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Who are (or were) the glamour ladies of ballet?

99 posts in this topic

"Self-possessed" and "Garbo" definitely ring a bell, Patrick. Diamonds comes to mind: she made the woman into a fascinating, enigmatic character. On the other hand, it didn't work with Tzigane, for me at least.

Totally agree, she is amazing in 'Diamonds', and while musical in 'Tzigane', it also needs someone a little more worldly, just as does the Striptease Girl.

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I've never thought of Pavlova or Karsavina as glamourous. Kschessinska, yes, but the other two looked too innocent to me, while Kschessinska looks born to drip with jewels.

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I did think about Pavlova. The thing is that for some reason I tend to associate "glamour" with some sort of aesthetic language, in which a very obvious made up image plays the biggest role, with no room for simplicity. In that Makarova's interview to Sir Frederick Ashton they talk about Pavlova, and how elegant and sophisticated did she look on and off stage. On the other side, I didn't think about sexual appeal as an essential part of it. In fact, I use the word many times to refer to other things besides people-(e.g-atmosphere, decoration, ambiance, etc...)

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Tanaquil LeClerq is the most glamorous ballerina I've ever seen. There's nobody out there to match her past or present.

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Tanny LeClercq is another very glamorous star from the past.
Tanaquil LeClerq is the most glamorous ballerina I've ever seen. There's nobody out there to match her past or present.

I started watching NYCB after she left the company. Photos -- especially those taken by Jerome Robbins -- convey some of her beauty (inner as much as outer) and charisma. The film of Afternoon of a Faun, with d'Amboise, is a stunner. At one point her eye is drawn to her own image in the mirror. She pauses, turns her head, and looks into the mirror. She seems hypnotized as she gazes at her reflection. I have often thought: "A lot of men would KILL at get a beautiful woman to look at them that way." Talk about magnetic !!

Makarovafan -- do didn't mention .... Makarova! What can you tell us about her?

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I've been following this thread with interest, and have written and erased a few responses, because I'm not sure that my 'definition' of glamor matches the dictionary or the definitions I've seen here. I'm still not sure what I think about it, but did have a couple of thoughts to add.

I do think that glamor is not strictly 'natural,' while elegance can be. (that is, I don't see examples in nature of glamorous animals, while I do see elegant ones) I think glamor has an element of self-awareness in it, that elegance might not, and perhaps that is the crux of it for me -- glamor is, in some way, intentional. It is the product of intervention -- you have to do something to yourself to achieve it. I don't think it's innate, although I have heard people refer to 'unconscious glamor,' so perhaps to achieve it while attempting something else.

Of course, I could be drawing a semantic distinction that means something only to me.

This is the opening paragraph of a recent article on Sylvie Guillem by Debra Craine in the Times:

"Sylvie Guillem is unbelievably elegant but she hasn't made the slightest effort. Her face is scrubbed free of make-up, her long auburn hair is tied back with casual aplomb, and she's dressed like a truck driver. Scruffy and natural - is this how ballerinas are supposed to look? Yet there has always been something extraordinary about this glamorous French artist, and no matter how much she downplays it, her innate charisma can't help but assert itself."

And, for those of you who follow the ballroom dance world, Juliet McMains book on the industry is titled "Glamour Addiction."

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Diamonds comes to mind: she made the woman into a fascinating, enigmatic character. On the other hand, it didn't work with Tzigane, for me at least.

Tzigane is one of my favorite pieces of dance on video, and Farrell is so perfect in it – a very American girl doing a dazzling riff on the theme of Gypsy Fire. (And sexy too – she knows what she’s doing with that look over the shoulder.) Off topic, of course.

I think glamor has an element of self-awareness in it, that elegance might not, and perhaps that is the crux of it for me -- glamor is, in some way, intentional. It is the product of intervention -- you have to do something to yourself to achieve it. I don't think it's innate, although I have heard people refer to 'unconscious glamor,' so perhaps to achieve it while attempting something else.

I agree – glamor is to some degree self-willed. As has been noted above, a woman can be beautiful, charming, or elegant (or a combination of all three) and still not be glamorous. I think some of the examples named in this thread are wonderfully beautiful and appealing women, but I still wouldn’t describe them as a glamorous. It’s a tricky thing.

