23 April 2011

In which the Melancholy Swan re-evaluates the "ballerina body"

The Melancholy Swan is currently reading Adrienne McLean's Dying Swans and Madmen: Ballet, the Body, and Narrative Cinema, and came across this  photograph of the members of George Balanchine's and Lincoln Kirstein's American Ballet.  It was a revelation!  Look at their powerful thighs and rounded calves!  The curves of their bodies!

This is my new ideal ballerina body and with a lot of hard work, it is one the Melancholy Swan might actually achieve.


  1. What a great picture
    Love how there is a variety in height, and their feet don't seem to have the Arches Of Insanity either.
    And one girl is wearing black slippers? Like maybe she didn't know she was being photographed that day, and there was no such thing as a stylist's-assistant back then to run down to wardobe and demand a pink pair?
    They look leggy and strong and Spartan, but like maybe after the photo there was some giggling.

  2. It looks like they were in class when the photographer came by and were just posed quickly. I also love how the one on the end leaning out extra far to make sure you can see her face.

  3. Lovvvinnng this photo.

    This isn't really related but I just thought of it: Have you ever watched that youtube video of Anna Pavlova preforming Dying Swan? Breathtaking. I should study ballet history or something. I could eat this stuff up.

    Here's the video link, in case you haven't seen it and may be interested:


  4. Thanks Juliet! It's amazing! I just marvel at the sheer strength these dancers have.