ziziI’m certain I’ve remarked before on the mingled sensations of regret/relief I feel from being forced (due to time constraints) to subscribe to the Archives & Archivists listserv in digest form, rather than in direct mode.   It’s definitely a trade-off.

You may imagine my surprise this morning when I eyeballed the digest listings and discovered a brief thread started yesterday by an inquiry from a photo archivist who could not identify the subject of an autographed photograph, a scan of which he posted, as being  Zizi Jeanmaire.  While I was saddened (and even more saddened that the question originated from Indiana University, where Jeanmaire’s former colleague, Violette Verdy, is a distinguished member of the faculty) that anyone was unfamiliar with the work of Mlle. Jeanmaire, it was an honest question.   More dismaying were the dubious sources that were cited in response.

Might I humbly put in a plug for the SAA Performing Arts Roundtable’s own listserv as your one-stop source for thoughtful responses (and excellent referrals) to questions relating to performing arts and archives?

Be that as it may, it was pleasant to be reminded of Jeanmaire in the midst of all the professional musings and announcements.  To New Yorkers of a certain age, Zizi undoubtedly is best known for her role as the flighty ballerina in the film, Hans Christian Andersen (1952).  That film, which was frequently shown (over two nights!) during the holidays (although which holiday I would be hard pressed to remember), was relentlessly promoted by WPIX through repeated showings of its trailer.  But her long and varied career, of course, encompassed the worlds of ballet, cabaret, and the Broadway stage, as well as film.

The above partly-identified publicity photograph from the NYPL Digital Gallery site, may well be for her 1954 Broadway clunker, The Girl in Pink Tights (choreographed, incidentally, by Agnes de Mille).  I don’t think I will go back and listen to the cast album, but I was inspired to check out one of our library’s copies of Black Tights.  Une tempête dans un verre d’eau.

Image credit: NYPL Digital ID TH-23695

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