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  1. Right. In fact, today it's the reverse - thinness is one social indicator of class, the thinner the higher, and sometimes even a moral one - fat people are regularly and quite openly scolded for a lack of self-control and are routinely discriminated against in various ways. Balanchine once said, "Tall is better because you see more." Yes, the same goes for being tanned vs. not tanned. Back when most people worked on farms and spent all in day in the sun, being very pale was associated with being part of the upper class, since they didn't have to spend time outdoors. When most people started working in factories and offices out of the sun, being tanned became a sign that one had the leisure time to be outdoors.
  2. I'm not married to the idea that Tallchief was 5'9. I simply used Wikipedia as a point of reference in trying to find out how tall Le Clercq was. It seems to be difficult to know these things for sure. Officially listed heights of celebrities often seem to be suspect.
  3. I don't think it was an en pointe measurement. Here is the wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia....Maria_Tallchief It simply says she was 5'9. She does look quite tall in the pictures in the article. Of course, one could say that Wikipedia is wrong, but would then have to cite another source showing something different. We seem to have digressed from my original question.
  4. Well, that wouldn't bother Balanchine any. Suzanne Farrell said in her book that he loved to partner her in rehearsal even though she was quite a bit taller than he when she was on pointe, and in fact the height differential helped their partnering. ("Look how we fit together," he'd say. Subtle.) Le Clercq was always called coltish, as she noted herself, and she was indeed considered quite tall and angular for the time. By today's standards her outline is rather soft; she's more curvy than you would think from contemporary descriptions. Fashions in bodies, particularly women's bodies, tend to change over time. Pavlova was considered almost dangerously thin in her day, but she doesn't look so to us. A digression: I remember reading that the late Nelson Mandela told a Western reporter that she was too thin, and in his young day they liked women with more meat on their bones. I suppose that was sexist of him but I'm sure he meant well, and it's a remark any dieting woman should appreciate. I like that word "coltish", and what it connotes. It's interesting to me how the preferred female form has changed through the years and in different cultures. Paintings from the Renaissance period show women that are rather heavy by today's standards, but back then, such figures were a sign of being well fed, something that wasn't taken for granted the way it is today. One of Balanchine's other muses was Maria Tallchief. I've read she was a whopping 5'9, so I'd say you're right, Balanchine wasn't bothered by it. I saw film of her next to Le Clercq, and there didn't seem to be a huge difference. Maybe Le Clercq was 5'7?
  5. That sounds like a reasonable estimate. From what I've read, most female dancers of her era were only 5'4 or less. Her "look" was indeed unusual for her era. I read elsewhere that she was taller than George Balanchine, which I found interesting.
  6. I've googled this topic like crazy, and can't find this information anywhere. All anyone says is that she was unusually tall. My curiosity was piqued after watching her perform Afternoon of a Faune. Help would be greatly appreciated.
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