Ballet bends-and-stretches for Marilyn 2

Dance · Film

03_116652655The photos are from a Life Magazine ‘A Day in the Life of a Starlet’ photo spread.

Pictured are ballet instructor Nico Charisse (husband of Cyd) and his keen pupil, Marilyn Monroe.

Writes Joshua Ireland, who shared the photos with arts·meme:

*        *       *

I am working on a research project about Los Angeles dance teacher, Nico Charisse (1906-1970). My best friend in childhood was Marc Charisse, Nico’s son.

Nico was a dance teacher/coach in Hollywood from the mid 1930’s – early 1960’s. He never had a big success (although his first wife Cyd did!), but for much of that time he ran successful dance studios — well known in the LA dance and film world.  02_116652662

Nico’s ten brothers and sisters were in a dance troupe led by their mother, Calliope Charisse, first in France from 1918-23, and then, in 1923-24, Mme. Charisse and ten children toured the US in vaudeville.

Nico’s siblings were well-known teachers; his sister Nenette taught ballet in New York with students like Jerome Robbins, Jose Limon, and Gwen Verdon.

Apart from Cyd, Nico’s most notable protege seems to have been Matt Mattox.”

*        *       *

Yes, Matt Mattox originally aspired to be a ballet dancer.

But Nico’s other significant pupil — perhaps due to her va-va-voom figure or was it her late start? — did not pursue a ballet career.

The photos are charming. Thank you, Joshua Ireland, for sharing. 

2 thoughts on “Ballet bends-and-stretches for Marilyn

  1. Lisa (Martin) Stark Dec 24,2014 12:38 pm

    I’m trying to find former students of Nico’s from the late 50″s

  2. Elizabeth Ince May 13,2013 1:14 pm

    I studied with Nico Charisse in the early ’50s at his studio on La Cienega.

Leave a Reply