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Fouette record?

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There's a newspaper article today saying that a new world's record has been set -- at 38!!!!


I remember, when I first discovered dance, looking in my Guinness Book (1975), looking up "dance" and "ballet" and seeing that Rowena Jackson had the world's fouette record -- at 128.

Does anyone else have any memories, ideas about this?

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Ha! I danced with Leigh in one of my first professional jobs, with Eglevsky Ballet in The Nutcracker in '87 (Michael Vernon in his usual way, called her "Leigh Zimmerwoman"). She was a lovely dancer, but very tall, which I think made her a natural for Broadway. Surely, though, 38 fouettes is not the world's record?

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Yes, that's the odd thing. I don't blame anyone for looking through the Guinness Book and saying "Aha! No one has set a record for the most number of boards carried on the top of one's head while bowling!!! That's how I'll get in." (If you care about records, that is.)

It's just that it's so hard to believe it's a world's record.

Victoria and I can't have, independently, a made up memory of the same thing!!!!!

Where is Rowena Jackson? She must defend her honor!!

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My memory of the Guinness figure is similar, but a little lower. 121. A special on the Guinness Book featured a brief interview with Jackson, in which she recalled the situation. She only stopped, she said, because people were starting to lose interest in the unending series of turns. Now if the new figure in the article were a typo for 138, that would be a different matter entirely.

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Hmm, an interesting topic. Are we going to go further and establish other records? Longest held balance? Most elaborate fouettes? (Someone was telling me about a set of fouettes done by Tamara Rojo, this summer, made up entirely of doubles, triples and quadruples. Heaven only knows how many she'd done by the end.)

I think any Olympic fouette competition ought, however, to have several categories. It's one thing to do your fouettes as an exercise, but quite another to do them as part of a full length ballet. Which reminds me - once, when Matilde Kschessinskaya had just finished her 32 fouettes in some ballet or other, the audience called out for an encore. Kschessinskaya thought for a moment, nodded to the conductor...and did another 32. Then she went on with the rest of the ballet.

And what about age? Peggy Van Praagh (in her book, How I Became A Ballet Dancer) gives the following account of some early lessons: 'Maestro Enrico Cecchetti (ballet master to Diaghilev)had just started teaching in London, so Miss Phipps attended his lessons and gradually taught us some of his method. This was quite advanced work for girls of twelve and thirteen, but we did not realise it at the time, being determined to master everything we were taught. I can remember that we regulary had to do a hundred fouettes on 'pointe'.....We dared not stop at thirty-two only, the usual number, or even at sixty-four. One hundred it had to be and one hundred it was! I wonder now what these turns must have looked like? Not very good, I am afraid, but at least we developed great strength and determination never to give in.'

- Wendy

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