Thursday, July 28, 2011

Penelope and Sylvie

Beginning dive-sex training in woman superior position

Suction, the cervix and desire:
I’ve written about this before, but not quite in this way. I love wearing a vacuum enhanced Reflexions latex diaphragm with the dome vacuum significantly increased by TED exercises as I mentioned in my July 16, 2011 post entitled “Gas guard tricks professionals use”. I started wearing it with an enhanced vacuum as a training exercise to get used to the pressure of the latex dome being stretched over and gripping my cervix when the vacuum pulled the stretchy rubber into my anterior fornix. Returning readers will remember that increasing the dome vacuum minimizes the likelihood that the diaphragm will displace during dive-sex if the vagina floods while it’s being worn as a gas guard. I had written earlier that pumping down the vacuum was easy to do.

A reader asked if that comment covered women outside my circle of ballet and escort friends who have very strong vaginal muscles. The answer is no, and when I thought about it I think it’s unlikely that a woman who hasn’t had vaginal muscle strengthening as part of her training regimen as have classical ballet students, dancers (who clench their pelvic muscles every time they rise en pointe) and professional escorts will find it difficult or perhaps impossible to totally evacuate the dome of her latex diaphragm. My Gyn who’s patients are mostly ballet dancers and very high-end escorts said that most women who pump down the vacuum of a Reflexions take a while to get used to the feel of the dome gripping the cervix before they begin to enjoy the feeling of security that I found the first time I used TED exercises to cause the stretchy membrane to grip my cervix. And, curiously the feeling makes me even more sexually assertive than if I was wearing an Oves cap.

Reflexions is the only diaphragm that meets all the requirements for a deep water (below 30 feet) gas guard since the flat spring rim will not distort under increased water pressure. I’ve used it successfully at depths of 6 ATA, below 200 feet. A flat spring rim is also important because it is very difficult for a man – even intentionally - to under-thrust. And the latex dome is softer and stretchier than silicone which means it can transmit body heat more effectively, but more importantly for this application (as I’ve mentioned above) the dome can be more completely evacuated so the latex membrane is stretched over the cervix and clings to it like a coat of paint making it very unlikely to dislodge. Total evacuation puts pressure on the cervix which some women find reassuring as it is a sign that the vacuum is very strong. Others, especially women inexperienced with dive-sex, find pressure on the tip of the cervix to be uncomfortable and can’t stand it so a strong vacuum while important can be an acquired taste. The down side of the Reflexions is that a flat spring rim can be harder to insert correctly than an arcing spring rim and a latex device has a shorter service life than silicone and can’t be used by couples who have a latex allergy.

Penelope’s pregnancy: A few days ago Penelope, the Duke’s most recent mistress, came to me to tell me she was newly pregnant. She has been on the Progestin-only-pill (POP) Cerazette that has 0.075mg desogestrel in each pill. She had been taking an antibiotic for a sinus infection and it apparently decreased the effectiveness of her pills to the extent that she ovulated and Colin – my escort who has been servicing her while the Duke has been convalescing and I’ve been with John - impregnated her. We don’t know for sure, but everyone thinks that’s who got her preggers because His Grace, while not exactly shooting blanks, is not as potent as he once was and Colin has been routinely filling her with class 5 sperm on a continuing basis for the last four weeks. His Grace rather than being upset is quite envious as he would have liked to have impregnated her himself. It would have been another ‘notch on his gun’ in a manner of speaking. Penelope said she wanted to abort the pregnancy and I went with her when she told Himself and he agreed.

The Duke had the Gyn he has on call fly out to the Abbey with a portable evacuation pump and I assisted during her abortion yesterday morning. Penelope’s cervix didn’t need dilating and the procedure went well taking less than 45 minutes. She seemed to be taking the procedure well physically, but mentally she was very upset and wanted to go back to her apartment in Edinburgh to rest so she flew back with the Gyn and the helicopter returned a few hours later with her replacement.

Sylvie: As soon as we found that Penelope was going to leave I phoned Tanaquil, the European head of Taryn’s Adult Services Empire, for a suitable young courtesan to take her place and Tani produced one almost immediately. Penelope’s replacement is Sylvie a 23 y/o courtesan and Soloist with the Paris Opera Ballet who comes from a noble French family and who works with Tanaquil. Tani had been looking for a way to introduce Sylvie into the British Aristocracy and having her fill this vacancy as a play-girl during the Duke’s deer shooting party seemed to be a perfect opening. Tani emailed me Sylvie’s CV and recent medical records for the Dukes approval. The results of her most recent full STI panel verified she is negative of all known STIs and safe to play with and she has had the full series of Gardasil injections. She will also take over Cyndi’s ballet training while she is with the Duke this summer.

I asked Tani how it was possible to have Sylvie at the Abbey less than 24 hours after we found we needed another suitable woman. Tani said she was already packed and had been scheduled to be placed in another nobleman’s household where the man is a happily married balletomane who wants a live-in teacher for his daughters with a little something on the side as relaxation during his wife’s extensive travels. Instead, Sylvie being placed with the Duke - where she has a chance at a relationship with John and perhaps becoming a future Duchess – is a much better use of her skills as she has a raging libido and is not only an accomplished ballerina, but a diver and rubberist all of which appeal to the Marquis of Marle.

Honestly, it hurt when I learned another woman was intentionally being inserted into the Duke’s household with the hope of attracting John’s attention and capturing his affection. However, as I wrote in an earlier entry at 40 I’m too old to give him the best chance of producing an heir free of birth defects so I understand the need. Also, if we stay friends and she becomes the Duchess we have a powerful ally in the upper reaches of the British Nobility. However, she was brought in as a consort for Himself and I still have John at least for the duration of my visit. So, for now, since Himself is on light duty that limits him to a bit of oral sex with Sylvie who will be primarily serviced by and servicing Colin.

RH Protection: One of the first things Sylvie did when she got settled at the Abbey was to introduce herself and to say how pleased she was to meet me as Tani had been very complementary, telling her that her reproductive health was quite safe in my hands. She told me she, like Penelope, is on the POP Cerazette for contraception and wanted me to check the diaphragm she had been recently fitted with for upper reproductive tract protection because she wanted me to give her a basic course in dive-sex since she was unfamiliar with the necessary precautions and techniques.

