rg

Jean Babilée

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in 'Serge Lifar Musagète' a 2005 Dominque Delouche film shown as part of DANCE ON CAMERA 2007, Jean Babilée is interviewed, and among his remarks are some on first seeing Lifar enter his ballet classroom. This prompts Babilée to stress the fact that Lifar worked, taught and/or rehearsed in practice trunks and bare legs, a look one assumes not much seen during this time - the early 1940s, one presumes.

in any case, the attached, undated photo of Babilée would seem to indicate that Lifar's 'mode' soon became Babilée's own.

post-848-1168277677.jpg

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That's so beautiful! How can someone so muscular look light as a feather?!

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In the video on the life of Erik Bruhn, "I'm the Same, Only More", Mr. Bruhn says that seeing Jean Babilee perform inspired him to become a dancer...

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A beautiful photograph---the hands and face are as striking as the Nijinsky deMeyers photos. I saw him as a guest artist with Ballet Theatre (was it the 70's??) and he performed 'Bluebird', a performance that added to his legend, and also 'Le Jeune Homme et La Morte', a ballet in which I thought he was dramatically superior to Nureyev and Baryshnikov.

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Perhaps I am hallucinating, but to my eye he looks a bit like the actor Willem Dafoe.

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the powerful upwards pull of the patella is breathtaking. Such beautiful thighs!

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jean babilee is absolutely unique. he had something so many of todays dancers overlook. not only great technique and ability, but he had the great theatricality that seems so lacking these days. back in the 40s and 50s the drama and story was the key and not only technique and the ability to do 20 pirouettes. i know this is a broad statement as i know that the dance world has so many wonderful performers but to me, something is lacking in ballet today and maybe we should reflect back and again learn what was passed down to us so many years ago by some very talened performers.

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jean babilee is absolutely unique. he had something so many of todays dancers overlook. not only great technique and ability, but he had the great theatricality that seems so lacking these days. back in the 40s and 50s the drama and story was the key and not only technique and the ability to do 20 pirouettes. i know this is a broad statement as i know that the dance world has so many wonderful performers but to me, something is lacking in ballet today and maybe we should reflect back and again learn what was passed down to us so many years ago by some very talened performers.

To many people he remains a legend.

When he danced Bluebird in London Dame Ninette de Valois was heard to say I have got three boys who can dance the role as well as him. To which Richard Buckle retorted, "If that's the case why have we never seen them."

Here is a tiny clip of Babilee dancing and talking. There is something very beautiful about his face and expression which is not conventionally good looking. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FuMBw7wz5Ns

He reprised L'homme when he was 61 years old.

I would suggest his theatricality grew not only from his personality and talent, but also from his work with Roland Petit.

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I remember Babilee from photos only. They were unforgettable and -- even without movement -- made a big impression on me when I was young. Thank you, rg, for posting this one.

Here is Anna Kisselgoff's article about his performance (at 61) in "Le Jeune Homme et la Morte":

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/24/arts/dan...omme-at-61.html

John Martin reviewed Babilee's Ballet Theater Bluebird in the NY Times on April 16, 1951. (The headline describes this as a "novelty pas de deux"):

It is quite clear that Mr. Babilee's major gifts lie outside the field of strictly classical ballet. His stature is against it; his port de bras is inclined to be heavy and he has a minimum of turn-out in the hips.

Yet his performance is a fascinating one for all its weaknesses, for he is a dominating stage personality with complete persuasiveness. It is no news that his elevation is thrilling. If he is perhaps less the blue bird than the faun, you will nevertheless watch him and enjoying doing so.

Babilee's partner was Ruth Ann Koeson. Also on the bill was Fall River Legend -- with Alicia Alonso as (Lizzie Borden), John Kriza (the Minister), and Lucia Chase (the Mother) -- and Rodeo.

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Perhaps I am hallucinating, but to my eye he looks a bit like the actor Willem Dafoe.

My first thought was Chet Baker, but you're right, there's a lot of Dafoe too.

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I remember how thrilled I was when I learned I would have a chance to see Jean Babilée with Béjart--he had always sounded so intriguing as an artist. I don't remember a lot about the performance beyond his sheer physical charisma--and the use of a jungle gym--but I was not disappointed.

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if mem. serves Arlene Croce's description of Babilee at the time of his NYC Bejart appearances, in an essay that was enthusiastic about his performing, was to refer to him, at this age, as looking like a 'creased Cocteau drawing.'

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Croce also described him as "the angel thug of Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees," referring to the quality that especially appealed to Cocteau in 1946.

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Croce also described him as "the angel thug of Les Ballets des Champs-Elysees," referring to the quality that especially appealed to Cocteau in 1946.

I think he has an exotic other worldy look when young of the type if he had been a woman you might call jolie laide.

I am not surprised that Arlene Croce saw him as , "the angel thug.." because there was a toughness about him, no doubt learnt when he left the Paris Opera in 1943 to join the French resistance to fight the Germans.

Make your mind up for yourself with the following photographs:-

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/503716...e-Life-Pictures

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/56233662/Roger-Viollet

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/56233664/Roger-Viollet

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/56233661/Roger-Viollet

http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/55755581/Roger-Viollet

Added

http://www.willoughbyphotos.com/gallery2/m...ris+HR.jpg.html

Amended

Typos

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