The original question is about celebrities who are "seen [to] support" ballet. I've been wondering about what constitutes "support." For many celebrities, just showing up in lovely clothes and walking around the lobby offering photo ops may be quite as much support as they are interested in giving. The relationship between ballet and celebrity -- whether its genuine admiration, mutual exploitation, artistic influence, or whatever -- wouldl make quite an interesting story.
Did anyone mention Jaqueline Kennedy (Onassis) and Arthur Schlesinger Jr.? Or Edward Gorey. You could fill several screens with the names of celebrities -- including actors, writers, musicians as well as socialites -- who liked to be seen at ABT and Balanchine's company in New York.
Amy Reusch, on Feb 20 2008, 12:14 PM, said:
[ ... ] and some major economist, was it Keynes?
Keynes was married to Diaghilev ballerina Lydia Lopukova, who eventually became "Lady Keynes" after he was knighted.
The Bloomsbury Group and its contemporaries became fans for a while when Diaghilev came to London before World War One. According to Lynn Garafola, Keynes's interest in the Diaghilev ballet pre-existed Lopukhova. He travelled to London from Cambridge to see, he claimed, Nijinksy's legs. Lytton Strachey sent Nijinsky flowers. E.M. Forster was impressed by Nijinsky's portrayal of the Faun; George Bernard Shaw was passionate about Karsavina. Later, Harold Action, Cyril Connolly, Anthony Powell and all three Sitwells were among the younger generation of writers who frequented the ballet. As did Cecil Beaton, Lady Cunard, Lady Diana Cooper and other socialites and fashionistas.
In Paris, how about Proust, Cocteau, ee cummings, John Dos Passos? Or Coco Chanel and the fashion crowd after WWI. Picasso was a big groupie for quite a while, during his haut bourgeois period; he went to far as to marry the ballerina Olga Koklova and to dress up quite richly and elegantly for a while. Among expatriate Americans in Paris: Gerald and Sara Murphy, Jannet Flanner, Zelda Fitzgerald (who was inspired to become a kind of ballet dancer herself).
Garafola's book, Diaghilev's Ballets Russes,
is brim-full of celebrity citings and quotes from that period. How many actually came for the ballet -- or stayed after the initial rush of fashion died -- is hard to say. By the way, Garafola is very good in describing the way that fashion marketing -- clothing, perfume, etc. -- entered into the mix very early on -- precursors of the Blackgama mink "Legend" ads with Fonteyn, Nureyev, and Graham.