She had been prescribed a 70mm All-Flex a wonderful design for vanilla sex and the most prescribed diaphragm in the U.S., but it’s not the best rim style to use as a gas guard for protection during dive-sex since it can be under-thrust relatively easily and the rim will distort from the pressure on dives deeper than 30 feet. So I rechecked her size and 70mm was correct so I gave her one of the 70mm latex Reflexions flat spring diaphragms and showed her how to insert it and do TED exercises - after applying a gel in the dome to lube her cervix - to increase the vacuum in the dome so it gripped her cervix. She was immediately proficient in doing the TEDs and she loved the snug secure feeling as the latex membrane sucked tightly against her cervix. I told her that Colin would be her lover for now and she said Tani had told her she would be with Colin until John became available when I left and that was fine since it would give her a chance to settle in before she focused her charms on him. I think Sylvie and I will get along quite well.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Pointe shoe quiz July 24, 2011

Who is the maker of these shoes?

The nail pattern on the fore-sole is very distinctive.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Exploring tidal caves

Diver zipping herself into a heavy rubber drysuit

Dive Chicks:
I’m rethinking why Himself, who is known for his bad temper and dislike of most people, was so accommodating in letting Anya and me visit Crag Abbey. Aside from the sex the old bull was getting with us being ‘new tail’ for him and the fact that with our escorts and Cyndi’s he has three men with military backgrounds and who are expert shots to go hunting with as well as his son, John, who at 37 is taking an advanced degree at Oxford after time in the Royal Marines. As I mentioned before I’m having a wonderful time, but in hindsight it seems to be working out almost too well, though in the U.S. Cyndi is my Ward and we were recommended to him by the Duchess, who returning readers will remember now lives permanently on Virgin Gorda.

What got me to thinking about the possibility of there being more than just gratitude for taking care of Cyndi was him asking us, or at least me, to bring my diving gear along. I didn’t give it much thought at the time, but the Abbey is on a cloud shrouded 2,600 ft crag on the range over looking the Atlantic coast so the opportunities to go diving at the Abbey – other than in the heated pool - seemed nonexistent, until a few days ago when at breakfast Himself wanted to know what dive gear I brought. The Duke said his divemaster recommended twin aluminum 80 cu/ft tanks for diving in the tidal pools and caves on the western coast where he has oceanfront property as part of the Abbey’s dependencies. Before he had never mentioned where and what the diving was to be.

I first told everyone at the breakfast table my new modified Orca Alpha 2011 wetsuit because I love wearing it and it makes my body look even sleeker than it is which, even though the body sheath is mainly 5mm neoprene, is a delight to wear. The Orca Alpha is designed for triathlon competition so it is extremely flexible and very buoyant which I find convenient because I dive a lot with twin steel 130 cu/ft tanks which are very negatively buoyant even when empty so the suit buoyancy lets me get by with minimum inflation in my BCD and increases it’s overall lift capability with my gear config. The wetsuit Anya is diving is a 5mm O’Neill. Both our suits have the optional hoods. The only problem with wearing a standard Orca is that there is no relief zipper not that I mind peeing in it, but w/o a relief zipper I can’t have sexual penetration by a man underwater so I had the crotch modified to add a relief zipper.

Cave diving in drysuits: Of course when diving the North Atlantic, even in the summer, you need more than a wetsuit if you plan to be in the water for more than a few minutes. So I was glad I’d had the foresight to also bring one of my black Avon heavy rubber drysuits along with thermal undies to wear under it because the ocean water off the Isle of Skye is very cold. I’m using an OTS Guardian FFM that has the reg on the side and an ambient breathing valve which is great for air conservation while in the water prior to diving or awaiting retrieval. I think a FFM is much safer in case of being tossed around by heavy surf or losing consciousness so I don’t expel my reg.

John is an excellent swimmer and wears a GNT drysuit. He used to dive and play in the tidal caves during the summers in his teens so he offered to take me and Anya to see the extent of them. Anya begged off, I think she wants to get Penelope alone as I’ve seen them looking longingly at each other. Returning readers know Anya is Bi and from the way I’ve seen Penelope looking at her there is certainly a strong attraction between them. So it was just John and I who went diving the tidal caves. The tides around the Isle of Skye have a range of from 9 to 15 or more feet between low and high tides so the caves are very dangerous. John says the caves have been and still are used by smugglers and swimmers even with SCUBA can be easily trapped and drowned by a rising tide. Most of the bodies that have been recovered have been wearing European dive gear and were strangers to the area.

We took a Land Rover down to a cottage – a four hour drive - near a tiny beach on one of the Duchy’s oceanfront properties and there spent the night. The next morning the caretaker had a small Zodiac on the beach for us at low tide. Before we donned our drysuits John milked me so that I was good for 5 or 6 hours w/o needing to have my breasts emptied again. After stepping into our drysuits, before we sealed ourselves into them we put on special strap-on boots over our drysuit booties. The strap-ons have soles that scrape the slime off rocks and have suction cups designed to hold the wearer’s feet securely to the smooth rocks. John said the boots were a huge improvement over the corrugated soles of drysuit booties, but even so there was no guarantee that the wearer wouldn’t slip so care was needed in placing my feet on tide-smoothed and slippery rocks in the caves. We wore no BCDs relying on managing the air in our drysuits to control our buoyancy. That was risky given that we could be thrown against the rocks by tidal surges, but John said the surfaces were smooth so being thrown against a rock wall was more likely to break bones than puncture our suits and I was up for the added risk.

The caves we were to explore were just down the coast so it took us about 20 minutes to get there after we got through the surf getting off the rocky beach. John is an expert with the Zodiac and timed our entrance through the mouth of the cave perfectly so we were swept in by a wave and the light from the entrance penetrated about 100 feet into the cave before we had to turn on the LED lanterns that we brought along. We still had small long-life waterproof LED torches in our utility belts. John tied off the Zodiac to an outcropping and we fastened ourselves into our tank harnesses and fitted our FFMs over our hoods and checked the seals. I turned on the boats location beacon and we checked our receivers to make sure we could pick it up to use as an aid to getting back to the boat. Then we eased over the side and into the icy water.

An unwelcome discovery: John wanted to show me the submerged part of the cave where as a teen he had set up a ‘secret room’ of the sort he said male teens like to do so we took the LED lanterns and swam under a rock wall that barely showed an opening at low tide and about 30 feet further along a ten foot wide tunnel and when the walls of the tunnel disappeared entered a pitch black room where we headed for the surface. I opened my ambient breathing valve (ABV) and gagged at the scent. I quickly closed the valve and purged my mask trying to get as much of the cloyingly sweet scent of decaying flesh out of it as possible. John had smelled it too so still breathing off our tanks I followed him up a series of stone ledges, rather like steps, to a part of the cave that was above high water even during spring tides and there we found a dead diver.

