March 2, 1909
Gertrude Hoffman did not give the Salome dance at the Shubert theater last night because a court order commanded her not to do so.
In the "Spring Song "Gertrude, who goes bare-footed and bare ankled and almost bare-kneed in this number, wore fleshlings, and on her classic feet she wore soft shoes because the court order commanded it.
A temporary restraining order, made by Judge E. E. Porterfield of the circuit court late yesterday afternoon and returnable tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock, scored first blood for those who are fighting the presentation of the semi-nude dance in Kansas City.
Miss Hoffman was served with the order while she was in her room at the Coates house. The order was also served on Earl Steward, manager of the Shubert, J. J. Shubert and Lee Shubert being included in the list of defendants.
Miss Hoffman went to the Shubert last night determined to do her dance. She was mad and excited. It was decided to eliminate the "Salome" dance, but as the court order made no mention directly of the Spring Song number, that dance was given.
"What kind of a town is this?" said Miss Hoffman, as she retired to her dressing room after the conclusion of her act.
One could still hear the applause coming from the auditorium of the theater.
"Do you hear that?" she said. "Did you see that audience? Did you see any people with low brows in that audience? Do they look coarse, unrefined, ill bred? No, certainly they don't.
"What does the so-called religious element of Kansas City think I am doing over here? Do they think I get out on the stage and wriggle? Do they think the audience giggles?
"I have given my dances all over the Eastern section of the United States. I played in the leading cities of New England where the Puritans came from and where their descendants live and thrive and still preach purity.
"Intellectual audiences, audiences of brain and a taste for art saw my dances. I played to an audience made up entirely of Harvard men while in Boston. I played to an audience made up almost entirely of Yale men when we played in New Haven. When we played in Springfield, Mass., more than half of the audience was composed of girls attending Smith college. They came over thirty miles to see my performance. They represented some of the richest, most intellectual families of the United States. They didn't blush. They had nothing to blush for. They applauded.
"Who are these people who rant about something they have never seen? They are hypocrites, to begin with. Why do they seize on this performance, when they have ignored other theatrical performances which might have given them some excuse for going to court?
"If these people object to my dance why don't they go to your art academies and tear down the nudes. Why don't they close up the art academies and prevent nude women from posing for nude pictures? Why don't they?
"That's art, they will say, if they have intelligence. So it is. And this dance I give is art, classic art.