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Le Corps de Ballet de l'Opera de Paristinted postcard of posed quartet

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#1 rg


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Posted 02 January 2013 - 06:46 PM

again it strikes me that these dancers are referred to as "Mmes" and not "Mlles" - the card probably dates no later than 1903, or so, when its type, "undivided back," was last used and replaced by "divided back" meaning the address and message were meant to be written on the back as opposed to just the address, with no allowance for a message, which sometimes in this era got penned in and around the photo on the card's front.

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#2 ViolinConcerto


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Posted 03 January 2013 - 03:31 AM

I am reading the new book, "Ballerina" by Dierdre Kelly, and she describes how many of the dancers were known to be kept women, which could explain the "Mme."

#3 Alymer


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Posted 04 January 2013 - 01:42 AM

It used to be that all the female etoiles were referred to as Madame, married or not. That custom was abolished around 1970 as was listing dancers in order of seniority. We don't know the rank of these ladies and the term corps de ballet as used in describing dancers in a French company doesn't mean dancers of the lowest rank, but everything below premiere danseuse and etoile (a rank introduced by Serge Lifar) It could perhaps be that these ladies were 'grand sujets' which would ha ve been the second highest rank in the company and thus entitled to be called Madame. One would have to look in the archives of the Opera.

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