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Placide, Alexandre (1750–26 July 1812), ballet dancer, choreographer, and acrobat, was born Alexandre Bussart Placide in Paris, France, but otherwise nothing is known of his early life. His parents were also acrobats, and his sister Mme Billioni was a famous singer at the Comédie Italienne. He may have trained at the Paris Opéra, if he was the same “M Placide” who danced there from 1772 to 1773. After his 1770 debut at Nicolet’s, the famous Parisian theater, he began to tour, performing in the Netherlands (1780); London (1780–1785); Bath, Bristol, Norwich, and Dublin (1783–1784); and the French provinces (1787). He composed numerous pantomimes, in which he played the role of Pierrot, including ...

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Stratton, Eugene (08 May 1861–15 September 1918), music hall artiste, was born Eugene Augustus Ruhlmann in Buffalo, New York, the son of George Ruhlmann, an Alsatian saloonkeeper, and his wife Mary (maiden name unknown). Stratton’s American career was typical of its era. In later life he recalled attending the Christian Brothers school and working as a telegraph messenger, practicing acrobatics and dancing “five or six hours daily” (quoted in Barker). At age ten he teamed up with “a great big fellow” named Lesley, who would toss him around during their burnt-cork act, “The Big and the Little of It,” at Dan Shelby’s Saloon. Stratton next soloed as Master Jean, dancer and tumbler, and by age thirteen reckoned he had become “something of a champion in a small way.” Before he was fifteen he had played in a ...