Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats

when i was a kid i did ballet (which was short lived) and modern dancing. i was not good at either, but it was one of the few extra-mural exercise focused activities that i didn’t totally hate, and even though i have never been the most athletic person i at least had some rhythm (more so when i have had a few drinks – granted) so i just kept doing it cause it was fun. at some point it became no fun, mostly because the other girls were simply better than me, and my modern dancing teacher remarked that i was “the most inflexible person she’s ever taught”. which, as a kid, STUNG. i can barely touch my knees, let alone my toes, so yeah i am completely fucking inflexible – you don’t need to tell me that, lady!

anyway all those memories came streaming back when i saw these pictures taken by Hans Wild for LIFE Magazine at a school for acrobats, Gymnase Saulnier, in Paris, 1947. i haven’t been able to find any more information on it, but i am assuming the instructor is one Monsieur Saulnier. i bet he would have done something about my inflexibility instead of chiding me for it (okay, maybe a little bit of chiding). if anyone can shed any light on these photos, please do!

edit: Thank you to Sophie for finding out more information! she commented,

Le Père Saulnier was called the “girls breaker” because he was really strict with his students. You can see that the front door in the last picture is still in Paris, it’s in the 16 rue Véron. I found this information on this website (in french). They say that the main actress learn gym with him ! (and that this film is terrible, except for the gym part…)

Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats
Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats

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10 Responses to Gymnase Saulnier, School for Acrobats

  1. Amy Monday 2 June, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    I love these, especially the one with the cat in his lap.

  2. gaptoothedgirl Monday 2 June, 2014 at 4:35 pm #

    This is a wonderful post!
    XOX, Gap.
    http://www.gaptoothedgirl.com

  3. Julie Monday 2 June, 2014 at 5:34 pm #

    Love that gym teacher with a cigarette! I did ballet too for a short time, until the teacher told me “When you dance you’re the ugliest of all. But at least I can see how hard you try.” It wasn’t very comforting…

    • Miss Moss Monday 2 June, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

      yeesh! some dance teachers are just hard-wired to be mean!

  4. tara-lynn Monday 2 June, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

    Thanks for sharing these amazing (& timelessly stylish) photos!
    tara-lynn

  5. Lisa Tuesday 3 June, 2014 at 11:05 am #

    Wonderfully evocative of a different era, before health & safety and the tyranny of risk assessment! And that cat…

  6. Julie Kinnear Wednesday 4 June, 2014 at 11:21 am #

    Your story reminds of my childhood, especially my modern dance lessons: yes,the others became simply better than me and so I felt kind of ashamed and disappointed, what was the beginning of the I-hate-all-sports chapter of my life… Monsieur Saulnier looks like a more relaxed teacher, I see that he even taught a cat… :)

  7. sophie Wednesday 4 June, 2014 at 2:25 pm #

    Le Père Saulnier was called the “girls breaker” because he was really strict with his students.
    You can see that the front door in the last picture is still in Paris, it’s in the 16 rue Véron. (with google street view)
    I found this information on this website (in french) : http://www.cirk75gmkg.fr/article-e-60734778.html
    They say that the main actress learn gym with him ! (and that this film is terrible, except for the gym part…)

    (Sorry for my english i’m french ;) )

    • Miss Moss Wednesday 4 June, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

      you are SO COOL for finding that out, thank you!

  8. Laura Wednesday 4 June, 2014 at 2:46 pm #

    I can’t say i know anything in particular about this man or his studio but it especially caught my eye on your blog as i am actually an amateur acrobat! So thing like standing on head i am pretty familiar with. These images are fantastic though. I love that he is smoking while coaching! It just shows how dated the images are

    Laura xx
    http://somethinglauralikes.blogspot.com.au/

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