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Mme. Hermine

ballet dancers in television roles

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i started to put this with the movies thread and thought that it might be too unwieldy so i'll put it here, thinking of all the times we've seen dancers in roles on tv series as themselves or in story lines (as opposed to showing a ballet film on tv by itself. the first that comes to my mind is this one:

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i was doing class at dokoudovsky's school in new york at the time and we specifically asked him about this; evidently he'd given permission for them to use his name! (i seem to have the impression that someone connected with the series took class at his school and thought it would be a lark, i also think the character is the one that is murdered).

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"Hart to Hart"

HARTS ON THEIR TOES 3/ 9/82

A visiting ballet dancer wants to defect because he is in love

with a ballerina who is not Russian. Complicating his situation

is the murder of his rival.

Ballet consultant Howard Jeffrey

Yuri Rostoff....................Victor Barbee

Zabin...........................Clive Revill

Michelle Barrie.................Anna Rodzianko

Christopher Hawks...............Xander Berkeley

Federal Investigator............Gerald Gordon

Boris Lermontov.................Alexander Minz

Policeman.......................James Jeter

Marty...........................Alexander Lockwood

Vladimir Dokovdovsky............Mark Bratcher

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and this classic, from "the odd couple"

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Last Tango in Newark

Felix and Oscar become involved with Edward Villella, premier danseur of the New York City Ballet, when he volunteers to play a role in the classic ballet "Swan Lake" performed by a class of young girls.

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oh shucks here's another one: about a dancer tho not i think starring one: ballet in 'Bonanza", believe it or not:

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Paul Mandel in The Ballerina, episode aired January 24, 1965 (season 6); written by Frank Chase, directed by Don McDougall

The plot: A young girl meets a former ballet dancer on the Ponderosa who helps her realise her dream to become a ballerina.

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and as a parting shot this morning:

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From "The Monkees" (really!)

Card Carrying Red Shoes

Original Airdate - 11/06/67

Writer: Lee Sanford

Director: James Frawley

Three of the Monkees (Mike is missing) are hired to play for the Druvanian ballet. They are promptly fired when they cannot play the weird Druvanian instruments. A Ballerina, who wishes to defect, smuggles herself out in their trunk. When they find her she falls for Peter. What she and the Monkees don't know is that she has microfilm hidden in the toe of her ballet slipper. The Druvanians kidnap Peter to force the Ballerina to return.

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Thank you for those, Mme. Hermine! I can think of three more, but I don't have the reference information -- just from memory.

Victor Barbee was also in a Murder She Wrote. He was a defecting Russian; that's all I can remember.

I can't even remember the name of the show, but the master from "The Karate Kid" had a TV series for a short while, and there was a dancer who, doing her barre in the park (where else?) saw a murder. They knew they'd been spotted and pursued her. But never fear. She felled them with one hell of a grand battement.

And there was an escaping ballerina episode on Starsky and Hutch. She fell in love with one of them -- I'd never seen the show before this, so I never knew which one.

And there's the famous Gelsey Kirkland on L.A. Law episode.

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Murder She Wrote had at least two episodes that had ballet as a subject, found these in an episode index.

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Episode # 9

Dec. 16--Death Takes a Curtain Call

Guests: Dane Clark, William Conrad, Read Morgan

Synopsis: A special night at the ballet turns grisly when Jessica encounters murder.

Episode # 163

Jan. 05--Danse Diabolique

Guests: Adrian Paul, Marisa Berenson

Synopsis: Jessica is convinced that a ballerina who died during her premiere performance in a new ballet was actually murdered.

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Suzanne Farrell was on "Sesame Street", and "The Odd Couple." And let us not forget Nureyev's partnership with Miss Piggy on "The Muppet Show" in "Swan Lake" and a memorable rendition of "Baby, It's Cold Outside."

This was hundreds of years ago, :) but I recall Wayne Sleep appearing on John Curry's first special, doing a funny impression of Curry on the ice.

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Jessica is convinced that a ballerina who died during her premiere performance in a new ballet was actually murdered.

Casting suggestions, anyone?

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THAT idea conjures up the wonderful Baron Von Stroganoff novels. In one of them The Man Who Was No Nijinsky is done away with by the fourth-cast Petrushka NOT, he insists as he is dragged away, because he wanted to dance the part. No! No! But because Nos. 2 and 3 were so AWFUL.

They don't make 'em like that any more. Sigh.

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And there was a Ben Casey episode based on a defecting ballerina's story, starring Susan Oliver.

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Mme. Hermine, that character was definitely an ancestor in the Heezno line :) They're very funny books, the von Stroganoff books; behind the scenes stories about an absolutely whacko Ballets Russes-type company.

