Beautiful Moira Shearer Dancing in The Red Shoes (1948)

The Red Shoes is a 1948 British film about a ballet dancer, written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, known collectively as The Archers.

The film employs the story within a story device, being about a young ballerina who joins an established ballet company and becomes the lead dancer in a new ballet called The Red Shoes, itself based on the fairy tale “The Red Shoes” by Hans Christian Andersen.

The film stars Moira Shearer, Anton Walbrook and Marius Goring and features Robert Helpmann, Léonide Massineand Ludmilla Tchérina, renowned dancers from the ballet world, as well as Esmond Knight and Albert Bassermann.

It has original music by Brian Easdale and cinematography by Jack Cardiff. Filmmakers such as Brian De Palma and Martin Scorsese have named it one of their all-time favourite films.

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Robert Helpmann and Moira Shearer in The red shoes, 1948 via

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Moira Shearer and Leonide Massine in The red shoes, 1948 via
093-the-red-shoes-theredlistMoira Shearer and Leonide Massine in The red shoes, 1948 via089-the-red-shoes-theredlist
Moira Shearer and Leonide Massine in The red shoes, 1948 via

092-the-red-shoes-theredlistMoira Shearer in The red shoes, 1948 via
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Moira Shearer in The red shoes, 1948 via
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Moira Shearer in The red shoes, 1948 via

 

 

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Portraits of the Legendary Ballerina Marie Taglioni (1804-1884) –

Marie Taglioni (1804 – 1884) was an Italian/Swedish ballet dancer of the Romantic ballet era, a central figure in the history of European dance. Her fragile, delicate dancing typified the early 19th-century Romantic style. She became one of the first women to dance on the extreme tips, or points, of the toes; she created a new style marked by floating leaps, such balanced poses as the arabesque, and a delicate, restrained use of the points.

Trained chiefly by her father, Filippo Taglioni, she made her debut in Vienna in 1822. In her father’s ballet La Sylphide, introduced at the Paris Opéra, March 12, 1832.

In the performance of La Sylphide Taglioni was also known for shortening her skirt, which was considered highly scandalous at the time. The diaphanous dress she wore, with its fitted bodice and airy, bell-like skirt, was the prototype of the tutu. She shortened all of her skirts to show off her excellent pointe work, which the long skirts hid. Her father was approving of the shortening of the skirt because he also wanted everyone to see how good his daughter was en pointe.

In London Taglioni commanded £100 a performance and she filled the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre to capacity when she played in La Sylphide. The Russians loved her so much that they named cakes and caramels after her. A group of her fans even ate a pair of her ballet shoes after her last performance in 1842. These were cooked, garnished, and served with a special sauce so one hopes that they tasted good! – See more at: http://www.lifeinitaly.com/heroes-villains/marie-taglioni.asp#sthash.zwYUhCJE.dpuf

Not only did she have Paris at her feet but audiences in London, Milan, Vienna, Berlin, and St. Petersburg hailed her as one of the greatest dancers ballet had ever produced.

In London Taglioni commanded £100 a performance and she filled the St. Petersburg Bolshoi Theatre to capacity when she played in La Sylphide. The Russians loved her so much that they named cakes and caramels after her. A group of her fans even ate a pair of her ballet shoes after her last performance in 1842. These were cooked, garnished, and served with a special sauce (Source).

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Portrait of ballerina Marie Taglioni

(probably between 1827 and 1837)

via

wiki

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Maria Taglioni in “La Sylphide”

© Bettmann/CORBIS

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Marie Taglioni, by Richard James Lane, printed by Graf & Soret, published by Rudolph Ackermann Jr, circa 1825-1850 - NPG D22015 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Maria Taglioni by Richard James Lane, circa 1825-1850

via

© National Portrait Gallery, London

Stunning Photos of Belle Epoque Beauty Cléo de Mérode

Dancer Cleo de Merode  (1875 – 1966) became famous at a young age. Born in Bordeaux, France, she came from an aristocratic family. Her father was a member of the Belgian nobility and a landscape painter.

In 1896, King Léopold II attended the ballet and saw Mérode dance. The 61-year-old Belgian King became enamoured with the 22-year-old ballet star, and gossip started that she was his latest mistress. Because the King had had two children with a woman reputed to be a prostitute, Cléo de Mérode’s reputation suffered, and she had to live with it for the rest of her life. Nevertheless, Cléo de Mérode became an international star, performing across Europe and in the United States. 

Mérode became renowned for her glamour even more than for her dancing skills, and her image began appearing on postcards and playing cards. A particular new hairstyle she chose at age 16 became the talk of Parisian women and was quickly adopted as a popular style – parted in the middle, pulled back over the ears and wound into a chignon at the back, often worn with metal band.

