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nanushka

Dancers' heights — known or estimated

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Until some enterprising and tech-savvy BAer comes up with a phone app that can serve as the ballet equivalent of baseball cards, giving us full stats for all our favorite dancers at the touch of a finger, I thought I’d mine the collective wisdom of the site to get some info on a few dancers whose heights I’ve been curious about.

My ballet-going has been geographically limited and was, until the last decade or so, quite irregular, but I’m a ballet-on-YouTube junkie, and so there are a lot of dancers past and present whom I’m familiar with only from video—a medium in which height seems particularly tricky to discern at times. (It seems easier with some body types than others.)

I’d love to hear any info or estimates anyone has for the dancers below. Does anyone else have others they’d like to know about? (I’m sure I’ll think of more to add to my own list.)

  • Allegra Kent
  • Tanaquil Le Clercq
  • Agnès Letestu
  • Monique Loudières
  • Galina Mezentseva
  • Viktoria Tereshkina

Thanks in advance for any info!

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Allegra Kent - there's a picture of her standing next to Gelsey Kirkland and they are about the same height so I think she's petite, maybe 5'3" or 5'4" at most

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Tanaquil LeClercq - she's slightly shorter than Maria Tallchief who I read was 5'8" so my guess is 5'7"?

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Viktoria Tereshkina -this picture shows her to be about two inches taller than Diana Vishneva who has said her height is 165 cm (5'5") so my guess is 5'7"?

diana-vishneva-and-viktoria-tereshkina.j

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Strange, but Maria Tallchief never struck me as a tall dancer--5'8"- really? Her leg  line was not unusually long, so her height must have been in her torso....I read recently  that Agnes Letestu was 5'-10".  LeClercq, on the other hand had all her height in her legs.....

Edited by atm711

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2 minutes ago, atm711 said:

I read recently  that Agnes Letestu was 5'-10".

Oh wow. Thanks, I was particularly curious about her, as I thought she looked quite tall and I definitely have a thing for tall ballerinas.

Thanks for the pics, canbelto.

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I've stood next to Allegra so I agree that 5'3'' to 5'4'' is probably right. Sometimes a dancer's proportions make judging their height difficult. Allegra did roles like the Adagio in Symphony in C that are typically cast tall (at least now), yet she is small.

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4 hours ago, vipa said:

I've stood next to Allegra so I agree that 5'3'' to 5'4'' is probably right. Sometimes a dancer's proportions make judging their height difficult. Allegra did roles like the Adagio in Symphony in C that are typically cast tall (at least now), yet she is small.

Yes, and she does not look particularly short in the video of that piece, but I figured from seeing her a few rows down from me recently that she was somewhere around there (though her height may have diminished a bit in age).

Edited by nanushka

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Here's another pic of Tanny with Maria and Diana in Apollo. She's actually the shortest of the muses.

1dbb82073dca46157f63b38a628016bd.jpg

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I’ve seen another photo of Le Clercq and Tallchief on pointe next to each other and Tallchief looked a bit shorter than Le Clercq.  

There is an existing thread on  Le Clercq, Tallchief, and their relative heights here.

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1 hour ago, dirac said:

I’ve seen another photo of Le Clercq and Tallchief on pointe next to each other and Tallchief looked a bit shorter than Le Clercq.  

There is an existing thread on  Le Clercq, Tallchief, and their relative heights here.

Thanks for the link, dirac. (Love love love that video of Tanny in Faun that's linked there.)

Photos can be tricky for comparing height, because there's the angle/perspective issue, plus figures are rarely standing straight up, and usually multiple figures are slouching (though of course that's not the right word, especially for dancers!) to varying degrees and in differing ways. (E.g. It's hard to judge from the photo of Tereshkina and Vishneva above, though I think canbelto's estimate is probably about right.)

Edited by nanushka

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Also, on point is tricky, because the additional height depends on foot size and arch.  I remember seeing Merrill Ashley's point shoes in the NYCB gift shop, and they looked small to me for a 5'7" dancer, while there were shorter dancers who wore longer shoes. 

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32 minutes ago, Helene said:

Also, on point is tricky, because the additional height depends on foot size and arch.

Very true. Our "baseball" cards are going to need two entries for height, because of course one wants to know both!

Edited by nanushka

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McBride had such a big arch that she probably gained only three inches on point!

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Here's a picture of Tanny with Mr. B and she appears to be in flat shoes.

george-balanchine-and-tanaquil-leclercq-

I read that Mr. B was somewhere around 5'6" or 5'7" (not a tall man -- his famous variation was the hoop variation, one seemingly meant for shorter dancers). So Tanny is around that height. And what a cute picture.

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1 hour ago, volcanohunter said:

In the press Letestu was routinely identified as 177 cm tall, which is a fraction under 5'10".

Wow! This makes me really wish I'd seen her live!

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On 2/15/2018 at 11:19 AM, vipa said:

I've stood next to Allegra so I agree that 5'3'' to 5'4'' is probably right. Sometimes a dancer's proportions make judging their height difficult. Allegra did roles like the Adagio in Symphony in C that are typically cast tall (at least now), yet she is small.

In light of this comment, it's also very interesting to see her on YT in a 1973 video doing the Agon PDD with Arthur Mitchell.

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