These French ballet dancers all got spanked this summer whilst appearing as Lise in a Paris Opera production of La Fille Mal Gardee at the Palais Garnier. First to go over the knee of cantankerous old Widow Simone was Dorothee Gilbert (centre). Her understudy Myriam Ould Braham (left) was then replaced by Mathilde Froustey (right) when she got injured. So no less than three beautiful ballerinas were nursing bruised bottoms by the end of the run.
Possibly quite literally so. The ballet contains much knockabout comedy, and the spanking is often played for laughs…but not always.
Intriguingly, a reviewer of this production wrote on a ballet website :
The spanking of Lise provoked hisses of pain around us in the audience, and the concern for cette fille was palpable.
I don’t have any pictures of the spankings from the Palais Garnier, but here’s an example from some years ago.
Last week, the elegant Dorothee Gilbert (23) became the latest star or ‘etoile’ of the Paris Opera. ‘Etoile’ is an official rank, to which the most talented ballerinas get appointed, once they achieve a supreme level of ability and success.
She had just danced in The Nutcracker in front of a half-empty theatre due to the transport worker strikes that are crippling the French capital. Backstage technicians also downed tools leaving her to perform on a naked set with poor lighting.
Despite the problems, she produced a stunning performance, and led the Paris Opéra director, Gérard Mortier , to promote her to the rank of ‘étoile’ in a surprise announcement after the show.
Or ‘Etoile fessee’ to use her full title!
Ironically, ballet dancers are one of the main beneficiaries of the “special regime” pension rights that the Sarkosy government is planning to bring to an end. They are using the same argument as the railway workers to keep their privileges: “la pénibilité de l’emploi”, or the arduousness of the job.
The Times wrote:
Mr Sarkozy has promised to take tough conditions into consideration in negotiations. His taste is more rock’n’roll than ballet, but he is nevertheless expected to make an exception for the suffering feet of les danseuses de l’opéra.
Suffering feet, and suffering bottoms too!
And a good spanking is not the only bottom-based indignity to which the dancer playing Lise is subjected in Jeune Fille.
At the climax of a picnic scene, Lise rises up from a crowd of girls, lifted triumphantly by her lover Colas who holds her high above his head on one arm.
The exceptionally difficult move, which was pioneered by Russian dancers, is commonly known as the “bum-lift”.
It can be a rather embarrassing move for the female dancer, especially if she has to perform it with an unfamiliar partner.
There’s also the risk of it going wrong!
In a previous production in Paris, the dancer playing Colas failed to get Lise into the air. The director said that he was “too shy” performing it!
But according to the ballet website, in fact, the failure happened as a result of the slippery material of Lise’s skirt:
It was later decided that he had to be brave enough to put his hand UNDER the skirt of Nina Ananiashvily!
She was smart enough to help him do this trick imperceptibly with the help of a very natural gesture – coquettishly stretching the fluffy skirt to the sides. And there she was triumphally in the air!
What this story fails to mention is that, whilst the bum-lift sounds dangerous and embarrassing enough in itself, the ballerina has to to do it with an already hot sore bottom from the earlier spanking! Oooh! That’s gotta hurt!
I’d say that those poor girls pictured above really deserve their pensions and early retirement Mr Sarkosy!!