At the peak of her popularity, she chose to dance at the Folies Bergère, taking the risk to do something other elites of the ballet had never done before. Her performance gained her a whole new following. Her fame was such that Alexandre Falguière sculpted The Dancer in her image, which today can be seen in the Musée d’Orsay. In 1895, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec did her portrait, as would Charles Puyo, Alfredo Muller, and Giovanni Boldini.

Mérode continued to dance until her early fifties, when she retired to the seaside resort of Biarritz in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques département of France. In 1955, she published her autobiography, Le Ballet de ma vie (The Dance of My Life).

She died in 1966 and was interred in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris in Division 90. A statue of her, mourning her mother, who is interred in the same plot, decorates the gravestone.

Carte postale, (envoyée en 1901), illustrée d’une photographie de Cléo de Mérode en costume de scène via wiki

Studio NPG, Portrait of Cleo de Merode, 1903 via theredlist

Leopold Reutlinger, Portrait of Cleo de Merode, 1900 via theredlist

Cléo de Mérode by Reutlinger via blogspot

Cléo de Mérode via blogspot

Charles Ogerau, Cléo de Merode, 1893 via via histoire-image.org

Cléo de Mérode

Cléo de Mérode via pinterest

Cleo de Merode , 1910 via  theredlist

Vintage Photos of Amazing Belle Époque Ballerina: Ida Rubinstein

Ida Rubinstein was a famous Russian ballerina, actress, patron and Belle Époque figure. An idol of the fin de siècle renowned for her beauty, mimetic powers and enormous wealth. She was a significant patron and she tended to commission works that suited her abilities, works that mixed dance with drama and stagecraft

She was born in Kharkiv 1885, Ukraine, but was orphaned at an early age. The family was wealthy, cultured and Russified, a merchant-banking clan that had moved up the social ranks; her father’s title, Hereditary Honorary Citizen, conferred gentry status.

Rubinstein is not considered to be in the top tier of ballerinas; she began her training too late for that to have been a possibility.  Tutored by Mikhail Fokine, she made her debut in 1908. This was a private performance of Oscar Wilde’s Salomé, in which she stripped nude in the course of the Dance of the Seven Veils. After the play was banned, Rubinstein performed the dance alone as a concert number.

Salomé brought Rubinstein to the attention of Serge Diaghilev (1872–1929), who included her in the earliest Paris seasons of his celebrated Ballets Russes. Because of her limited dance training, she was cast in “mime” roles such as Cleopatra (1909) and Ta-Hor in Schéhérazade (1910), which capitalized on her dark, exotic looks and stunning stage presence. Both ballets were choreographed by Fokine, and designed by Léon Bakst. Her partner in Scherazade was the great Nijinsky. Scherezade was admired at the time for its racy sensuality and sumptuous staging, but these days it is rarely performed; to modern tastes, it is considered too much of a pantomime and its then fashionable Orientalism appears dated.

Rubinstein left the Ballets Russes in 1911. World War I was a watershed in Rubinstein’s life. Although twenty years would elapse before she became a French citizen, by the 1920s she had become a grande dame of the French theatre. In 1928 Rubinstein formed her own dance company, using her inherited wealth, and commissioned several lavish productions. Her last performance was in the play Jeanne d’Arc au bûcher in Paris, 1939. In 1940 she left France during the German invasion, and made her way to England via Algeria and Morocco. She later returned to France, living finally at Les Olivades at Vence, where she lived in strict seclusion, reading the Bible and occasionally visiting the Abbey of Cîteaux. She died in 1960 and was buried nearby.

Ida Rubinstein

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 Blogspot

Ida Rubinstein 1920s

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 The Red List

Ida Rubinstein 1917 by Romaine Brooks

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Ida Rubinstein in Phaedre, 1923

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 The Red List

Mme Ida Rubinstein

Mme Ida Rubinstein by Léon Bakst 1910

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 Met Museum

The Beautiful Ninette De Valois: British Ballerina of the 20th Century

A key figure in 20th-century British ballet, Ninette de Valois (1898-2001) was a dancer, teacher, choreographer and director of classical ballet. But perhaps most importantly she was the Founder of The Royal Ballet, The Birmingham Royal Ballet and The Royal Ballet School.

In 1923, de Valois joined the Ballets Russes, the renowned ballet company founded by the Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev. She remained with the company for three years, being promoted to the rank of Soloist, and creating roles in some of the company’s most famous ballets

In 1931 de Valois established the Vic-Wells Ballet with a nucleus of six girls and herself as principal dancer. They were later called the Sadler’s Wells Ballet, after the theatres where the company danced.

