Leona Dare

1855 - 1922

Leona Dare was an American trapeze artist and aerial acrobat, billed often as the "Queen of the Antilles" or the "Pride of Madrid". She was famous for her stunts on trapezes suspended from ascending balloons.
Leona Dare's real name was Susan Adeline Stuart or Stewart. Her teachers in acrobatics were the Hall brothers, Thomas and Stewart Hall, who were sometimes billed as the "Brothers Dare". In 1871, she married Thomas Hall in New Orleans or in New York City. The same year, she debuted as an artist at Nixon's Amphitheatre in New York City; a year later, she was with the circus of Joel E. Warner. Her specialty was the "iron jaw" act, in which she held onto her supporting apparatus with nothing but the strength of her bite, or in which she herself held other artists or their supports with her mouth only. In August 1872, she performed in Indianapolis for the first time suspended under a hot-air balloon, lifting her husband and partner off the ground, holding him by his waistband only with her teeth.
Subsequently, she toured through Europe. Her performances at the foremost locations in Europe, including the Folies Bergère in Paris, made her rather famous in Europe.
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