Danseur de Corde

Rope Dancer

Detail of Danseur de Corde (Rope Dancer) by Joel Carson Jones, 2021.  Image subject to copyright restrictions.

Vaudeville stars were born in the Electric City

Born in France at the end of the 19th century, Vaudeville shows were popular in the United States between the mid-1890s and the 1930s. Specialty acts featured a mix of song and dance, burlesque, comedy, magic, and acrobatics.

The City of Scranton played an important role along the Vaudeville circuit. Downtown was home to multiple theaters, and a growing population made Scranton an ideal location for trial runs of new shows. Performances that did well here would move on to play for larger audiences in New York City. Hence, the famous saying, “If you can play Scranton, you can play anywhere!” The Marx Brothers, Buster Keaton, W.C. Fields, Mae West, Harry Houdini, Fred Astaire, George Burns and Gracie Allen, and Will Rogers were among the famous performers who appeared in Scranton theaters.

Danseur de Corde by Joel Carson Jones pays tribute to this remarkable time in our history. As part of Scranton Tomorrow’s Mural Arts Program, Danseur de Corde will be installed in the Downtown Business District. Its unique design showcases the artist’s mastery of trompe l’oeil. Meaning "to deceive the eye," trompe l'oeil is a technique used to create an optical illusion that the subject is three-dimensional. This technique will allow our Rope Dancer to stand tall at 3-stories high (36' x 100') on Penn Avenue.

View in person: 328 Penn Avenue, Downtown Scranton.
This mural is slated for completion in Summer 2021.

Learn More

If You Can Play Scranton, You Can Play Anywhere, by Ed Osmon, Lackawanna Historical Society Journal, Volume 38, No. 2, Spring 2008

Through the Eyes of P. W. Costello: Early Scranton Theatre, by Kristen A. Yarmey, The Harry and Jeannette Memorial Library, The University of Scranton, February 10, 2017

Vaudeville, Encyclopedia Brittanica

Joel Carson Jones Hed Cropped.jpg

About the Artist

Joel Carson Jones is an internationally-acclaimed artist known for his still life and trompe l’oeil paintings. Designated a Living Master by the International Art Renewal Center, Jones lives, teaches, and paints in northeastern Pennsylvania,

where he was born.

Danseur de Corde is made possible with generous support from the following:

ATR Properties

Fidelity Bank

Lackawanna County

Lackawanna Heritage Valley (LHV)

Reilly Associates

Sheetz