She didn’t seem to have been dead long although the chilled conditions in the cave must have slowed decomposition. She hadn’t been eaten by crustaceans so you could still tell from her face that the body was female. She was in what seemed to me to be an old Russian drysuit of heavy green rubber and one leg was bent at an unnatural angle so she had be injured somehow. She had taken her FFM off and her 120 cu ft tank was empty so she must have tried to breathe the air in the chamber and suffocated. She had a waterproof case with her which I was going to look at, but John stopped me not knowing what it contained. It was at that point that we ended our visit to the tidal caves. The trip back out to the Zodiac was uneventful and since it was at slack tide we had no trouble getting out of the cave and into the ocean and returned to the cottage. As soon as we got out of our dive gear John rang up a friend of his at Thames House and told him what we found and was asked to post a lookout on the cliff above the cave to see if any one else tried to enter it before they could get a forensic team on site.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


The goddess Aphrodite, Venus de Milo in the Louvre

The chapel tour: As I wrote in my entry for July 12th “At lunch on the day Himself fell ill, John asked if I would like to have a tour of the Abbey and while the Duke had shown me around briefly I was anxious to be in the company of the handsome budding archeologist who offered to “slake my fascination with the chapel and other subjects of mutual interest”.

That was several weeks ago when I was CD2 and newly menstrual and his comment caused such a rush of desire – my secondary libidinal peak is when I’m menstrual - that I became lightheaded and felt the intense pelvic engorgement of sudden arousal as my thong absorbed a gush of vaginal discharge. I thought for a moment that my diaphragm had displaced and I was leaking menstrual flow, but a quick glance down at my white shorts showed only a light pink stain from the tiny amount of flow coating the walls mixed with my natural arousal lube. I excused myself long enough to empty my diaphragm of the collected menstrual flow then clean and reinsert it. I washed my face in cold water to try to calm down, changed into darker clothes for our Abbey tour and reapplied my makeup. I suppose it was foolish of me to try and get away with wearing white shorts while menstrual, but I can usually pull it off successfully. It now seems apparent that I can’t when I’m around John.

The Venus temple encounter: It was after our extensive tour of the choir containing the side chapels – small temple alcoves actually, one for each of the goddesses; Venus, Diana, Minerva, Juno - that John took me in his arms and while nuzzling my neck whispered that he would like to “probe the depths of my desire” and I murmured my consent. Taking my hand he guided me back to the temple alcove that held the altar and once a statue of Venus, perhaps similar to the one in the Louvre in the photo at the top of this entry, in front of which is her superb mosaic. I had anticipated an intimate encounter and so had dressed for the occasion in black Wolford 50 denier Marino wool and Elastane tights, a black compression front-closure sports bra for quick access for nursing, black Gaynor hard shanked suede platform pointes and a beautiful oversized Barbour long sleeve turtleneck sweater of sage Marino wool with a waterproof lining that I wore as a tunic. John had cautioned me that the footing in the choir and temple alcoves area was treacherous on stones worn smooth over the centuries which is why I had intentionally worn suede tipped Gaynors for better traction and because wearing pointes show off my legs beautifully and give me more options during a sexual encounter.

The temperature in the temple of Venus must have been in the 50s, but I was panting with desire as I unzipped the fly of John’s heavy cords and gently helped him get his erection out. He asked if I wanted him in a condom, but I said no, that I was safe and wanted to feel him skin-on-skin and he smiled. He was already dripping the clear slippery pre-cum of full arousal. Men can get ready so quickly! Though, I’m sure we had both been thinking about how we would consummate our passion. I lifted my tunic and he rolled my tights down to mid thigh, fingered me and found me slippery wet with my labia engorged and parted. All he said was “Oh, my!” He had me turn around and bend over the stone altar on which offerings had been made to Venus more that eighteen- hundred years ago. I stepped on to pointe and spread my feet a la seconde so he could step between my legs and on my toes my hip height was more convenient for him to penetrate me. While bent over the altar I reached back and spread my labia and positioned his tip at the introitus of my vagina and murmured “push.” My command seemed to reverberate off the temple walls. He gripped my hips firmly and was gentle, as he slowly entered me. He filled me with a single glorious, gradual, relentless thrust during which I gasped and moaned. I took all 8 inches and a bit of him reveling in his thickness and the feeling of him pressing on my cervix through the latex membrane of my protection as he thrust into my anterior fornix. It was the most marvelous feeling! Of being complete, of two bodies joined into a single entity and then he began to slow stroke me and I sort of melted.

I think he gave me at least three extremely intense vaginal orgasms and one cervical orgasm during which I had some sort of out-of-body experience during which I could smell roses (a symbol of Aphrodite) and the Goddess blessed me and asked if I wanted children. I don’t remember my answer, or even if I gave her one. I know he finished inside me because I was draining his seed afterward. He said I seemed to be in a trance for a few minutes after I stopped moaning and gasping and as he kissed me I awoke. John gave me a cup of ice cold water from the spring and when my head was clear I wondered if at 40 I was getting too old for a libido as strong as mine or if I was out of shape. Now, having had more time to think about it I’ve been keeping up my training and eating a balanced diet and I wasn’t dehydrated and I had gotten over any jet-lag so it must have been the combination of a new and highly skilled lover and being made love to in a 1st century temple to Venus that had such psychological and physical impact on me. Even though the temple is 1st C Roman I have been left with the feeling that my mystical encounter was with the Greek Goddess Aphrodite which is why this entry bears her name.

Pre-betrothal ritual: As I was Kegeling out most of his seed, pulling up my tights and lowering my Barbour tunic he told me he had brought other women to the temple of Venus and all of them were freaked out by the place, except me. John said the temple visit was a ritual that the eldest male child of the Duke is required to perform with his women and that was begun when the Laird’s daughter first took his great, great, great grandfather to the temple to consummate their union. Ever since they became owners of the land the eldest sons have only married women with whom they had sex on the altar in the temple of Venus. I made some non committal comment like “Ohhh!”

