Adeline Genée: A Lifetime of Ballet under Six Reigns; Based on the Personal Reminiscences of Dame Adeline Genaee-isitt, D.B.E

Adeline Genée: A Lifetime of Ballet under Six Reigns; Based on the Personal Reminiscences of Dame Adeline Genaee-isitt, D.B.E

Adeline Genée: A Lifetime of Ballet under Six Reigns; Based on the Personal Reminiscences of Dame Adeline Genaee-isitt, D.B.E

Adeline Genée: A Lifetime of Ballet under Six Reigns; Based on the Personal Reminiscences of Dame Adeline Genaee-isitt, D.B.E

Excerpt

"GENÉE! It is a name that our grandchildren will cherish. ...And alas! our grandchildren will never believe, will never be able to imagine, what Geneé was." So wrote Max Beerbohm, "the Incomparable Max", of his contemporary, Adeline Genée, who, like him, was honoured with that final and rarest accolade. To Edwardian ears, attuned so much more acutely than those of later generations to the grace of living, such a recognition of incomparability implied the attainment of a high degree of perfection. Max Beerbohm's remark is, however, sadly all too true, for no one who never had the privilege of seeing the incomparable Genée dance can hope to comprehend or appreciate her art to the full. It is only through memories and the written word, therefore, that we today can catch a glimpse -- even though fleeting and indistinct -- of the Genée who in her prime drew, from every corner of the British possessions, admirers for whom no journey to London, however short, was deemed complete without a visit to the Empire Theatre in Leicester Square.

This book, however, is more than a study of Genée the ballerina, although that in itself would amply justify a volume. She was one of the brightest stars of the London theatre for many years before the Diaghilev Ballet made its appearance. She came to London in the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, when ballet was centred at the Empire and Alhambra Theatres, and in her ten famous years at the former theatre not only raised the popularity of ballet to heights it had never attained before but, through the example of her impeccable way of life, enhanced the status of the dancer in public estimation much as Henry Irving had done in a previous generation for the actor. She conquered the hearts of London theatregoers as no other dancer had succeeded in doing since the palmy days of Taglioni and Cerrito; her popularity in England extended from the throne down to the poorest classes, and was equalled in extent certainly by no other dancer before her and perhaps only by Anna Pavlova and Margot Fonteyn since. Such was the affection in which she was held that, when she was on the point of deserting London for America . . .

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