La Belle Otero

La Belle Otero

This powerful sculpture of La Belle Otero by Camilo Rodríguez Vidal is located in Valga, Spain. This statue is a tribute to this legendary Belle Epoch entertainer who was born Agustina del Carmen Otero Iglesias in 1869.

La Belle Otero took the Parisian nightclub scene by storm in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. She was a singer, dancer, and notorious and unabashed courtesan. Her little black book included heads of state, dukes, and even a king or two!  At the apex of notoriety, she was one of the stars of the famous Follies Bèrgere.

When the Salome dance movement was at its height in the first decade of the 20th century, La Belle Otero adopted the dance fusing her authentic classic Spanish style with early modern Orientalist vibes. The Lumiere brothers caught her on film – check out this compilation of photos and an 1898 Spanish dance snippet in this video:

This rare clip was filled during a performance of her specialty dance, the “Valse Brillante” in St. Petersberg, Russia.

Although she was primarily a Spanish dancer, the artist Camilo Rodríguez Vidal chose to depict her in her Salome costume.

This has been a Belly Dance History Snack.

Thank you for visiting my website and supporting my ongoing research on the Visual History of Belly Dance.
Dawn Devine ~ Davina

By Davina

Davina ~ Dawn Devine is a belly dance costume designer, dance instructor and author of more than a dozen publications on Middle Eastern dance.