I’m sure the Duke doesn’t think of me as a suitable breeding mate for his heir, possibly because of my background, but more likely, because of my age. Even if I wanted and could have children the chances of their having birth defects because of my age is much higher than if I was in my early 30s. So I’m almost certainly out of the running as a future Duchess as delightful as John, Marquis of M… is as a sex partner. I think it must be that I’m coveting the thing I can’t have as John is one of the few men I could see myself settling down with and to whom I could be faithful. But as I said I don’t think I’m seen as a suitable future Duchess so I’m sure I’ll never be asked.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Gas guard tricks professionals use

A training set: Gaynors, a gas guard and its introducer

Penelope’s Training:
While our men have been out deer stalking I’ve been working with Penelope, the Duke’s current mistress, to widen the range of her intimate skills. She was a soloist with the English National Ballet before becoming arm candy for Himself and on this trip she has been fucking my escort, Colin, while I have been in the Duke’s or his son John’s bed. While with Colin he has been telling her about underwater intercourse which made her want to try dive-sex in the castle’s heated pool so she asked me to help her with the basics she needed for safety and pleasure during an underwater penetrative encounter

The basics are straight forward and she was already OW certified with SCUBA equipment which reduced the training she needed to vaginal and upper reproductive tract protection. Fortunately I had brought along my fitting set and the spare Reflexions diaphragms I had left over after fitting Taryn’s friends in the Sirens. [For more about them see my entry ‘The Sirens’ for June 22, 2011.] I’ve learned to keep the fitting set and a selection of Reflexions sizes with me since I always seem to be asked by women I meet about how they can go about safely having underwater sexual encounters. A training set similar to the Gaynor pointes and Reflexions diaphragm shown in the photo above is worn during pointe class as a confidence building measure to get the woman accustomed to wearing a diaphragm with a high vacuum in the dome during strenuous exercise.

Underwater sex, a greater need for care: In earlier entries on this blog I haven’t gone into detail about fitting gas guards, who are the best candidates and which women may be at greater risk during dive-sex. That may have led to a misconception by readers that any woman can safely use a gas guard. However, that’s not the case. Fitting diaphragms for use as gas guards during dive-sex requires close attention to detail during the patient pelvic exam as the environment in which the device will be used is far more hostile than encountered during regular PVI on the surface. A careful check of the vaginal walls for growths, scar tissue or genetic irregularities that could prevent the rim from sealing properly is critical because it is essential that the dome develop a strong vacuum to hold the device securely in place over the cervix while the wearer is aroused underwater.

Vaginal flooding: The best fit of a diaphragm is the largest size that is comfortable to wear when not aroused. The sign of a good fit is a vacuum in the dome so strong that it is difficult for the wearer to break the seal to remove it. The left end of the introducer shown in the photo accompanying this entry can be used to insert between the vaginal wall and the rim as an aid to help break the seal of a diaphragm with a very strong vacuum in the dome. The ability to create a seal and vacuum strong enough that the dome will not displace even when the vagina floods is something that a significant percentage of the escorts who want to offer dive-sex as a service can’t manage because of irregularities in their vaginal walls and as a result if they offer dive-sex they are at considerable personal risk of PID or an embolism.

Returning readers will remember that a strong vacuum is needed to hold the diaphragm correctly in place when the wearer is fully aroused because the anterior rim is out of her pubic notch and is adhering to the anterior vaginal wall by the grip of the vaginal muscles and the vacuum in the dome. This is extremely important during dive-sex because of the likelihood of her vagina flooding especially during pool or open water encounters where the wearer’s body is rotating so that the opening of her vagina is pointing toward the surface at times during the encounter.

If the vagina floods and the vacuum isn’t very strong that could lead to the dome of her diaphragm displacing and flooding as well. So teaching a woman who wants to use her diaphragm as a gas guard ‘Totally Evacuated Dome (TED) exercises’ is important. It’s easy to increase the vacuum by squatting and pushing down forcing the cervix toward the entrance to the vagina to totally evacuate the dome so (TED) exercises are an important part of dive-sex training.

As I’ve written elsewhere in this blog the only diaphragm that meets all the requirements of a deep water gas guard is the Reflexions latex flat spring device. A flat spring rim is important because it is not only very difficult for a man to under-thrust, but is the only rim style that will not distort due to water pressure on dives deeper than 10 meters. Additionally the latex dome is softer and stretchier than silicone which means it can transmit body heat more effectively, but more importantly for this application the dome can be more completely evacuated so the latex membrane is stretched over the cervix and clings to it like a coat of paint. Total evacuation puts pressure on the cervix which some women find reassuring as it is a sign that the vacuum is very strong. Others find pressure on the tip of the cervix to be uncomfortable and can’t stand it so a strong vacuum while important can be an acquired taste. The down side of the Reflexions is that a flat spring rim can be harder to insert correctly than an arcing spring rim and a latex device has a shorter service life than silicone and can’t be used by couples who have a latex allergy.

Lubrication: It is vital for the woman’s reproductive health and comfort that she use a thick silicone gel as a waterproof vaginal lube to coat her delicate tissues during an underwater penetrative encounter. For this we are using DiveGel+ a reformulation of an industrial silicone base bearing lube to which has been added a biocide. The biocide is necessary to reduce the likelihood of STIs because the male partner can’t wear a condom during dive-sex. There is the option of using a female condom inserted prior to entering the water, but the esthetics of FC use prevents it from being a frequently used alternative. Usually a 10ml prefilled applicator of DiveGel+ in the vagina is sufficient for an interval of several hours. A small amount of DiveGel is also applied to the inside of the dome of the diaphragm to lubricate the cervix when the vacuum stretches the latex membrane over the cervix.

Penelope’s dive-sex encounters: I’m pleased to say that Penelope’s pelvic anatomy is ideal for wearing a Reflexions and she easily adapted to the subtleties of insertion and the TED exercises to pump down the vacuum in the dome. She also found the sensation of the latex dome gripping her cervix as reassuring so it seems she is an excellent candidate for effective gas guard use. She and Colin have been in the castle pool frequently in the last few days as she gains experience with her new skill.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Jill’s World’s two year anniversary

The two year anniversary of Jill’s World

A belated celebration: This blog, Jill’s World, was two years old on May 30, 2011. Sigh! Late to my own party! (blushing) But still, I’m having a wonderful time! Time passes so quickly when you’re having fun.

I’d like to thank all my readers and especially the friends who have commented with compliments and criticisms. Some who have followed my career on Yahoo 360 and then moved with me to Blogger were Paul D and Eric with whom I’m BFF. Then there are the mysterious Jack, JJ, Paul S, balletlover and others as well as the prolific ‘anonymous’.

To all my readers my friends Anya, Taryn, Cyndi and I extend best wishes for good health and happiness and hope you will join us in raising a glass of virtual Champaign to toast the occasion.

Roland Petit’s Telegraph Obit

Roland Petit and Cyd Charisse in Black Tights 1960

This obit provides a more European perspective on RP’s life.

The Telegraph
Wednesday 13 July, 2011
Theatre Obituaries

Roland Petit

Roland Petit, the choreographer who died on July 10 aged 87, was France's major creative figure in post-war ballet, responsible for defining a new French chic and erotic frankness in dance, typified above all by his wife, the glamorous star Zizi Jeanmaire. He was also probably the favorite choreographer of the world's greatest ballerinas.

