2 3 Throwback Thursday: Ballet Girls of the 1800s | Ballet Webb

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Ballet Girls of the 1800s

Ballet Girls of the 1800s

Back in the early days of ballet, one of the highest risk professions was that of a “ballet girl”.  This was due largely to the gas jet lighting of the pre-electricity days.  The lights added great atmosphere to the ballets, but were deadly to any young ballet dancer who got too close to the open flames.  The long romantic length tutus were a definite fire hazard and many young girls lost their lives in this manner.  A method was developed to make the tutus more fire resistant, but many dancers refused to use it.  They said it yellowed the skirt and weighed it down.

Other hazards abounded for these ballet girls:  trap doors used for ethereal exits and entrances sometimes got stuck or dropped too quickly.  Then there were the obvious risks associated with the common practice of suspending or “flying” dancers using wires.

From the Big Blue Book of Ballet Secrets:
Dance History Factoid #3:
“One of the highest risk professions in the 1800s was that of the “ballet girl”.

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Quote of the Day:
“Ballet technique is arbitrary and very difficult.  It never becomes easy, it becomes possible.”
-          Agnes de Mille

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