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Finnish dancer Taina Elg


Pamela Moberg

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Nice to hear that Taina Elg is alive and well and celebrating 80!

Here is a little background story. The then Russian-Finnish ballet master at the Gothenburg Theater, George Ge (he was actually born Grönfeldt, but found that name a bit unwieldly) found that the corps was a bit lacking - which was true - so he decided to call in four Finnish dancers. From the top of my head I remember that he staged Coppelia and L'epreuve d'amour. One of those dancers was Taina Elg, but she didnt remain for very long before going to the US.

Two of the dancers I know nothing about, but the fourth stayed on and soon started the theater ballet school which I attended. Her name was Mila Garde-

meister, but actually she was princess Galitzyn, her father had been executed during the revolution so she used her mother's maiden name.

Moderators: If this would be more suitable in Ballet History, please feel free to move.

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Nice to hear that Taina Elg is alive and well and celebrating 80!

Here is a little background story. The then Russian-Finnish ballet master at the Gothenburg Theater, George Ge (he was actually born Grönfeldt, but found that name a bit unwieldly) found that the corps was a bit lacking - which was true - so he decided to call in four Finnish dancers. From the top of my head I remember that he staged Coppelia and L'epreuve d'amour. One of those dancers was Taina Elg, but she didnt remain for very long before going to the US.

Two of the dancers I know nothing about, but the fourth stayed on and soon started the theater ballet school which I attended. Her name was Mila Garde-

meister, but actually she was princess Galitzyn, her father had been executed during the revolution so she used her mother's maiden name.

Thank you Pamela for this thread and the background. I am investigating the Galitsyn background.

I remember Miss Elg from my childhood as a beautiful princess like woman, cool and beautiful. I also saw her later in a number of films a few of which get shown on UK television.

Whilst I knew she had been a dancer and even though I have avidly read old ballet magazines, I did not remember that she spent time with Sadlers Wells Ballet.

For a Biography see: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0253359/bio

Re: Glebb's "Is this the Taina Elg who played Guido's mother in the original Broadway cast of NINE? If so I saw her live on stage."

Yes it is. See Miss Elg's Broadway credits at:- http://www.ibdb.com/person.php?id=39381

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I remember Les Girls, the Gene Kelly comedy-musical, in which Elg (to my adolescent eyes) brought European glamour and more than held her own with Kay Kendall and Mitzi Gaynor.

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Well Bart, if you thought that Elg (the name, by the way, means moose in Swedish :D ) was kinda European exotic, then Mitzy Gaynor must have struck you likewise. She was actually Hungarian and also started life as a dancer, but I dont know if she actually did any ballet in any film, not any that I have seen at any rate. And I loved and saw a lot of American musicals when I was a kid - they were very popular here.

And to Leonid:- When I was a kid at the theatre school I heard rumours about Mlle Gardemeister - one was that she was Anastasia who had surfaced! Already in those days, my knowledge of history was not bad and I knew there was too much an age difference. However, when I returned to Sweden after many years abroad I phoned her and invited her to dinner. She came to our house and she told me this sad story. Finnish mother and two little girls managed to escape to Helsinki. Mila's sister later died from cancer and Mila herself never married, she said her pupils were her family. Asking her how she felt about the tragedy of her family, she replied that at least mother and children were spared, many had fared worse, and for riches and titles, well, she was too small when it happened to understand that life could have been so different. Yet, I have a feeling that history had in some way marked her for life, she probably had never been a happy woman.

But my daughters, who were very young at that time, marvelled at the thought of a real Russian princess visiting us!

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