Ethel Beech, late 19th century

Ethel Beech, late 19th century

Ethel Beech
Late 19th century
Sepia photograph

In the early days of music hall, the bills were primarily made up of singers. Dance, apart from simple steps during a song, was not really possible on the small stages. As the halls increased in size and number, dancers came to figure highly on the bills from ballet to acrobatics, from step dancing to strange 'novelty' acts. Ethel Beech, with her full Edwardian hair, crowned with an elegant feather, and her spangle-decorated dress, with its amazing frou-frou underskirts framing her shapely legs, was  typical of hundreds of such dancers. At a time when day dresses still covered the feet, a shapely leg and ankle was a major factor in a dancer's popularity.