Cléopatre de Mérode (1873-1966) - Film of a Larger Than Life Figure and Dancer on Film

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John Hall
Published at : 24 Jan 2021
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Cléopatre or Cléo de Mérode was someone who, for me at least, has slipped through the cracks in dance history ... I'd never heard even the slightest whisper of her name.

As I've read more and more about her, the more and more intrigued I've become.

This descendant of an Austrian-French noble family was to become one of the greatest Parisian beauties of the Edwardian Era.

She trained as a ballerina, becoming a star of the Paris Opera Ballet and also of the 'Folies Bergere'.

Mlle de Mérode was the subject of innumerable works of art, both paintings, prints and sculpture (such as the bronze by Alexandre Falguiere included in the video), and, later in life, photography.

And if all this wasn't enough accomplishment, she was a lover of King Leopold II of Belgium, exciting public pillory in newspaper cartoons!

So when I came across this tiny fragment of film of her dancing -- shot at the Exposition Universelle of 1900 in Paris - my expectations were high, very.

I was therefore more than a little disappointed by the small impact this for me now legendary character had, even taking into account the inexpertness of performers of all kinds to exploit the new medium of film.

But a little footage is better than none most of the time.

Enjoy!
Cléopatre de MérodeCléo de Mérodeballet

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