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Taisiya Nikolaevna Kasatkina

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the attached scan of a Legats' caricature of T.N.Kasatkina shows the little known (to me) Petersburg dancer (born 1872, making her approx.30 yrs. old at the time of the caricature's printing) costumed for the "Grande valse villageoise" (sometimes known as The Garland Dance) from THE SLEEPING BEAUTY in a rendering of Vsevolozhsky's original costuming for the women in this dance.

it would seem T.N.K. was eventually a coryphee in the imperial ballet, but not necessarily any rank higher.

post-848-075153400 1285008313_thumb.jpg

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by way of footnote to this costume by Vsevolozhsky for THE SLEEPING BEAUTY and the Valse Villageoise in act 1, this related costume on one Mlle. Laurence, described by the seller as:


if this information is accurate the card dates from the year before THE SLEEPING BEAUTY and may or may not be a reference to a similar "look" (color, cut, detail, etc.).

post-848-083777500 1305663600_thumb.jpg

post-848-002945200 1305663622_thumb.jpg

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This is fascinating, rg. I found myself puzzling over the many names (some of them rather odd) on the back.

Then, I found this almost-complete set via Google:


W. S. Kimball & Co., cigarette makers, seem to have been located in Rochester, NY.

Would love to hear what others think of this series. They look more like late 19th-century show girls than ballet dancers. Was this a kind of "pinup girl" series from the days when ballet dancers were assumed to be rather naughty? The costumes of some of the ladies are considerably more revealing than that worn by Laurence.

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many thanks bart for seeking these out.

i have a few other such Ballet Queens cigarette cards, but from what i assume to be from other, later, series, and i'm sure your hunch is accurate - these are music hall ballet queens not those of the ballet stage proper.

still it's interesting to see the array of dancers in the card series in your link and to compare the look, overall, and in 'tone' to those of many of Vsevolozhsky's BEAUTY 1890 costumes, which seem in many instances closely related to the world of these Ballet Queens, albeit, made somewhat more formal and less show-girl-like for the imperial stage and its classical ballet world.

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Is it possible that the artist of the cards had access to illustrations from the Sleeping Beauty production? How widely distributed were images from the Imperial Ballet?

Some of the cards are clearly aimed at an American market (i.e. the girl in the American flag costume: Bella #4). But others could, I suppose, be based on the highly-decorated ballet costuming of the period..

All the artist had to do was strip off the skirts, lower the necklines, add garters, and suggest bare skin between the bottom of the panties and the tops of the stocking. The stockings and garter combo was a standard soft porn feature of late Victorian erotica. (I hasten to say that I am no expert on Victorian erotica. However, do remember learning this from an old Monty Python episode. :wink:)

As for ballet influences, I supose Flora, #23, with her tambourine MIGHT be based, loosely, on Paquita. How about Effie #15 and La Fille du Pharaon? And Minola #38 and ... what? .... Sylvia?

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the seller of my card claimed a date of 1889, thus the year before THE SLEEPING BEAUTY. to be sure, i have no way of knowing the precise dating of this series or of this card.

tho' i seriously doubt any wide distribution of Vsevolozhsky's designs at the time.

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