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Paris/Ballet questionMontmartre Cimetiere


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#31 Estelle

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 02:29 AM

Oops sorry, there are only 7 000 000 millions (that's already a lot) and not 7 billions. To give you an idea, there are 100 000 plots in the Père Lachaise alone, and they contain about 700 000 bodies.

Well, there are a lot explanations. I won't enter into details very much because the thread will become gruesome, but you can do a lot of things with a single plot. Cremation until a few years ago wasn't usual and it was thought in the 19th and 20th that it was important to have a big plot with a deep vault and an impressive monument.


Thanks for the explanation ! 7 billion sounded really strange to me... but I agree that 7 million already is a lot, and it must be very complicated to manage all that.

I wonder if it would be of any interest to try to compile (for example on a web site) a sort of "guide of ballet-related graves", for example with photographs of the graves of famous dancers or choreographers ? I vaguely remember that several years ago, the magazine "Danser" had done an article about some graves, but of course only a few people were listed... Compiling a list probably would be quite time-consuming, especially with all the legal restrictions you mentioned, but perhaps it could lead to interesting discoveries.

One can find surprising things in cemeteries, for example in the small (and otherwise uninteresting) cemetery of my parents' village, there is the grave of Liane de Pougy (1869-1950), who briefly was a dancer (but I think, a cabaret dancer, not a ballet dancer) and a famous "demi-mondaine" of the "Belle Epoque"... but she's not buried with the name "Liane de Pougy" (a pseudonym), not as "Anne-Marie Chassaigne" (her birth name) or "Princesse Ghika" (her married name) but under a religious name (something like "Anne-Marie-Madeleine de la Pénitence") because in the last years of her life she was in some religious order...

#32 cygneblanc

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 02:55 AM

The idea guide of ballet-related graves website is great. I think it could be done, but only in giving the name of the dancer buried in the grave and the location if it's known, and nothing more (at least for french graves) .As for pictures, the rule is that in cemeteries, you can take pictures pour your personal use only. If your website isn't commercial I guess it's OK to put the pictures on, but you have to take them off if a tenant in common of the grave wish it.

Let's begin:

Claire Motte in buried in the "cimetière des Batignolles". The grave ins't easy to find and it's very ordinary.

#33 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 03:33 AM

That's what I was getting at. I thought, "My, I know that the Gauls are famous for compiling and preserving information, but seven billion seems a bit high." But I'll bet that there ARE some records somewhere of decedents from before 212 C.E.

#34 Estelle

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:17 AM

The idea guide of ballet-related graves website is great. I think it could be done, but only in giving the name of the dancer buried in the grave and the location if it's known, and nothing more (at least for french graves) .As for pictures, the rule is that in cemeteries, you can take pictures pour your personal use only. If your website isn't commercial I guess it's OK to put the pictures on, but you have to take them off if a tenant in common of the grave wish it.


Thanks for the legal information.

Perhaps we could at least start a thread about it (in Ballet history for example, or Anything goes- it might be a bit morbid to put it in the dancers subforum...) and then try to compile a more precise list later (listed by country, city, etc. for example) when we have enough information.

#35 Mel Johnson

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:27 AM

Ballet History would be an ideal spot! And I don't think it's morbid at all. In the US, Veterans' Groups, burial societies and all nature of other groups frequently keep lists of where "their" dead are buried, and often make pilgrimages to decorate the sites on both May 30 ("Memorial Day" formerly known as "Decoration Day") and All Saints' Day. There is another Veterans' occasion on November 11 (Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans' Day, but that day is really supposed to honor the war veterans who are still around!) But if someone feels moved at ANY time to pay respects at a burial site, with whatever memorial you please, that's a good thing! You don't have to wait!

PS. If you want to express your gratitude to someone who HASN'T shuffled off yet, but to whom you feel grateful, that's even better!

#36 Estelle

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 04:39 AM

I have just started a thread in Ballet History:

http://ballettalk.in...showtopic=24809

#37 Paul Parish

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:10 AM

There's a lot to be learned from cemeteries. A lot about the living as well as the dead.

In Solzhenitsin's Cancer Ward, maybe he's exaggerating, but it's clear that under Stalin people were "strongly discouraged" from visiting cemeteries, since it was backward-looking and not optimistic, and the state required everyone to put shoulder to wheel and further the revolution.

In my one experience of a former soviet-dominated culture, i.e., Poland, I found the main cemetery in Bytom was as busy as Central Park -- children playing, grown-ups visiting. I watched as a lady in stockings and pumps came up to a grave, reached up int o a branch of the tree standing over it, withdrew a cloth, knelt down and polished the entire grave, changed the water in the vase, replaced the tired flowers with new ones, and sat down for 15 minutes and read from a book.