I should note also that although this topic refers only to women, men can be glamorous, too.

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Oh, dear, cubanmiamiboy, now you’re confusing me. :off topic:

That’s a stunning peacock, although you wouldn’t think them so glamorous if you happened to live next door to one. They’re noisy.

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I don't see examples in nature of glamorous animals, while I do see elegant ones

Well, yes...animals can't change the way they look unlike humans...Still, when I read about it, one came to my mind instantly as a glamorous one

http://www.wonderfulinfo.com/amazing/wpeacock/pic01.gif

vs. an elegant one...

http://cache.virtualtourist.com/15192-Whit...-Whitehorse.jpg

Very good, I agree on both, and earlier today had meant to say that I think horses are naturally the most glamorous of all animals, except cats can definitely be too. But peacocks, definitely, and even more so, Birds of Paradise and Lyrebirds. They have evolved these plumages which is like putting on makeup very slowly, as in eons.

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Ravishing as that peacock is, however, I don’t think it detracts from sandik’s original point, which was that glamor is to a considerable degree a contrivance. (I think one of the word’s older meanings relates to magic, casting a spell, which is what glamorous human beings can certainly do.)

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Ravishing as that peacock is, however, I don’t think it detracts from sandik’s original point, which was that glamor is to a considerable degree a contrivance. (I think one of the word’s older meanings relates to magic, casting a spell, which is what glamorous human beings can certainly do.)

But isn't that what plumage evolution is all about, although perhaps more often in the male in the lower animals, casting a spell to charm the mate?

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And even more than that. Earlier I mentioned that Glamour doesn't, in my vision, always equals refined verbal skills , or sometimes even class . I've read about examples of very glamorous creatures who were considered rather vulgar but still visually fascinating -( hey, and sometimes even that vulgarity, if wisely acknowledged and well worked out would even become an additive instead of a subtracting factor, IMO. e.g-some old Hollywood actresses, and I'm sure Patrick knows a lot about this...Aren't they sort of peacocks themselves...?)

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:tiphat:

And even more than that. Earlier I mentioned that Glamour doesn't, in my vision, always equals refined verbal skills , or sometimes even class . I've read about examples of very glamorous creatures who were considered rather vulgar but still visually fascinating -( hey, and sometimes even that vulgarity, if wisely acknowledged and well worked out would even become an additive instead of a subtracting factor, IMO. e.g-some old Hollywood actresses, and I'm sure Patrick knows a lot about this...Aren't they sort of peacocks themselves...?)

You read my mind, kid. :off topic: I saw Lana Turner in 1982 at Bloomingdale's signing her hideously written unrefined-verbal-skill autobiography, and it was as if the whole room were filled with Technicolor--without the benefit of film, as in the NBC, Proud as a Peacock. She had her hairdresser-escort Eric Root dye his hair to match hers exactly, and wore an extreme black point d'esprit dress. It was a kind of total exoticism that she'd spent her life cultivating, and yes, there are few Hollywood actresses more vulgar than she. I'll admit it was impressive, and glamour was certainly Lana's best asset once she got it going. And this is a perfect example of glamour purely in the service of vanity.

On the other hand, Deborah Kerr has been written of as 'wearing her glamour so easily', and I agree that she is also glamorous, but not vulgar at all. However, she had a glossy look that was not always used for purposes of vanity, so I think most don't think of her as especially glamorous, but I do.

The main thing we've discovered about glamour is that we have strong feelings about what the definition is and these feelings are interestingly rather hardened.

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Ravishing as that peacock is, however, I don’t think it detracts from sandik’s original point, which was that glamor is to a considerable degree a contrivance. (I think one of the word’s older meanings relates to magic, casting a spell, which is what glamorous human beings can certainly do.)

But isn't that what plumage evolution is all about, although perhaps more often in the male in the lower animals, casting a spell to charm the mate?

True, in a sense, but glamorous human being has to work at it a little harder than a peacock displaying the feathers he was born with. The peacock's just doing what birds do (although I see your point).

And this is a perfect example of glamour purely in the service of vanity.

I think that's a bit harsh. I never much cared for her, but Turner was bred to be glamorous by her studio from a very young age and was never encouraged to do or be more than that. Glamor was her job.

