Selika Lazevski (Dressage)

Black Female Equestrians

Studio portrait of an African American female equestrian rider from the late 1800s.

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Black Style | 1891

Selika Lazevski, Ecuyère

Selika Lazevski, a 19th century equestrian was photographed here by Felix Nadar in 1891 in Paris, France. She was an écuyère who performed haute école – which means she was an equestrian who rode high school dressage in French circuses in the 19th century.

“Selika Lazevski was an écuyère (horsewoman) who performed high level dressage. The écuyères rode side saddle in circuses and hippodromes, and were widely respected for their skills as horsewomen.”

SusannaForrest.wordpress.com sheds more light on the possible origins of her name.

“Sélika is the name of the heroine of Giacomo Meyerbeer’s 1865 opera, L’Africaine, and was adopted as a stage name by the first black woman to sing at the White House, the coloratura soprano Madame Marie Selika Williams. The opera was hugely popular among African Americans…

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