The Jewish cemetery was full of graves but I was the only visitor. The pre-WW2 grand rebbe's enormous black-basalt tomb was inscribed in Hebrew and in German with quotations from Job and (if I remember right) from Faust. Every tomb that bore a death-date post 1945 said the deceased was born in Lodz. While I was standing there a soccer ball came over the wall, followed by 10 urchins who got me to come over with them into the parking lot on the other side and be their goalie. I could have been in some danger -- Bytom now has a lot of unemployment, and drunken parents put their kids on the street, and they roam in packs.

My home town in Mississippi is near the river and one of the oldest settlements in the state. The Catholic and Jewish cemeteries always draw me when I go back there. I am proud to say I grew up in a town with no anti-semitism, where Jewish families were at the top of society. The synagogue has been turned into a museum, since all the Jewish families have left PG, but the cemetery is crowded and maintained like a golf course.

The Catholic cemetery contains more graves for the year 1873 (the year of the Yellow Fever epidemic) than for hte entire 20th century. A quietly stunning fact.

Sorry, I've wandered far from ballet.

#38 Helene

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Posted 14 May 2007 - 09:27 AM

In Solzhenitsin's Cancer Ward, maybe he's exaggerating, but it's clear that under Stalin people were "strongly discouraged" from visiting cemeteries, since it was backward-looking and not optimistic, and the state required everyone to put shoulder to wheel and further the revolution.

In my one experience of a former soviet-dominated culture, i.e., Poland, I found the main cemetery in Bytom was as busy as Central Park -- children playing, grown-ups visiting.

The only time I visited East Berlin in 1977, a small group of my classmates and I went to Dorotheenstädtischer Friedhof, where Brecht, Weigel, Fichte, Hegel, and Heinrich Mann are among those who are buried. It was full of elderly people, who sat quietly on the benches. We were the only people under 60 there.

#39 carbro

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:32 AM

ViolinConcerto has sent photos, which you can view by returning to the first post. :flowers:

#40 GWTW

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 05:59 AM

ViolinConcerto, thanks for the evocative photos.
The pile of pointe shoes is incredibly creepy.

#41 bart

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 07:15 AM

Creepy indeed, but also sad and somehow inspiring that people carried these shoes all that way as a kind of tribute.

I have conflicting feelings about such things. The photos evoke the disintegration that is part of death, but also a kind of survival through the power of the human memory. A dancer's shows seem inseparable from his or her existence as a dancer.

One of the first things that came to mind when I saw that sad, somehow inspiring jumble of old shoes, were thse great piles of eye glasses, hair, shoes, artificial limbs, and other personal remains taken from the victims of Auschwitz -- a heart-wrenching display, protected by glass windows, for those who visit the camp today. And one that no one could possibly forget.

#42 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 03:52 PM

I am often reminded in the funeral service: In the midst of life, we are in death. But I find in cemeteries, no matter of which religious denomination or even of none at all the Lutheran sentiment that as the first is true, so "in the midst of death, we are in life" is also true. Durable memorials to past persons who lived, loved, and were loved, are what cemeteries are. Sometimes they even can fill in blanks in biographies, as with my great-grandfather. He came to Newburgh, NY, with an old miner friend of his, and the friend died in Newburgh, leaving only a headstone as memorial there. In reviewing the local newspapers of about 1871, I found that they had been quite active about town, and that he met my grand-grandmother at an Episcopal "sociable", even though she was a Quaker, and he a Disciple of Christ. Having that extra name to look for made seeking my ancestors out much easier.

Still, the point is well taken concerning the shoes on Mother Taglioni's grave. I keep fancying her shade looking on and asking, "Vot in de hell is wik all dese smelly shoes, by gar?" Remember, she was Swedish.

#43 ViolinConcerto

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 07:00 PM

Still, the point is well taken concerning the shoes on Mother Taglioni's grave. I keep fancying her shade looking on and asking, "Vot in de hell is wik all dese smelly shoes, by gar?" Remember, she was Swedish.


So is that the judgement/consensus, that it is the grave of the mother of Marie Taglioni -- which in all likelihood is generally thought to be Marie's????

#44 Mel Johnson

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Posted 16 May 2007 - 08:04 PM

Yes. As noted elsewhere, this tomb has written on it: MARIE TAGLIONI/à sa mère bien aimée. Read the label, people; read the whole label.

#45 cygneblanc

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Posted 17 May 2007 - 06:28 AM

Yes, Mel, when you're saying "in the midst of death, we are in life", I completely agree. Cemeteries are beautiful places where peace can be found.

Nevetheless, I don't like very much these pointes schoes on the grave. As others, i think it looks very creepy because it reminds me the desingration of the body while I want to remember soul. I'm not at all into all these ex votos people (at least in France) are setting down on graves. It kills everything instead of eternity take its place.


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