An outstanding classical dancer as a youth, Roland Petit swiftly decided on a career as a rebel against the traditionalism of the Paris Opera Ballet, and before the age of 25 had created two of his most iconic ballets, Le Jeune Homme et la mort and Carmen, with the sultry young Jeanmaire as the lethal female destroying a hapless male in both.

These ballets caused a sensation worldwide and Petit and Jeanmaire swiftly became the most exciting names in French dance, closely associating with Jean Cocteau, Edith Piaf, Yves Montand and the new intellectuals of Left Bank Paris.

However Petit was also wooing Margot Fonteyn, prima ballerina of Sadler's Wells Ballet, with whom he was having an affair. Fonteyn had cosmetic surgery to shorten her nose at his suggestion (though the operation was redone in London). When still in her twenties, she seriously considered leaving London to join him in Paris, which prompted his other mistress, Jeanmaire, to issue him with an ultimatum.

To reassure Jeanmaire, Petit created Carmen, an encapsulation of Bizet's opera in ballet, which premiered in 1949 at the Prince's Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, and became an instant world hit. Jeanmaire bobbed her hair short and wore a scant black corset, which, coupled with the candid seductiveness of her pas de deux with Petit, caused both shock and delight among the crowds who rushed to see it. One observer commented that he could see men's trouser buttons popping during the performance.

But the leading English choreographer, Frederick Ashton, then developing into a classical dancemaker of genius at Covent Garden, mourned that he would be seen as out of date.

Fonteyn herself soon decided that a Parisian ballet life with Petit would be more about style and short-term effects than about durably challenging choreography, and she resumed her career with the Sadler's Wells Ballet.

Petit and Renée Jeanmaire married in 1954, and the choreographer reinvented her as "Zizi", one of the immortal icons of Parisian nightlife.

Roland Petit was born on January 13 1924 in Villemomble, a Paris suburb, the elder son of a French café owner and an Italian shoemaker. His mother, Rose Repetto, would leave to set up the Repetto dance shoe business, now an international concern. His father,

Edmond Petit, encouraged his young son in dance lessons and at just 16 he was accepted by the Paris Opera Ballet, then suffering the first straits of the Second World War.

Fast-tracked as a soloist by the director Serge Lifar (Diaghilev's last protégé) the teenager was much influenced by the cosmopolitan artistic intellectualism erupting in wartime Paris, and was taken under the wing of two leading Diaghilev associates, Jean Cocteau and Boris Kochno.

At the end of the war, aged 21 and with backing from his father, Petit founded the anti-establishment Les Ballets des Champs-Elysées, taking two unorthodox but brilliant young dancers with him, Jean Babilée and Renée Jeanmaire, who would become icons of the new French dance.

Petit reinvented the suffering, virginal ballerina as a provocative, irresistible femme fatale of the modern day. His post-war works remain some of his most enduring, Les Forains, Le Jeune Homme et la mort (for Babilée), Les demoiselles de la nuit (for Fonteyn in Paris), Carmen, Le Loup, Cyrano de Bergerac and Notre-Dame de Paris, boldly theatrical in design, all recently performed by Paris Opera Ballet and the Bolshoi Ballet among other companies.

When Petit and Jeanmaire toured the Ballets de Paris to Hollywood in 1955 his charm conquered Elizabeth Taylor and Rita Hayworth, among others. Showered with Hollywood invitations, to Jeanmaire's chagrin he chose a younger lookalike, Leslie Caron, to be the lead in his 1955 Fred Astaire musical Daddy Long Legs. He also choreographed the films Hans Christian Andersen with Danny Kaye and Zizi Jeanmaire, The Glass Slipper, again for Caron, and Folies-Bergère, with Jeanmaire and Eddie Constantine.

He made the film Black Tights (1960) to show Zizi Jeanmaire's magnetic balletic gifts alongside Cyd Charisse and Moira Shearer, but he now set about reinventing the Paris revue around his wife, exploring new levels of luxury and sophistication for her many talents. Not only did Jeanmaire dance like an angel in any style, dressed flamboyantly (and sometimes minimally) by costumiers such as Erté, but she possessed an alluring singing voice and a worldly verbal wit that sold countless records.

They became the power couple of Sixties Parisian cultural life, wearing Yves Saint Laurent and collaborating with Andy Warhol.

Petit briefly returned to his alma mater, the Paris Opera Ballet, as director in 1970, but quit after a few months to buy the Casino de Paris specifically to feature Zizi in a supercharged new kind of music-hall, which flourished for five years.

In 1972 he took up leadership of the Ballet de Marseille, to which for the next 25 years the world's major ballerinas beat a trail, Maya Plisetskaya, Natalia Makarova, Alessandra Ferri and Altynai Asylmuratova among them, seeking to dance his flagrantly attractive female roles.

Meanwhile his early ballets proved a magnet for the great male ballet stars of the 1970s. Rudolf Nureyev and Mikhail Baryshnikov filmed Le Jeune Homme and Carmen, each partnering the evergreen Jeanmaire. Later Petit would choreograph for Baryshnikov's 1985 feature film White Nights.

In Britain, however, Roland Petit remained derided as a showman, compared unfavorably with the Royal Ballet's choreographers Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. Petit created three ballets for Covent Garden, the slight Ballabile (1950), and two late Fonteyn-Nureyev vehicles, a pop-art Paradise Lost (which Mick Jagger loved) and a Pelléas et Mélisande, both of which were given discouraging critical receptions.

English National Ballet offers a rare British viewing of his more durable works, Carmen, Le Jeune Homme et la mort and L'Arlèsienne, at the London Coliseum next week, which Petit was overseeing when he died at home in Geneva.

Among his unusual ventures were the only ballet Orson Wells ever devised, The Lady in the Ice (1953, London), a 1972 Pink Floyd ballet and a Swan Lake with male swans (1998).

Among his many honours, Roland Petit was a Commander of the Légion d'honneur and a Commander of the French Order of Merit. His wife, now 87, and their daughter, Valentine Petit, survive him.