And her book has a few good things in it, too. :off topic:

I think of Asylmuratova as a glamorous dancer, with such a dramatic face, although I never saw her in person.

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I think of Asylmuratova as a glamorous dancer, with such a dramatic face, although I never saw her in person.
Yes. I also had this impression a day or so ago when I saw a clip from The Leaves are Fading. In that contemporary dress, with her dark hair up, she reminded me of Fonteyn. The way she moved her head and used her eyes, too. I have nothing specific to pin this feeling on. Just and impression.

About the white peacock. I can't decide whether this extraordnary bird is indeed glamours. But she sure is stunning. Like someone from the Ziegfield Follies.

Re: Mae West. There seem to be elements of self-parody -- or even self-delusion -- in her film image. Can "glamour" coexist with that?

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About the white peacock. I can't decide whether this extraordnary bird is indeed glamours. But she sure is stunning. Like someone from the Ziegfield Follies.

The peacock reminded me of Sally Rand. :off topic: Although I don 't know if Rand ever appeared in the Follies...

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Re: Mae West. There seem to be elements of self-parody -- or even self-delusion -- in her film image. Can "glamour" coexist with that?

I think there's self-parody, but not self-delusion. This was an intelligent woman, who had written plays and gotten arrested for them, only to be inspired with what she saw in jail and write about that. Wrote scripts, had big power in Hollywood. I am sure she would say she was glamorous, and she ought to know.

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I don't think vulnerability should automatically disqualify someone (Hayworth should still count); if that's the case then Veronika Part wouldn't be considered glamorous. She strikes me as someone both vulnerable and sensitive, which only adds to her appeal. Are we looking at someone's stage or screen persona or off stage/screen as well? There are those who project a very glamorous image on stage but I can't imagine them walking around in a fur coat and sunglasses. Then there are those capable of both--Anna Netrebko, Irina Dvorovenko.

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Are we looking at someone's stage or screen persona or off stage/screen as well? There are those who project a very glamorous image on stage but I can't imagine them walking around in a fur coat and sunglasses. Then there are those capable of both--Anna Netrebko, Irina Dvorovenko.

Good point, and to dirac's and my discussion about Lana Turner, I should add that Bette Davis praised her work as an actress in 'Cass Timberlane' and at least one other early picture I can't recall, but said that 'Lana was different from the rest of us, in that she was concerned with her image both onscreen and off. The rest of us were just doing our jobs and working to do our roles professionally within the films' (not good memory of the exact quote, and 20 years since I had that book). I always picked that up about her, and that's why seeing her in person was exactly the same as seeing her onscreen--it still looked like you were looking at a film, and I've never seen anything like this; certainly seeing Garbo in an old scruffy coat tromping about the East Side was not like looking at a film. I found her unique in this way and disappointing in other ways as a result of this--she had little sense of humour about herself (which I think points to extreme vanity), which her galpal Ava Gardner had in profusion, as did Dietrich. But I can easily see Hayworth as being perceived as glamorous too. Agree that some have it only onstage and onscreen, and some have it onstage and off. The queen of England has it all the time, as I see it. I think part of glamour for a long time has had to do with publicity and developing of singular images, so that while some glamour can also be 'secret glamour', as it were, and very obvious to any onlooker just by its irresistible magnetism, much of it has to do with knowing who the person is and the way a myth has been built around her--which doesn't mean it's purely artificial either, because this can then be built into the art as well, integrated into it, even though it was inserted from without. This is what I think happened to some degree with Suzanne Farrell, although she was born with that extraordinary body.

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... about Lana Turner, I should add that Bette Davis praised her work as an actress in 'Cass Timberlane' and at least one other early picture I can't recall, but said that 'Lana was different from the rest of us, in that she was concerned with her image both onscreen and off. The rest of us were just doing our jobs and working to do our roles professionally within the films' (not good memory of the exact quote, and 20 years since I had that book). I always picked that up about her, and that's why seeing her in person was exactly the same as seeing her onscreen--it still looked like you were looking at a film, and I've never seen anything like this

Oh, definitely Lana..! :)

http://s3.amazonaws.com/findagrave/photos/..._1023138229.jpg

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