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Clara Webster


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I was skimming a book today by Ivor Guest. It's about a Victorian girl who almost became a star on the level of Taglioni, Cerrito, Elssler, Grahn and Grisi. At least she seemed to be well on her way.

Instead of a certain bright future, she died very early by way of her costume catching fire on stage and burning her very badly.

Anyone know about Clara Webster?

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Are you sure her name was Clara Webster? That sounds more like Emma Livry.She was mentored by Taglioni,who said that Livry danced like her,and was on her way to becoming famous with Taglioni's ballet Le Papillonn when her tutu caught fire from one of the lights onstage.

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Yes, Clara Webster was an English ballerina who died because her costume caught fire. I didn't remember her as a Victorian dancer, though, but one of John Weaver's dancers -- but I may very well be wrong on that. Ivor Guest is never wrong!!!

Are you going to reinvent the Romantic era for us, Glebb? You seem fascinated by that period lately :D

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I'll go....

I love that way of dancing -- I love the jumping, hte lightness, the arms, the soft landings -- you have to MOVE to dance like that, it's not just all poses, it's pictures in the air

God, you should have seen Joanna Berman tonight -- talk about MOVING...there are so many different kinds of movement in the piece, grapevine steps of every description (as glissades, as piques sideways), an adorable combinaion that starts with a petite jete and releves into an attitude croise with Giselle arms, and pique pas de bourree..

Well, I'm NOT really off-topic, for hte dance has a lot of romantic port de bras- not to mention a SChubert impromptu for music -- but the main motif is an arm gesture based on giselle arms turning into arms "a lyre" (in BLasis's phrase) -- basically, middle 5th opens to 3rd arabesque, and then the palms turn over and hte elbows droop.... at hte end, when she turns her head sadly in hte other direction, it looks very romantic, poignant -- not heavy, but deep -- empty armed.....

the very last gesture, on the last notes of the music, she goes to the pianist, bows to him..... the feeling is like that in Schubert's great song, "an die Musik" -- "you noble art, in how many grey hours have you lifted me into a better world......" My favorite soprano Lotte Lehmann closed her farewell recital with it, but could not sing it to the end.......

It's a beautiful dance -- it would suit Kyra Nichols........hmmmmmm, maybe I'm just thinking that because it was lit by her brother, Alex Nichols, who has rescued it from the oblivion it seemed sunk in when we first saw it at the ballet gala, before a real lighting design had been worked out....

But no, it's made for a ballerina who DANCES , who moves like a song.....

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