Deer stalking, Crag Abbey and the heir

A red deer stag

Deer Stalking: The Duke, Cyndi’s grandfather, invited us all to one of his hunting lodges in the Scottish highlands for a few days of deer stalking, what we call hunting in the U.S. Deer stalking is primarily a male sport, but I think he offered because he knew from an earlier conversation that I want to see his hunting lodge and he would have me where I couldn’t easily escape his amorous attention. I know that sounds conceited of me to say that, but he told me as much when he said it was extremely isolated and was I sure I wouldn’t mind being with him for that length of time. I asked him straight out what about his mistress, Penelope, and he said she would have to make do with my escort, Colin, for the time we were all at Crag Abbey, the 13th century ruin parts of which he converted to a hunting lodge. Cyndi said Red deer stags come in season on July 1st in Scotland, but a detail like didn’t stop the Duke from stalking on his own land. She said he routinely takes high profile guests hunting regardless of the season if there are quality animals to shoot. So, for the past several weeks Anya, Cyndi and I and our men have been enjoying more of the hospitality of the Duke. He was looking forward to some company in the field, especially of men with military backgrounds who understand that silence is a hunter’s friend and don’t need to carry on conversations while stalking. He also wants companions who are good shots as it’s a terrible bother to send a guide out to track and kill a wounded buck that got away because of a poorly placed shot.

The heir: His Grace’s son, John, Marquis of M …, who at 37 is taking an advanced degree in archeology at Oxford after years as an officer in the Royal Marines, joined us at Crag Abbey for deer stalking. His arrival was a surprise to all but his father and he is gorgeous! He has a beautiful hard body, is quite strong, has a great sense of humor, is an expert shot and is amazing in bed. Not necessarily in that order. After my last three hour session with his Grace (which, as this is written, was more than a week ago) he had to take a nitro tablet under his tongue and finally realized he has to reduce his bedroom athletics a bit, at least with me. And quite rightly I think since I clearly remember the Duchesses caution to me about not killing him during sex. That has left Penelope, his mistress, still with Colin, who is nominally my escort for our stay at the Abbey. So I became the intimate partner of Lord John who hadn’t brought a girlfriend with him. At lunch on the day Himself fell ill, John asked if I would like to have a tour of the Abbey and while the Duke had shown me around briefly I was anxious to be in the company of the handsome budding archeologist who offered to “slake my fascination with the chapel and other subjects of mutual interest”. In a later entry I will write more about my tour of the Abbey with John and especially the early Roman temple(s) over which the chapel was built.

Hunting rifles: Several years ago His Grace bought four hunting rifles from a London gun maker, J. Roberts & Son (Gunmakers) Ltd. He bought J. Rigby mountain rifles with 26 inch barrels bored for a 7x64 Brenneke cartridge that fires a 154 grain bullet at 2,900 FPS. All have Zeiss 3x12 VARI telescopic sights. One of the Rigbys is crafted as a left hand rifle to his Grace’s personal specifications and three have standard right hand actions for guests who didn’t bring their own rifles. His son, John, the Marquis, Fiona’s brother and Cyndi’s Uncle who will eventually inherit the Duchy, bought a similar left hand action Rigby 7x64 Brenneke. The first day we were here His Grace took the men out to a small range to let them fire the Rigbys to check the zeros and see what firing them was like. His gillies had been spotting deer during the previous week knowing that Himself was having guests to hunt and said they had found some lovely bucks. The five men have been out most days stalking and have had great results. The meat that doesn’t go to the Duke’s table is distributed to the villagers who work at the Abbey so none goes to waste. On the coast and in the valleys the temperature has been in the 60s (Fahrenheit) and at the Abbey the temp has been in the 50s and is often shrouded in low clouds in the mornings. So for us girls tights and legwarmers under jeans as well as anoraks are needed if we go out on the terraces and ramparts.

Crag Abbey: Begun by the Benedictines in the early 12th century as a place of refuge and contemplation it was overrun in the mid 13th C by the local Clan whose Laird then added greatly to its fortification. Built over a natural spring of fresh water the Abbey was never again captured by force, but due to its isolation its occupants were either starved into surrendering or it was bypassed. One of the Dukes ancestors came by the Abbey and the thousands of hectares surrounding it as part of the marriage settlement when he married the Laird’s only daughter. Even so an English Duke owning Scottish land has never set well with the local population even though the family has owned the Scottish estate for several hundred years and the surrounding villages are dependent on the estate for their livelihoods. So the estate agent has been instructed to go out of his way to get along with the villagers and surrounding landowners and (according to the Duke) that has significantly reduced any local discontent. Much of the fabric of the Abbey was left to deteriorate over the centuries, but the present Duke and his father before him reclaimed and refurbished a range of apartments and the original chapel which contains the Roman temples. From the upper stories the apartments have splendid views of the surrounding mountains and lochs and when the weather is clear even views of the Atlantic in the distance. In recent years the Abbey has been fitted out with modern conveniences and there is a large generator to power them all. Located in the mountains of Western Scotland the Abbey gets heavy rains from weather systems coming off the Atlantic and even in mid-summer the weather can be cold and damp since at the elevation of 2600 feet the Abbey is often in the clouds for days at a time. So the many fireplaces are kept lit throughout the year since central heating, while available, is insufficient to thoroughly warm the stone of the walls, even though tapestries cover the walls to insulate the rooms from most of the chill.

The Roman Empire and the Abbey: It was while at Ascot hearing the Duke talk about the Roman iconography in the chapel that caused me to ask Himself if I could see the chapel and hunting lodge. I was particularly interested in the mosaic images of Roman Goddesses in the floor of the chapel which is the part of the abbey that was the least damaged by neglect over the centuries. The part that archeologists have found puzzling is that the mosaics appear to be of Roman origin perhaps of the 1st or 2nd centuries CE, long before Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire. There are representations of four powerful Roman Goddesses; Venus, Diana, Minerva, and Juno, which together are said to be unique. The Abbey wasn’t founded until the 12th C and none of the founding documents of the Abbey exist to tell us why it was built directly over an earlier Pagan holy site, but it probably had to do with the location of the spring and in order to co-opt the beliefs of the local population in order to convert them to Christianity as was done with placing Christmas near the Winter Solstice to appease the Celts etc. That seems to have been what happened, but why the pagan mosaics weren’t destroyed or paved over by the Benedictines is a puzzle. During the Roman occupation of the Britain tribes from Scandinavia were actively raiding coastal communities in the British Isles so perhaps the original site was a mountain sanctuary from Scandinavian raiders of the time. The site hasn’t been the subject of proper scholarly study so this is mostly conjecture by the Duke.

The Abbey is far north of the Antonine Wall, a stone and turf fortification built by the Romans across what is now the Central Belt of Scotland, between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde (just north of Glasgow and Edinburgh). Construction began in AD 142 at the order of Emperor Antoninus Pius and the barrier represented the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire. So perhaps they had outposts in the hills along the coast and pulled back to a more defensable position when the wall was completed.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Roland Petit, Choreographer, Dies at 87

Zizi Jeanmaire and Roland Petit in Carmen

The New York Times
July 10, 2011

Roland Petit, Choreographer, Dies at 87; Conquered Ballet Taboos and Hollywood

Roland Petit, France’s leading choreographer after World War II, who swept away time-honored ballet taboos and whose mix of entertainment and art also made his work popular in Hollywood, died Sunday in Geneva. He was 87 and had lived in Switzerland for more than a decade.

