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Looking For Information About Some Dancers

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I just received an e-mail asking me for information about a dancer called Yvonne Daunt:

"I am trying to gather some information about Yvonne Daunt who danced with

the Paris Opera Ballet probably in the late 1919 period or early 1920s.

My reason is that in 1924 she married Allan Stein, the nephew of the

writer Gertrude Stein. (...). I believe, but am not sure, that she was born in

Australia and was Dalcroz trained. She was divorced from Allan Stein in

the late 1920s or early 1930s."

I haven't found anything about Ms Daunt so far... So if anybody can find something,

please post it here!

And it reminded me of an message I had received a few months ago, asking for information about the following 19th century dancers:

"A. Hilariot, Eugene Durand, J. Mathieu, A. Polin, Olimpia Priora, Lise Noblet, Cremieux, F.G. Berthier, Victoire Saulnier, Esther Guimont, Marie Gaugain, Melanie Hirsch, Désirée

Lobstein, Emilie Laus et Mariquita."

Well, perhaps the person who had asked me has found some information since then, but anyway I think it can be a funny game to try to find some information about unknown dancers...

-Mariquita (Alger 1830- Paris Oct 7 1922) was French, danced at the Théâtre des Funambules in Paris in 1845 and at the Théâtre des Variétés in "Les Bibelots du Diable" in 1858. She became a ballet master: "théâtre de la Gaîté, Folies-Bergère, Opéra Comique, 1898-1920). She choreographed "Javote" on Saint-Saëns' music in 1896 in Lyon (Staats made a second version of that ballet later).

-Ivor Guest says that there were two dancers called Victoire Saulnier: one of them danced at the Paris Opera between 1804 and 1820, and another one (more famous) danced there between 1784 and 1794, creating Gardel's "Télémaque" in 1790 (as Calypso) and "Le jugement de Pâris" in 1793 (as Venus).

That's all I could find so far...

Here's what I had found so far:

-Lise Noblet (Paris, Nov 14th 1801- Sept 1852) is listed in Koegler's dictionary (and also in a French "Dictionnaire de la danse" printed in 1964 and in Ivor Guest's POB book), she was trained at the POB school and joined the company in 1816. She created many roles: Aumer's new versions of Dauberval's "Le page inconstant" (1823) and "La fille mal gardée" (1829) and his "La Belle au Bois Dormant" (1829), the role of Effie in Taglioni's "La Sylphide" (1832) and also his "La révolte au sérail" (1833) and "La fille du Danube" (1836), Mazillier's "Le diable amoureux" (1840). Also she danced in quite a lot of operas (Auber- Aumer's "La muette de Portici" (1828), Rossini-Gardel's "The Siege of Corinth"

(1826) and "Moses" (1827), Auber-Taglioni's "Le Dieu et la Bayadère" (1830), Halévy-Taglioni's "La Juive" (1835)). She was a rival of Elssler as a performed of Spanish dances.

Some quotes (author not mentioned) from the French dictionary: "le dernier produit de l'école française, aux poses géométriques et aux écarts à angle droit" (the last product of the French school, with geometric poses and right angled ?), "Une danseuse qui ne fait jamais de faux pas, qui préfère le cercle des amis à la foule des amants, qui vient au théâtre à pied et s'en retourne de même" (a dancer who never makes mistake, who prefers its circle of friends to a crowd of lovers, who comes to the theater by foot and goes back home by foot).

Now I'd really give much to be able to see a little bit of all those ballets, and Lise Noblet on stage...

-Olimpia Priora was listed somewhere as a pupil of Blasis, but I don't know anything more about her.

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I don't know Yvonne Daunt either, Estelle, but I just passed that email along to a historian friend who might.

Lise Noblet I remember reading about in Ivor Guest's books -- yes, so many ballets we can't see! I remember once being with a friend in Copenhagen who took me to visit his great great great great grandparents in their tombs (buried in the old style, in above-ground coffins in a church). He put his hand on one of the coffins and said, "They saw Galeotti ballets!" Had there been a medium in the vicinity, I would have insisted upon an immediate debriefing!!!

I don't recognize the other names in your list -- have you looked in Guest's big history of the Paris Opera?

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Err, I have just tried to edit my earlier post to add something, but must have made mistake.

So I wanted to add that Guest (in his book "Le Ballet de l'Opéra de Paris"- is that the one you thought about?) mentions no less that two Victoire Saulnier: one dancing with the POB between 1804 and 1820, and a more famous one dancing there between 1784 and 1794 and who premiered some major roles in Gardel's "Télémaque" (1790- a big hit indeed, as it was danced no less than 408 times between 1790 and 1826) and Le jugement de Pâris" (1793- danced 189 times between then and 1825).

And I've just checked his "The ballet of the Enlightenment" (a book I haven't read so far but that I should read...) and the earlier Saulnier is mentioned often. Also it is said that the later one had a sister called Marie-Joseph, also known as Mimi, and they perhaps were nieces of the earlier one (and they also danced Calypso in "Télémaque").

The other ones are not listed (but it's probably because they danced in a later period).

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I got a reply from my historian friend re Mlle Daunt:

"No, the name does not sound familiar. However, the Paris Opera had sujets

rhythmique in the 1920s, so dancers not trained classically wouldn't be out

of the question. The leading rhythmic dancers in the later 1920s were Alice

Bourgat and Mlle. Ellenskaia (they are pictured barefoot). I used to know

another nephew of Gertrude Stein, the biochemist and Nobel Laureate, William

H. Stein, but I believe he is no longer alive. Daunt is not in my book of

Paris Opera Ballet photos, but it includes only dancers at least a rung

above corps."

I'd never heard of the "sujets rhythmique" -- how intriguing! This is in the wake of Isadora, I'm sure -- some of the modern dance experiments that disappeared during/after World War II. (They didn't do crossover dance. They used "plastique" and "danse rhythmique" as an accent, like character dancing.)

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I just saw your web site when looking for information on Yvonne Daunt, who was my Aunt. I too do not know much about her as I believe she went to live in the States in the 1930s and her brother, my father went to live in Australia with his parents. I believe she married a man named Graves and died in about 1960. I know from family stories that she trained at Paris Opera and also later with Isadora. I have a reference to her in a book called Pageant of the Dance and Ballet where she is listed as appearing at the Coliseum in 1922 "other visitors to the Coliseum including the Ruth St Denis and Ted Shawn Company, Mme Karsavina, Yvonne Daunt and the Sakharoffs." I also know that she was married to Allan Stein and had a son Daniel. She was, I believe, painted by Matisse and I have just found a site for the Fondation Louis Jou in France which holds an illustrated book dated 1925 of 15 gravures and 2 dessins of "la danseuse Yvonne Daunt. I would be very interested if anyone has come across any further information of Yvonne Daunt.

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Thanks for your message sybella ! And welcome to Ballet Talk ! :)

I'm not sure I can find the email address of the person who had emailed me three years ago asking about Yvonne Daunt- but anyway it is very interesting to finally know more about her and her career.

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