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 Post subject: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2000 5:41 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
What’s in a name? A lot if you happen to be a ballet dancer. Many have changed their names to give themselves more marquee appeal. Margot Fonteyn came into this world as Peggy Hookman! If that hurt, don’t read on. Melissa Hayden used to be (egad!) Mildred Herman. Suzanne Farrell was originally Roberta Sue Ficker. Georgi Melitonovitch Balanchivadze shortened his name to George Balanchine. Vera Zorina was Eva Brigitte Hartwig. Nelly Guillerm changed to Violette Verdy. Lynn Seymour kissed good-bye to Springbett. Robert Joffrey performed radical surgery on his name. He used to be Abdulla Jaffa Anver Bey Khan. Belton Evers, Artistic Director for the National Ballet of Canada from 1983 to 1986, adopted the stage name of Erik Bruhn. Kimberly “Ballerina Siren” Glasco dropped the ck from her surname for obvious reasons (sorry Kimberly). <P>Below are some name changers I discovered from <A HREF="http://androsdance.tripod.com/" TARGET=_blank>http://androsdance.tripod.com/</A> <P>Olga Spessivtseva switched to Olga Spessiva. Alicia Marks became Alicia Markova. Anton Dolin was born Sidney Francis Patrick Chippendale Healey-Kay. Jimmy Hicks’ real name is Scott Douglas. Antony Tudor was William Cook.<P>Can anyone else add to the above list? I’m curious whether this is still a common practice? <P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth<P>[Stuart has taken out the repeated edit notices]<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited July 15, 2000).]

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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2000 8:47 pm 
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Michael,<P>Thanks for this list. And wow about Joffrey. He really did perform radical surgery on his name, didn't he? Well another person who performed surgery on her name was Allegra Kent. She was born Iris Margo Cohen.<P>I wonder if this practice is still common, especially given the increasing cosmopolitan make-up of dance companies now.


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2000 9:30 am 
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Location: new york, ny usa
well, fonteyn was peggy hookham. lynn seymour was berta, or roberta lynn springbett. alicia markova was alice marks. ninette de valois was edris stannus. anton dolin indeed was the former mr. healey-kay, but as he said in a documentary once, diaghilev just always called him 'baby'(!). Image i know there must be more...


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Fri Jul 14, 2000 8:25 pm 
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Location: Stouffville, Ontario, Canada
Guess who Audrey Kathleen Van Heemstra Ruston became? I’ll give you some hints. She trained to become a ballerina but grew too tall. She possessed perhaps the best fashion sense of any woman on this planet: past, present, or future. If you could pick one song to define her life it was “I Could Have Danced All Night.” Unfortunately, they wouldn’t even let this Fair Lady sing her song. Marni Nixon dubbed. <P>Some claim she didn’t have to wait for her wings when the end came for her. She had them on all along. We silly humans just couldn’t see them. The day she left (January 20, 1993) is the day good taste on this earth came to an end. The day this former ballerina departed was inauguration day for President Bill Clinton. The day Audrey Kathleen Van Heemstra Ruston said good-bye, Jerry Springer and Pamela Anderson were boob-tubing their way to celebrity. Somehow I can’t envision this angel living in a world gone mad for silicone gel bosoms, Howard Stern, and Britney Spears. It would be just too much for her. <P>The only thing preventing this blue sphere from imploding from poor taste is ballet—That and old movies starring Audrey Kathleen Van Heemstra Ruston (also known as Audrey Hepburn). Sorry but I watched Roman Holiday tonight and got all nostalgic. <P><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2000 9:07 am 
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I thought it might be audrey hepburn, but didn't really she was "too tall" for ballet? How tall was she-she always seemed diminutive to me-or maybe just skinny!<BR>I too have always been a huge fan of hers-what beauty, what class, especially in her later life (when she was very ill)when she worked as an ambassador for UNESCO and travelled around the world, lobbying for more aid for the world's suffering children.<BR>What a great role model and example of a wonderful artist AND wonderful human being..two things which unfortunately don't always go togther!!


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2000 4:12 pm 
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Sorry but I could not find out how tall Audrey Hepburn was. On pages 42 to 43 of the Barry Paris biography, her height problem for ballet was discussed in detail. According to Ida de Jong, a colleague at school: “Audrey’s big handicap for the ballet was her height. If I was sitting next to her, my head only reached up to her shoulders. Tall people have a hard time in ballet, because it’s very difficult to find a proper partner.” <P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Sat Jul 29, 2000 9:52 am 
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Here's a similar website: <A HREF="http://www.famousfolk.com/" TARGET=_blank>FamousFolk.com</A>


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 9:37 am 
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A excerpt from an article about Kirk Douglas whose real name is Issur Danielovitch:<P> <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>From humble origins as the son of poor Russian immigrants -- ``I was Issur Danielovitch. That's a great name ... if you want to be a ballet dancer'' -- to his role as the rebel slave in ``Spartacus,'' from his breaking of the McCarthyite anti-Communist blacklist to his new battle with infirmity, his motto, he said, was ``never give up.''<HR></BLOCKQUOTE><P><A HREF="http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20010215/en/film-berlindouglas_1.html" TARGET=_blank>More</A>


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2001 4:06 pm 
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I read that book quite recently - and interesting it was. Jillana's real last name was Zimmermann. <P>Did someone already mention that Ninette De Valois was Edris Stannus?