His death was reported by his wife, the ballerina Zizi Jeanmaire, the Paris Opera Ballet said.

Although Mr. Petit choreographed cheerful films like “Hans Christian Andersen” with Danny Kaye, sex and suffering were the themes of the two early ballets that became his international signature pieces: “Carmen” and “Le Jeune Homme et la Mort.”

Mr. Petit stunned dance and theater audiences in London in New York in 1949 with a frank new eroticism in his ballet version of “Carmen.” Renée (later Zizi) Jeanmaire was the femme fatale in a short tunic and a gamine hairdo who seduced Mr. Petit, as Don José, in an acrobatic duet on the floor. The headline of the positive review by The New York Herald Tribune’s dance critic, Walter Terry, read “Sex and More Sex.”

John Martin, the critic for The New York Times, was less impressed. “Passion and the classical pas de deux are poles apart,” he wrote.

“Carmen” might have been directly accessible in its stylized realism. But Mr. Petit, a dancer as well as a choreographer, displayed a deeper side in his 1946 masterpiece, “Le Jeune Homme et la Mort” (“The Young Man and Death”). Here, he showed the resonant poetic dimension seen in the pieces in which he collaborated with some of France’s major writers, poets, composers and visual artists.

For “Le Jeune Homme,” Jean Cocteau devised a scenario about a bohemian painter in his garret, ostensibly waiting for his sweetheart but eventually embroiled in an existential battle for survival. Jean Babilée, that ballet’s unforgettable star (who also contributed some of the choreography), smoked a real cigarette onstage on a real bed, looked at his real watch and kicked real furniture around before engaging in a violent confrontation with his girlfriend.

The painter hanged himself in despair and his lover revealed herself as an allegorical figure of death before leading the antihero across a surreal rooftop panorama of Paris. Cocteau’s typical touch of the mythic made commonplace fused wonderfully with Petit’s naturalism (as opposed to realism) and use of ballet bravura.

A metaphor for postwar disillusion, the ballet struck a nerve in Europe but also impressed in New York when Ballet Theater presented it in 1951, with Mr. Babilée and Nathalie Philippart.

But it was also an experimental, conceptual work. After the cast had rehearsed it only to jazz, Cocteau suddenly substituted Bach’s Passacaglia for the performances.

Working within two extremes, as represented by the show-business-flavored "Carmen" and the poetic “Jeune Homme,” Mr. Petit remained a subject for debate throughout more than a half-century, in which he choreographed some 150 ballets.

American critics often called him chic. Even French critics began to find him superficial. Yet after he turned to creating ballets based on opera and literature, he could surprise.

In New York in 1980, the National Ballet of Marseille (headed by Mr. Petit since 1972), presented Mr. Petit’s eloquent commentary on Marcel Proust and his work in “Marcel Proust Remembered.” Ms. Jeanmaire carried his ballet version of “Fledermaus” in “The Bat.” His updated view of “Coppélia” had a witty if kinky approach: as Coppélius, he waltzed with a female dummy (the doll Coppélia) strapped to his body.

Karen Kain, now artistic director of the National Ballet of Canada, was a guest artist in this “Coppélia.” Among the many ballet stars for whom he choreographed were Margot Fonteyn, Rudolf Nureyev, Maya Plisetskaya, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Natalia Makarova. Both Mr. Baryshnikov and Mr. Nureyev danced in “Jeune Homme” shortly after they left the Soviet Union for the West.

Mr. Petit also developed the talents of two future stars. When he co-founded Les Ballets des Champs-Élysées, he engaged two teenage dancers, Leslie Caron and Violette Verdy.

Roland Petit was born on Jan. 13, 1924, in Villemomble, near Paris. His father, Edmond Petit, had a restaurant in the Halles district; his mother founded the dancewear company Repetto. Fond of dancing to a player piano in the restaurant, the young Roland was enrolled in the Paris Opera Ballet School at 9 and joined the company’s corps at 16.

Chafing at the company’s restrictions, he left to choreograph in a series organized by the critic Irene Lidova. These performances led Mr. Petit and Lidova to found Les Ballets des Champs-Élysées with Boris Kochno, Serge Diaghilev’s collaborator and secretary.

Mr. Petit left in 1947 to form his own company, Les Ballets de Paris de Roland Petit. Wooed by Hollywood, he choreographed “Hans Christian Andersen” in 1951 before marrying Ms. Jeanmaire, who survives him, as does their daughter, Valentine Petit. Among the other films he choreographed were “Daddy Long Legs” (1955) “The Glass Slipper” (1955) and “Anything Goes” (1956).

Mr. Petit returned to Paris to choreograph for ballets and music hall revues (some starring his wife). He briefly served as director of the Paris Opera Ballet but resigned after a dispute and later moved to Marseille, where he was director until he left in 1998, reportedly in a disagreement with the management.

Like Maurice Béjart, Mr. Petit sought to reach a wide audience. Yet he had a more solid choreographic foundation, and his early ballets work on an artistic level still valid today.

Ms. Lidova once admitted that Mr. Petit could fall into a “Champagne style.” But she also noted, rightly, that he was an artist of contrasts, “who can be both frivolous and serious, passionate and cruel.”

Personal comment: I first remember seeing Roland Petit in a video of the 1960 film Black Tights with Moira Shearer, Zizi Jeanmaire and Cyd Charisse. Black Tights as well as The Red Shoes were the two films that reinforced my desire to be a ballet dancer.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Pointe shoe quiz July 3, 2011

Who is the maker of these shoes?

A great talent says farewell

Julie Kent & José Manuel Carreño during his farewell at the Met

The New York Times
July 1, 2011

A Crowd Favorite Takes His Leave

“The love for José Manuel Carreño poured across the Metropolitan Opera House stage in almost palpable waves as one by one, his fellow dancers, his colleagues and his daughters delivered bouquets of flowers at the end of his final New York performance on Thursday with American Ballet Theater, where he had been a principal since 1995.

There are few dancers as adored by both balletomanes and the general public as Mr. Carreño. Handsome, but not untouchably so; charming; infallibly courteous; a superb partner with a virile stage presence and a reliably plush, polished technique, he has been one of the standard-bearers of Ballet Theater’s reputation for brilliant male dancers.

His role of choice for his departure was Prince Siegfried in “Swan Lake.” That wasn’t taking the easy route; the part is full of the big jumps that are always the first technical casualty for male dancers as they get older. (Mr. Carreño is just 43, but that’s a lifetime of back strain from lifting ballerinas over his head.)

