two dozen, who no doubt were enjoying
the performance of the enjoying the Blitzmädel.

Unfortunately we can never know
what songs, dances, skits, or humor
the Blitzmädels incorporated into their act.

But there is a modern dance group
that is a kind of cultural descendant.
Check out this performance of four men
from Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.
They do not sing, but
I think their cross-dressing
 conveys some of the humor of the Blitzmädels

* * *

* * *

This is my contribution to Sepia Saturday.
Click the link to see what's playing on stage.


Molly's Canopy said...

These Blitzmädels were certainly a versatile, many-costumed group. I love the backdrop of the sea and ship behind their nautical photo...and are those walking shorts paired with their aqua jackets? Very fashion forward for the time!

La Nightingail said...

All great postcards and comments as usual, and the Swan Lake parody was the icing on the cake! what fun. :)

Little Nell said...

It looks as if the line-up (and demeanour) changed over the years. They look positively jolly in their nautical costumes, and the very essence of misery in that last postcard.

Wendy said...

I can't stop thinking about their name: LIGHTNING Maidens? What did they mean by that? A reference to the speed in which they changed costumes? Was the performance "shocking"? Loved the dance parody.

Sandra Williamson said...

Some the girls look so young, I wonder how they became dancers during their period of time? Born into it? It's also interesting to see that not all the dancers were thin but that there was a variety of shapes and sizes. Thanks for sharing

Barbara Rogers said...

The Trocks (the nickname) are coming to our area soon. I am going to skip the performance, however. But they certainly are funny. I imagine the Lightning girls were as well!

tony said...

They Look A Jolly Crew ! I cant begin to Imagine what their performances were like,but I get the feeling they would have been fun to see!


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