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Ameta DeVries


Ameta DeVries, the vaudeville "sensational dancer," first appeared on American stages in 1897 as a member of the touring Baldwin-Melville company. She remained a fixture on Vaudeville bills for over thirty years. Modeling herself on Loie Fuller, she employed using costumes, capes, and tights to present the image of a French terpsichorean. Ameta thought out a number of innovations in her performances, including multiplying her stage image by six large mirrors. She also used calcium spot lights in conjunction with the mirrors and an iridescent costume to create the impression that she was on fire at various times during the performance. The wife of vaudeville booker Sam DeVries, her act had been shaped by him to maximize its attractiveness to theater managers. Her last bookings appear to date from 1928. David S. Shields/ALS