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


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#31 sandik

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 03:09 PM

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."

#32 dirac

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 04:46 PM

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.

#33 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:38 PM

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.wonderful...acock/pic01.gif
vs. an elegant one...
http://cache.virtual...-Whitehorse.jpg

#34 dirac

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:45 PM

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.

#35 richard53dog

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:46 PM

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.wonderful...acock/pic01.gif


This makes a very effective case for a glamorous creature brought to us by mother nature!

#36 papeetepatrick

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:51 PM

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.wonderful...acock/pic01.gif
vs. an elegant one...
http://cache.virtual...-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.

#37 dirac

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 05:56 PM

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.)

#38 papeetepatrick

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:00 PM

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?

#39 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:05 PM

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...?)

#40 papeetepatrick

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 06:13 PM

: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.

#41 dirac

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:02 PM

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.

#42 cubanmiamiboy

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:15 PM

This is glamour...
http://symonsez.file.../11/maewest.jpg

#43 papeetepatrick

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:19 PM

This is glamour...
http://symonsez.file.../11/maewest.jpg


Indeed it is, this was a genius in my book :off topic: ....

#44 bart

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:23 PM

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?

#45 dirac

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Posted 23 February 2009 - 07:39 PM

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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