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Marie-Jeanne circa 1944

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I met Marie-Jeanne once, Amy, around 1990; she took off her sandals and showed me her feet. (I asked.) They were long, very articulate, almost like hands, and beautiful.

Let me explain. She was retired of course, and had come out to California to visit her good friend, Gisella [Caccialanza] Christensen. I'd been sent on an embassy to visit them by Francis Mason, my editor at "Ballet Review" -- who'd found a volume of "Letters to a young dancer' by Enrico Cecchetti -- the young dancer in question had been Gisella, his last protegee, and Francis had given me the honor of presenting the book to her. [What a fabulous man HE was.]

So Gisella invited me to lunch on a Sunday and baked a chicken and it was very relaxed, one of the loveliest days of my life. Nothing fancy -- the two ladies were down-to-earth, very easy to be around, nothing fancy, -- and they were clearly enjoying hanging out together on a sunny warm California day and included me in that atmosphere. M-J was wearing pedal-pushers -- she still had beautiful legs -- and wedgies with woven soles (if I remember right -- I was pretty star-struck). beautiful feet.

She was famous as a dancer for being able to move very fast.

She was not tall, but her long feet made her when she was on pointe LOOK tall.

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Thanks for posting this lovely image, rg. The photos of Marie Jeanne in Repertory in Review (from Ballet Imperial, Concerto Barocco, and Divertimento) have a different "look." I've always thought of those as very unflattering -- compact and tightly muscled. The feet, in those photos, come across as steely rather than articulate (to use Paul's phrase). Those photos are credited to "Schulmann."

Your photo is closer to the gentler,softer impression made by photos from Charade, or The Debutante, a work choreographed by Lew Christensen, and Eugene Loring's Billy the Kid.

A question: how is her stage name pronounced -- Marie-JEEN or Marie-ZHAAN? I remember hearing some people say, in the late 50s, "you should have seen Marie-Jeanne," but for the life of me can't recall how they pronounced it.

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The feet do look as if they were retouched a tiny bit to make them look narrower?? But if not, not. She had big hands and feet, as you can see in the photo; the hands are large in proportion to the head. As Paul notes, they helped onstage, because she was small and they extended her line. This photo highlights the delicacy of head and neck; like a peeled onion, as Le Clercq so vividly put it.

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