A remarkable dancer.
Donato, the one-legged dancer, is attracting much attention in London
, and a paper there thus describes his feats:
"When Senor Donato first presents himself, hopping on from the side scenes, no pleasurable emotion is felt; on the contrary, the immediate feeling rather partakes of the disagreeable.
To see a man in the very prime of life, with one leg and stump without support, coming forward, smiling and proffering to do in a state of mutilation what few male dancers, perfect and whole, of the greatest art and experience, ever could do — namely, afford unqualified gratification — seems to shock one's delicacy, no less than mock his credulity.
Senor Donato, however, enlists your sympathies pretty well before you have finished inspecting him. By his extraordinary bounds and pirouettes on his entrance, he fixes your attention in a moment, and you are astonished at beholding a dancer accomplishing on one leg what you cannot remember any professor of the Terpsichorean art having accomplished on two legs.
Nor when astonishment has passed off is your interest in Senor Donato exhausted.
On the contrary, you see something to be pleased with in his performance every moment, until at last you acknowledge that he is not only one of the most surprising dancers you ever beheld, but one of the most engaging; and such is the case.
A person may smile at hearing the word 'graceful' used in speaking of a one legged dancer, but if ever the term were applicable to a male Terpsichorean artist, it is to Senor Donato, whose motions, actions, gestures and general deportment are instinct with that natural ease and propriety which are the essentials of grace.
In short, the fact of Senor Donato having but one leg is soon forgotten by the spectators, and their sympathies are enchained in following his marvellous feats of agility and science; and these are by no means easy to describe.
Senor Donato enters bounding on the stage to the tune of some Spanish dance.
He accompanies the tune with the castanets, which he plays with more consummate skill than any one we ever heard.
This may be a trifle, but it is a great gain for him. His pirouettes are made with incomparable ease, and the dexterous manner in which he swings his body round, performing two revolutions, is beyond all belief.
Among the most difficult feats he performs is placing a castanet on the ground with his right hand, at right angles to his body, and taking it up with his left hand without bending his leg all the time.
The practitioners in gymnastics will understand the difficulty of achieving this feat standing on two legs.
That part of Senor Donato's performance, however, which engages most attention and creates the greatest excitement, is the cloak dance.
How the dancer flings the cloak around him, making it assume all sorts of fanciful shapes — now clothing his body with it, transforming it, as it were, into a sea shell; now waving the mantle over him like a banner; and now changing it into a floating cloudland, making it descend like a mist around him — must be seen to be understood.
Enough, let us hope, has been said to show that Senor Donato is one of the most remarkable performers of this or any age; and that London
is about to do his talents full justice, following the example of many of the towns and cities of the continent, is evident from the crowds that attend Convent Garden nightly, and from the immense enthusiasm his performance creates."