When De Valois decided to produce Giselle, Swan Lake, The Nutcracker and The Sleeping Princess in full, it  was the first time classical ballets had been a regular part of a company’s repertory outside Russia.

In 1947 de Valois was made CBE and in 1951 was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Today she is regarded as one of the most influential figures in the history of ballet and as the ‘godmother’ of English ballet.

Ninette de Valois, by Bassano, 25 August 1920 - NPG x18944 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Ninette de Valois

by Bassano
whole-plate glass negative, 25 August 1920

Ninette de Valois, by Bassano, 25 August 1920 - NPG x18945 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Ninette de Valois

by Bassano
whole-plate glass negative, 25 August 1920

Ninette de Valois, by Bassano, 25 August 1920 - NPG x18948 - © National Portrait Gallery, London

Ninette de Valois

by Bassano
whole-plate glass negative, 25 August 1920

Ninette de Valois instructing pupils at Sadler's Wells Theatre, by James Jarché, for Daily Herald, 5 September 1932 - NPG x131115 - © Mirrorpix

© Mirrorpix

Ninette de Valois instructing pupils at Sadler’s Wells Theatre

de Valois,

1931, Credit Sasha cover Ballet Review Summer 1981

Anna Pavlova – The Finest Classical Ballet Dancer

Anna Pavlova  (1881 – 1931) was a Russian Empire ballerina of the late 19th and the early 20th centuries. She is widely regarded as one of the finest classical ballet dancers in history and was most noted as a principal artist of the Imperial Russian Ballet and the Ballets Russes of Sergei Diaghilev.

Young Pavlova’s years of training were difficult. Classical ballet did not come easily to her. Her severely arched feet, thin ankles, and long limbs clashed with the small and compact body in favour for the ballerina at the time. Her fellow students taunted her with such nicknames as The broom and The little savage. Undeterred, Pavlova trained to improve her technique and  took extra lessons from the noted teachers of the day. Many of her famous qoutes are about hard work paying of e.g.:

Success depends in a very large measure upon individual initiative and exertion, and cannot be achieved except by a dint of hard work

Pavlova is perhaps most renowned for creating the role of The Dying Swan, a solo choreographed for her by Michel Fokine. The ballet, created in 1905, is danced to Le cygne from The Carnival of the Animals by Camille Saint-Saëns.

While touring in The Hague, Pavlova was told that she had pneumonia and required an operation. She was also told that she would never be able to dance again if she went ahead with it. She refused to have the surgery, saying “If I can’t dance then I’d rather be dead.” She died of pleurisy, three weeks short of her 50th birthday.

Anna Pavlova, costumed as The dying swan (5)

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Anna Pavlova

The Dying Swan

The short ballet follows the last moments in the life of a swan, and was first presented in St. Petersburg, Russia in 1905. Pavlova performed the dance about 4,000 times. The ballet has since influenced modern interpretations of Odette in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and has inspired non-traditional interpretations and various adaptations.

Isadora Duncan – First Modern Dancer

Isadora Duncan (1877 – 1927)  is known as the mother of  “modern dance,” founding the “New System” of interpretive dance, blending together poetry, music and the rhythms of nature.  She did not believe in the formality of conventional ballet and gave birth to a more free form of dance. She ultimately proved to be the most famous dancer of her time.

Duncan’s philosophy of dance moved away from rigid ballet technique and towards what she perceived as natural movement. To restore dance to a high art form instead of entertainment, she sought the connection between emotions and movement:

“I spent long days and nights in the studio seeking that dance which might be the divine expression of the human spirit through the medium of the body’s movement.”

“The dancer’s body is simply the luminous manifestation of the soul.”

Duncan took inspiration from ancient Greece and combined it with an American love of freedom. This is exemplified in her revolutionary costume of a white Grecian tunic and bare feet. Inspired by Grecian forms, her tunics also allowed a freedom of movement corseted ballet costumes and pointe shoes did not. She was very inspired by ancient Greek art and utilized some of those forms in her movement. Duncan wrote of American dancing:

“let them come forth with great strides, leaps and bounds, with lifted forehead and far-spread arms, to dance.”

Her focus on natural movement emphasized steps, such as skipping, outside of codified ballet technique. Duncan also cites the sea as an early inspiration for her movement. Also, she believed movement originated from the solar plexus, which she thought was the source of all movement. It was this philosophy and new dance technique that garnered Duncan the title of the creator of modern dance.

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Isadora Duncan