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Jean Babilée (1923-2014)

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Just an extraordinary figure--I remember how thrilling it was to see him, late in his career, in a role created for him by Bejart...

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if mem. serves when Arlene Croce wrote about Babilee in his later years, as showcased by Bejart, she noted, as an admirer of his, that the still handsome aging dancer then resembled "a creased Cocteau drawing."

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if mem. serves when Arlene Croce wrote about Babilee in his later years, as showcased by Bejart, she noted, as an admirer of his, that the still handsome aging dancer then resembled "a creased Cocteau drawing."

Oh, I'd forgotten that -- thanks so much! It's a wonderful image.

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I was fortunate to see Babilee In 1951 when he performed with Ballet Theatre in nyc. He danced 'Le Juene Homme' and the Bluebird PDD. I have seen both Nureyev and

Baryshnikov in "Le Jeune Homme" but neither of them had his power in the role. His Bluebird was one for the ages----he barely touched the floor in those brise voles......and

such an interesting face---who can forget it?

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I was fortunate to see Babilee In 1951 when he performed with Ballet Theatre in nyc. He danced 'Le Juene Homme' and the Bluebird PDD. I have seen both Nureyev and

Baryshnikov in "Le Jeune Homme" but neither of them had his power in the role. His Bluebird was one for the ages----he barely touched the floor in those brise voles......and

such an interesting face---who can forget it?

How wonderful you got to see these performances. They are high on my list of my "time travel" ballet fantasies...(Quite a while ago, we had a thread on the topic and I'm pretty sure I mentioned Babilee in Blue Bird at the top of my wish list or near it!)

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There are quite a few photos on the web that show his jump -- impossibly high, it would seem, but not for him. I've read several places that people who saw him when he was young who had also seen Nijinsky that Babilee was the only dancer who matched that great Russian.

Drew, I also saw him in the Bejarst -- I think it was "Life." He was in a boxing rink. He was not young, but he was extremely powerful.

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indeed, the Bejart work was called LIFE, it played in NYC which is where it prompted the "Cocteau drawing" comment of Croce's.

NYPL cat. entry:

Life : Chor.: Maurice Béjart; mus.: J.S. Bach, with percussion by Tom Crocker; lighting: Alan Burrett. First perf: New York, Minskoff Theatre, Ballet du XXe Siécle season, Mar. 14, 1979, created for Jean Babilée.

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In the late 40's we knew quite a lot about Babilee on my side of the Atlantic from subscribing to Richard Buckle's marvelous magazine "Ballet"--- (for me, alas it has never been equaled) --I can still recall the wonderful photos of him and Leslie Caron in "Sphinx".

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Thank you for posting the many videoclips, Amy. I was quite fascinated by the one with the title "Le Musicien dans la cité". It lead on to another clip from the same film, which also thrilled me terribly. He could walk in a strangely weightless way, like he was treading on air. I tried to look the title up, but couldn't find much about it, neither about the film itself nor about the filmmaker Roger Kahane.

Does any one know something about it? Can one get to see the film in it's full length somewhere?

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