At the weekend I was extremely fortunate to have been given these exquisite vintage ballet books from the 1950’s. Basically two of my greatest passions rolled into one – vintage and dance.
Serge Lido was born in Moscow and became one of the greatest photographers of dance in the twentieth century. Based in Paris he and his wife Irene Lidova travelled Europe creating a magnificent record of contemporary and classical ballet.
Since there are so many images to choose from I think it would be rather rude to do just one post. So watch out for more:
I don’t know about you but the dancers don’t seem to display the fragility that modern day dancers do. Now is that because of the way they’ve been photographed, or because the style at the time leant towards a fuller figure or just a different attitude in dance itself?
I’d be interested to know your thoughts?
Personally, I find it rather refreshing. My favourites are the feathered lady in the third picture and the last one. She looks like my mum in her youth.
Thank you for the books Miranda!
All photographs by Serge Lido 1951.
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I used to dance ballet and my dance teachers told me that over the past few decades, dancers have become more and more emaciated. Mostly that’s because in classical ballet, women have to be as light as possible so it’s easier for the men to lift them. And then, ballet has become more physically demanding. Nowadays dancers are expected to jump higher and stretch further than back in the 60s, so they have to work harder to achieve those ever raising standards, so of course it shows in their physique.
And then there’s the difference in beauty ideals. Curves just haven’t been fashionable for some time. But if you look at paintings of ballet dancers in the 19th century, they’re practically chubby! (At least compared to modern professional ballet dancers.)
One of the photographs is SAlly Gilmour in Ballet Rambert’s Lady into Fox…
the last photo is looks like the french actress from “An American in Paris” with Gene Kelly her name is Leslie Caron