‘...sure to delight every ballet fan.’: Consuming ballet culture through girls' periodical Girl, 1952-60

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Abstract

This article focuses on the ways that ballet was presented for girl readers to consume in Girl (Hulton Press, 1952-64). Girl was a weekly publication, part of girls' periodical culture in Britain, which was thriving in the 1950s and 1960s. The ballet content it contained was one aspect of the growing British cultural engagement with ballet in the mid-twentieth century. This broader engagement included watching films and attending performances. In addition, for younger participants, especially girls, this may have been accompanied by participation in ballet classes and reading ballet fiction and non-fiction. Girl encompasses all these forms of engagement with ballet through key fictional comic strip 'Belle of the Ballet', photographs of performances, pin-ups featuring dancers and paintings about ballet, articles and non-fiction companion volumes. Arnold Haskell, significant in changing how ballet was understood in Britain, was also involved with content in Girl. This connection resulted in readers having the opportunity to compete for an annual ballet scholarship and participate in ballet lessons. In exploring ballet in Girl, the article draws together considerations of how ballet practice, costume, other media involving ballet and dancers' street clothes were portrayed and the ways that class, ballet and girls' culture were intertwined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-32
Number of pages22
JournalFilm, Fashion & Consumption
Volume12
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jul 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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