Vera-Ellen’s teensy steak dinner recalled by dance coach

Dance · Film
chubby cheeks

Turning the conversation to Vera-Ellen, I asked Joan Bayley who worked with the Hollywood dancer on White Christmas, if she was a nice girl. “Yes, she was,” replied Joan. “She was not an exciting personality, but she was friendly and sweet.”

I expressed my opinion that Vera-Ellen’s dancing is not my favorite, as something feels missing in her dancing. With exceptions, she never seems to fully put it together. To this, Joan replied,

“Her body was part of it. She was just so thin, it was distasteful to look at. Because, the femurs that go like this, she didn’t have enough muscles or flesh to fill in this part, so there was always this big space, you notice? her legs went like that. There was always that a big space (between her legs), she had these little fat cheeks, she hated it, she would even would suck in … Sometimes you see it on the screen that she would suck in.

Vera-Ellen’s skinny legs.

“I would do always do a ballet barre with her in the morning, and I’d say to her, “Did you have breakfast?” She would say, “I had coffee.” Lunch would come; she wouldn’t eat lunch. She had a Frenchman who would come and give her French lessons. While we were all eating lunch she was in her trailer, having French lessons. And I’d say, what are you having for dinner? Steak and salad … And the steak was probably like that [indicates small size].”

Then we talked about Marilyn Monroe, with whom Joan also worked.

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source: Joan Bayley interviewed by Debra Levine, Santa Monica, CA, Feb 23, 2018

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