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 5:31 am 
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From the world's authority on Audrey Hepburn (I have a 'shrine' to her in my bedroom):<P>She was 5'7" tall. She wore a size 10 shoe (as did Julie Andrews, her "My Fair Lady" stage counterpart). <P>From all that I've read, it was not so much a matter of height, but the lapses in her training, due to the war, that ultimately led to her being advised to look for another career. An incredible part of her young history is that during the years she and her mother were aiding Jews escape underground, food was so scarce that Audrey became quite malnourished. One day, while she was outside, a group of Nazi shoulders gathered a group of townspeople, including Audrey, into a truck to be taken to a concentration camp. As emaciated as she was, she stole a moment, when a guard was looking elsewhere, to dart off into a nearby building. She hid in the basement of that building, alone, for one month. She had no food. She drank dirty water she found on the ground. When she finally emerged, she was near death with hepatitis. Luckily, one of the men her mother had helped was an American or British soldier who happened to have penicillin on him. Thus, Audrey's life was saved, and we are all the more enriched for it. <P>How wonderful it was that she got to be so self-actualized in "Funny Face," with Fred Astaire, particularly when tearing up the beatnik haven with her jazz number. Astaire had nothing but praise for her. <P>Regarding changing last names as a dancer, I have the opposite problem. My last name rhymes with Karsavina, and while it is a beautiful dancer name, it has been Americanized (people in this country act like illiterate wusses when it comes to anything requiring more effort than "Smith" or "Jones")to the point of becoming something quite harsh and not the least bit euphonious. I've given up asking people to pronounce or spell it correctly. So, that is the down side. <P>I wonder what might have happened had Makarova been a short order cook instead of a ballerina -- "Hey, Mack, couldja hurry it up with dem fries?!"


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 5:43 am 
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Incidentally, Michael, have you ever seen "Only You" with Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey, Jr.? It is my favorite modern day romantic comedy. It's a wonderful little gem of a movie, within which is a recreation of a scene from "Roman Holiday." I found this movie to be the only one from recent decades that came close to capturing the joy and freshness of the likes of "Roman Holiday" and "Sabrina."


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 5:45 am 
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Also -- one day after Saturday ballet class, when we all went for coffee as usual, I began retelling the story of this movie, and it was hysterical -- the entire group would not let me stop until I finished the whole thing.


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 9:53 am 
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I’m only responding to this because Christina is a fellow Hep fan with no email. I’m still officially retired from CriticalDance because of censorship.<P>You’re right about Audrey’s height. I did some snooping on some HP websites and they all have her listed at 5 foot 7. In the biography sections, they all said her height was a problem for ballet. I guess 5 foot 7 was really tall in her era. I think 5 foot 7 would be the top end for ballerinas today. Liisa Winkler of the Belleville Quinte Ballet School couldn’t find a ballet job because she was five-foot-eleven. She now makes $10,000 per day modeling as the Gucci “It” Girl. I too have seen Only You. The scene you were referring to was the one where they pass their hand through a magic wall. Do you know if Audrey was a heavy smoker? She died of cancer. Nobody mentions very much of her smoking habits. <BR><P>------------------<BR>Michael Goldbarth

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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 10:53 am 
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Welcome back, Goldbarth. Image


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 Post subject: Re: What's in a name?
PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2001 11:46 am 
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Yes, Audrey smoked, although she tried to minimalize it. But again, most actors did in the 50s, on and off screen. (I remember a movie in which Frank Sinatra is in the hospital ICU ward and his girl, Doris Day, of all people, lights one up for him, and lovingly poses it in his mouth).<P>Audrey's cancer was intestinal, I believe. I also recall that she was sick by the time she made her last film, "Always," playing, appropriately, an angel. <P>She had a rather delicate balance, physically. On one hand, she was as vivacious as anyone had a right to be, but had terrible habits and many frailties. She frequently miscarried, broke her back during the filming of a western, indulged in sweets and then starved herself, and suffered much sadness emotionally at the hands of her first two husbands, as well as her Nazi sympathizer father who abandoned Audrey and her mother while Audrey was still quite young. All she ever truly wanted were children and a happy home life.


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