Mr. Carreño can still jump, although he no longer has the buoyancy he possessed years ago. His line is impeccable, his turns a thing of beauty: perfectly centered and upright as he spins, the unsupported leg outlining perfect geometric shapes. When he does execute a jump turn called “tour en l’air,” he lands with a luxurious bend in perfect fifth position, bang on the music.

Those details are a thrill for ballet nerds. More important, every step is permeated by an innate elegance and authority. You have no doubt, watching Mr. Carreño, that he is a star, although of the nicest, most un-divo-like kind.

On Thursday there were two dancers embodying the dual role of Odette-Odile. (Once customary, such casting is rare today.) Presumably this was Mr. Carreño’s choice — Julie Kent as the innocent Odette, Gillian Murphy as her evil alter ego, Odile — as was the guest appearance of the former Ballet Theater dancer Joaquin de Luz (now a New York City Ballet principal) as the prince’s friend Benno.

Oddly, the emotional rapport onstage that Mr. Carreño shared with Mr. de Luz (who danced with energy and panache) was far greater than what he had with Ms. Kent, a longtime partner who is celebrating her 25th anniversary with Ballet Theater this season. With her lyrical, elongated lines, Ms. Kent can look picture-perfect, but so mannered and grand ballerina was her performance, so languorous the tempo of music and dancing, that you could doze off between positions.

This didn’t help Mr. Carreño, who has never been a great actor, but things perked up considerably in Act III with the arrival of Ms. Murphy and of David Hallberg as the sorcerer von Rothbart. (Isaac Stappas played his nonhuman alter ego). Both Ms. Murphy and Mr. Hallberg put an over-the-top spin on their roles, neatly skirting the line between vulgarity and fun, as Mr. Hallberg seduced the Queen (Susan Jaffe, a former Odette-Odile of Mr. Carreño’s) and the princesses with callous magnetism and hilariously exaggerated timing.

Ms. Murphy and Mr. Carreño offered no less. For once that gala staple, the black swan pas de deux, was the showstopper it’s meant to be. In the coda Ms. Murphy offered quadruple and quintuple fouettés, and Mr. Carreño rose to the occasion with a bravura exhibition of his own that seemed as much an expression of excitement about finding his Swan Queen as it was a display of audience-pleasing feats.

This production of “Swan Lake,” by Ballet Theater’s artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, so effectively ruins Act IV as to make the dancers quite inconsequential. It’s a pity that Mr. Carreño’s final exit here is to turn his back on the audience, run up a ramp (left! sharp right!) and throw himself into the lake in bad lighting, but so be it.

The audience members — who screamed, threw flowers, held up phones to record the moment and sobbed as Mr. Carreño, looking overwhelmed, opened his arms to us all — weren’t going to let him go so easily anyway.”

Personal comment: This is the performance I mentioned last year [in my entry for September 9, 2010] when I was talking about the dual role of Odette/Odile usually being danced by the same ballerina in productions of Swan Lake performed by major companies and smaller ones who have ballerinas up to the task. I wish I could have seen this perf as the combination of Murphy as Odile and Hallberg as von Rothbart not to mention the marvelous talent of José Manuel Carreño was an occasion not to be missed. Sigh!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

English National Ballet 2011 Charity Auction

Louboutin ballet heels were on offer at ENB auction

Tutu sad:
I’ve missed out on the charity auction of designer Tutus (that was held on June 29 – 30th) that I mentioned in my blog entry for June 18th. I had originally thought I would be able to bid at the sale that was held in London in the Orangery at Kensington Palace. However since I've been at the Duke’s hunting lodge in Scotland for the last few days I had to forgo that opportunity, but I wouldn’t have missed seeing Crag Abbey for the world! For more about the auction here is an article from a British newspaper:

Eat your heart out Victoria Beckham! Presenting the eight-inch pair of Louboutins...


By Sadie Whitelocks
June 30, 2011

"You can't turn the page of a magazine without seeing the likes of Victoria Beckham or Coleen Rooney teetering around in a pair of sky-high Christian Louboutins. But now the 47-year-old, French shoe designer has taken height to the next level producing a pair of eight-inch, red-soled stilettos.

Based on the ballet shoe, the towering silk and Swarovski-encrusted heels are being auctioned off along with a number of other fashion wares to raise funds for the English National Ballet (ENB).

High feat: Christian Louboutin has designed a pair of eight-inch stilettos for a silent charity auction which closes at 10.30pm tonight to help raise funds for the English National Ballet

These are one of a number of unique lot items which have been specifically created by some of the leading names in fashion. Designers including Erdem, Giles Deacon, Moschino, Roksanda Ilincic and Julien Macdonald have donated ballet-inspired pieces, modeled by professional dancers.

The current sale - which is hoped to raise over £50,000 for the ENB - comes following the Arts Council's decision to cut its grant by around £2 million.

Louboutin said: 'I could not help being inspired by English National Ballet... after all... isn’t the classical dancing ballet slipper the ultimate heel? 'The heel which makes dancers closer than any other women to the sky, closer to heaven!

Test run: A dancer tries on the latest pair of stilettos from Christian Louboutin, which are based on the ballet pointe shoe

Without raising necessary funds the world famous ballet company will be forced to cutback performances and touring.

The Summer Party Silent Auction opened last Thursday (June 29th) and will close at 10.30pm tonight.

Roksanda Ilincic added: 'It was a challenge to develop an individual slant on a piece that’s so famous for looking a certain way but a challenge is always inspiring.

Inspiration: Above, A dancer showcasing one of the lot items designed by Erdem who has used ballet as a theme for his current fashion collections

Centre stage: Above, Giles Deacon's tutu is based on the character of the Black Swan in Swan Lake

'Also, I think every girl has her fantasy ballet tutu in mind so to have the opportunity to create has been magical.'

Founded in 1950 by Dame Alicia Markova and Sir Anton Dolin, the English National Ballet employs 65 dancers and a symphony orchestra. There has traditionally been collaboration between ballet and fashion dating back to Coco Chanel and dance director Sergei Diaghilev in the 1920s”

The one that got away: The tutu that I was particularly interested in bidding on is the one designed by the team from Agent-Provocateur shown below.

A Romantic Tutu by Agent Provocateur

With a romantic length skirt like that a girl can go commando in crotchless tights so with a flip of the skirt a lover can quickly penetrate me while I’m in full costume. I can have a knockoff made I suppose, but I would have loved to have the original. The dark colors are ideal to hide semen stains.

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Powys , Wales, United Kingdom
I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort