Zizi

Peter Sarstedt’s epic “Where Do You Go To My Lovely” opens with this line: “You talk like Marlene Dietrich / And you dance like Zizi Jeanmaire.”

Which is high praise indeed. Zizi’s breakthrough ballet was Carmen, choreographed in 1949 by Roland Petit, who also danced the role of Don José, and to whom she was married five years later.

Zizi Jeanmaire in Carmen 1949

Although we will note for record that Zizi was still officially Renée Jeanmaire in those days.

Zizi Jeanmaire strikes a pose

Zizi Jeanmaire whirls

In addition to ballet, she would appear in films through the 1950s, and actually cut a few records in the Sixties, the biggest of which might have been “Mon truc en plumes” (“My Thing With Feathers,” 1961). In this twelve-minute clip from 1979, she sings two songs, neither of which are “Mon truc en plumes,” and dances up a storm:

Zizi retired in 1982; she was widowed in 2011 when Petit died. She lives in Geneva, and she just turned 92 last month.

1 comment

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