Today it is not unusual to see a dancer, gymnast, or just athletic kids contorting themselves. Contortionist acts are more common than ever. In the 40’s, contortionist acts were considered a specialty and the most popular contortionist act of the 40’s was The Ross Sisters.
The Ross Sisters, Maggie, Aggie, and Elmira became popular after performing their number “Solid Potato Salad” in a movie named Broadway Rhythm. The native West Texas sisters stole the audience’s attention with their inhuman contortionist abilities.
One sister could be seen doing a backbend, picking up an apple on a platform at least three feet below her feet, which were perched on two thin wooden planks, with her teeth. They all had the ability to bend back far enough to sit on their heads.
After making a splash in America, the sisters toured Europe and was blessed with the opportunity to perform for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on the stage of the London Palladium in a 1946 Royal Variety Performance. The sisters had beautiful voices and harmonies, but nothing was more impressive than their flexibility and choreography.
After touring and performing they each retired and got married by 1950. They are a great example to the younger generation of what is possible. They were contorting when others could not. Thanks to YouTube and other media sources these performances can be brought forth to the younger generation to view and learn from. Like many performances of yesteryear, The Ross Sisters are definitely a group whose performances should be enjoyed.