Portrait of Unidentified Fanchon and Marco Dancer
Orval Hixon photographed this unidentified Fanchon & Marco dancer in such a way that she simultaneously exudes both strengthen and vulnerability all in a 3/4 length pose. Her confident gaze to the viewer's left is belied by her left hand clutching a shibori-lined velvet drape to her chest. Her left hand rests on her left hip. She wears a form-fitting crinkled lame' dress. A large hat rests atop a floral scarf that is tied over her loosely curled dark hair. As was sometimes the case, Hixon manipulated this image in the darkroom. Upon close inspection, the viewer can see he has drawn long, lush eyelashes to accentuate the dancer's winsome expression and a singular curl peeking out from under the headscarf. Additionally, the dancer's chin, neck and arm have also been treated by the artist to create deeper contrast and greater interest. As the popularity and vaudeville and theater gradually gave way to that of film, some movie houses and artists found ways to integrate both forms into a single show by including a short, live "prologue" before a film. Siblings Fanchon Wolff Simon (1892-1965) and Marco Wolff (1894-1977) were the most famous of these prologue producers. From their California headquarters, they dispatched dancers such as the woman in this photograph across the country to perform in pre-packaged, economical musicals. By the late 1920's the duo had also established a school that prepared dancers for a variety of careers in stage and film.