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hmmm. then there's that classic BEVERLY HILLBILLIES episode of December 1964, in which Mrs. Drysdale tries to enlist Jed Clampett's help with the struggling Beverly Hills Ballet and which lists in the cast:

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82. The Ballet

gs: Leon Belasco (Victor Gregory) Roy Fitzell (dancer #1) Barrie Duffus (dancer #2) Diane Reese (dancer #3) Kim Condon (dancer #4) Consuela Moran (dancer #5) Lavra Lamb (dancer #6)

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alexandra, do you know who wrote those books? (they sound like a great guilty read!)

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here is the synopsis for the "Magnum PI" episode:

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The Sixth Position

Ballerina Kendall Chase and Madame Lucia Prince of the Giroux Ballet Company are guests at Robin's Nest during their stay in Hawaii and Magnum's services are 'donated' by Higgins. A number of people seem overly-interested in the beautiful dancer and an equal number of people would prefer to distract Magnum from his duties, particularly wealthy Elaine Sellmeyer who offers Magnum an exorbitant sum to help her. Events culminate in terror and Kendall's Achilles' hell becomes literally her heel.

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Mme. Hermine, these are actually good, so you won't have to feel guilty :) They were written by Caryl Brahms and the ones I know are "A Bullet at the Ballet," "Six Curtains for Stroganova" and (I think) just plain "Murder a la Stroganoff."

There may be more. I got them at the late, lamented Ballet Shop in New York when I first discovered ballet. Unlike Arlene Croce's "Ballet Alert" piece in the New Yorker, even then I could tell these were satire :)

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Strangely, there's a ballet episode of Happy Days on right now on TV Land:

Happy Days

Do You Want to Dance?

30 min.

Fonzie gets involved with a ballerina (Leslie Browne). Henry Winkler, Ron Howard. Lori Beth: Lynda Goodfriend. Potsie: Anson Williams. Ralph: Donny Most. Al: Al Molinaro.

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Get Smart is on TV Land Wednesday the 18th at 8am edt.

Our Man in Leotards

30 min.

Max mingles with a ballet troupe, trying to nab the thief of CONTROL's paralyzing drug. Don Adams, Barbara Feldon. Naharana: Michael Pate. Julio: Robert Carricart. Chief: Edward Platt.

Also:

Full House

Daddy's Home

30 min.

Danny flies off to work minutes before Stephanie's ballet debut as a dying swan, and Joey decides to trade wings with Jesse. Stephanie: Jodie Sweetin. D.J.: Candace Cameron.

Monday 4 pm EDT TBS

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Diagnosis Murder

The Red's Shoes

60 min.

Amanda goes undercover as a dancer when a Chinese ballet star, who was about to defect to the U.S., is murdered by someone who poisoned his acupuncture needles. Amanda: Victoria Rowell. Steve: Barry Van Dyke. Mark: Dick Van Dyke.

is on Tuesday, 24 10:00 PM WPXN

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The Munsters

34-Munster the Magnificent

Eddie volunteers Herman as a performer for his school's talent night. Since Herman has no discernible talent, Grandpa conjures up a pair of magic ballet shoes that will make him a gifted dancer, but Eddie already has him billed as a magic act.

Guest Star: Dave Ketchum

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and The Love Boat:

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Going My Way / Dance with Me / Doc, Be Patient

SYNOPSIS: Flirtatious Doc has the flu and must follow the instructions of a beautiful female doctor; Marcy see's her old partner and tries to get him to join her dance school; a wacky woman has been given the heave-ho by her boyfriend and asks her cab driver to travel with her.

STARS: Gavin Macleod, Bernie Kopell, Fred Grandy, Ted Lange, Lauren Tewes, Jill Whelan.

GUEST STARS: Bernie Kopell, Susan Sullivan, Carol Lawrence, John Meehan , Arlene Golonka, Buddy Hackett

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I remember an episode of Happy Days in which Leslie Browne guest starred as Fonzie's latest love interest. I remember Ralph and Potsie taking her class.

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I'm afraid this is becoming a very depressing thread for me. It was bad enough seeing all this junk television the first time around. I have absolutely no intention of returning to TV Land or Nickolodeon to relive the experience.....

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dirac, i understand and i wouldn't either. for me it's just amusing to talk about, to see how the subject was worked into the strangest places, to see how sometimes ballet dancers played themselves or people like themselves.

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"In The Heat of the Night" had a ballet episode as well. It was filmed at our studio using some of our students (who didn't make it on camera). Ballet teacher with a former shady past was the topic.

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