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The Essence of Elegance



I know

I'm with A Presence

In your magnetic presence.

Your aura

Fills the darkened rows;

Floods them in your majesty.


Where e'er you lingered,

Much more brilliantly, - it glows.

______© Nellieanna H. Hay


Audrey Hepburn

“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades.”

“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

____Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn personified her own definitions of elegance. She was its epitome in its truest senses of what I believe are its characteristics: fine-tuned, well-put together, graceful, poised, stylish in tasteful simplicity in appearance and manner; unique, pleasingly ingenuous and charming without self-consciousness or pretention.

She was naturally elegant, which to me IS elegant, coming naturally from within, filling one's presence and actions. She was elegant no matter what she was wearing or how she was or was not 'made-up'. Authentic, i.e.: 'herself'.

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That, to me, is elegance.

These photos of her well illustrate that she was versatile, equally at ease in formal situations and attire, - or with a checkered napkin draped over her head, lost in rapt attention to what was going on around her, - or alone, absorbed in reading!


Maya Plisetskaya age 34 - dances Dying Swan1959

Maya Plisetskaya, prima ballerina assoluta  of the Bolshoi Theatre without equal.

Maya Plisetskaya, prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi Theatre without equal.

Maya Plisetskaya

She first performed at the Bolshoi in 1936 at 11. She joined the Bolshoi Ballet in 1943, was immediately recognized as a different kind of ballerina and moved from the corps to soloist in record time; noticeable with her arresting appearance: bright red hair, long fluid limbs, flexible back, strong slim legs. She became known for her technical prowess, but more, her stage charisma, inherent grace and innovative style fixed her place among the greats.

She was to continue to perform regularly at the Bolshoi till she was 75, still far from retirement for at least another 10 years. She had captured many roles, including her inimitable "Dying Swan". She said her legs must conform to classical style, to become the accompaniment to her expressive hands and arms, which were always free to be her own 'wings', 'never the wings of another dancer'. With them, she said, she was able to express nationalities, stories, character, emotions, life and death. She felt and interpreted movements of live swans as she danced the "Dying Swan".

From the beginning, she made each role her own; even her movements as a corps member drew astonished attention. Described as 'an artistic genius', 'fire unleashed, bursting like fireworks', 'a human reference point', 'a true miracle' and 'a little figure with a great, impressive stage presence, Maya is also called "ballet's monster sacre, a flaring, flaming beacon in a world of dimly twinkling talents, a beauty in the world of prettiness." She was enshrined in a Russian documentary, "Ava Maya". There is something so creative in her that it rivets the attention and leaves one unable to account for the mystery of her radiance, the plasticity of her movements, the impact of her effect.

  • She IS the essence of elegance in every sense, in my opinion.

Coco Chanel

"Simplicity is the keynote to all elegance."

Elegance is refusal.”

Elegance comes from being as beautiful inside as outside.

___Coco Chanel

Among elegant people of the earlier decades of the 20th century, French fashion designer, Coco Chanel, influenced her own generation and those that followed with the timely, devastating simplicity of her designs, accessories and their total essence. Surely elegance is most obvious in taste so exquisite that it leads others to prefer the beautiful, the simple, the graceful, rather than the gaudy and the pretentious which is offered, for their personal styles and behaviors.

'Refusal' surely refers to tasteful, intelligent discernment of what is good and valuable, rather than acceptance of what is unworthy and paltry among one's choices. Knowing to not settle for shabbiness or needing to, since one's innate elegance influences the externals, rather than vice versa!



A Personal Moment

Once I faced that exact challenge. I was weary and feeling I'd 'lost it', - whatever I may have possessed personally, so much that re-reading a book I'd had since college: Madame Dariaux', "Elegance", brought me to tears. It seemed to be an impossible list of everything I no longer had or hoped to have; - until I realized that the book was no more than a manual on grooming guidelines, sort of the "Emily Post" of fashion sense.

It mentioned naught about the essence of elegance within a person, -Which, I realized, was still within me.

So it is that the personal environment and choices rest upon a person's own integrity and true elegance; it is in projecting those positives out, rather than absorbing shabby, defeating negatives in - and recognizing the difference. The general circumstances may continue; one need not be conformed to them.

It's equivalent to letting the sunshine into one's being on an overcast day!


Eyes that see,

Ears that hear,

When it is near, -

That it can be.

Essence thrives,

The self survives

‘Ere it knows

Where it goes.

______© Nellieanna H. Hay

Elegance Is A Human Feature

Chanel's kind of essential elegance and ability to influence others to appreciate it may also be found in Greta Garbo. But, be clear: these qualities of elegance and its influence are certainly not reserved for women, nor even for adults. It is as natural in a man as a woman, though it may be expressed somewhat differently; no less noticeably, however.

  • Marlon Brando had elegance, as did Paul Newman. I think of Ralph Lauren and Jean-Paul Gaultier, a number of world leaders, philosophers and scientists, plus many others before and since those mentioned, from whom it radiates. No such list is adequate without mention of the first Dallas Cowboys coach, "Mr." Tom Landry, always a well-respected, well-groomed, well-mannered gentleman, even as he coached and inspired the team to several championships and SuperBowls.
  • Several child-prodigy opera singers, the latest of whom I'm aware being Aria Tesolin, radiate elegance of presence and spirit. I believe she's nine now, but has been singing impressive opera since she was three! One must hear it to fully believe this! As phenomenal as her singing is, one is amazed how her bearing and person project her natural elegance

As with men and women from all walks of life who abundantly have it, elegance radiates through their personal presence, manners and demeanor, and in what they draw into themselves and what they radiate from themselves; - be they statesmen, film stars, athletes, artists, professionals, tycoons, service men or construction workers. We simply are able to observe it more readily in more visible people.

It is not WHAT they do, but with what verve and truth they do it, and so, imbuing it with their spirits and essences. The Statue of David is impressive, no doubt; but so is the carefully crafted Mother's Day card meticulously made by a caring child. The little tyke at my door on Halloween who asked for a piece of the candy for his mama demonstrated his own elegance with that gracious gesture.

Works Are Reflections of Personal Elegance

Indeed, the works people do and create shine forth their own reflected elegance, from farming to composing, from designing to mathematics, from writing to baking.

Whatever humans do can become a radiating reflection of unique personal elegance within themselves. It needn't achieve fame or fortune to prove its authentic elegant quality which, being intrinsically simply 'there', it is sensed by others whenever it is enjoyed, used or beheld.


Leonardo da Vinci

An excellent example of the qualities of elegance in a famous man was Leonardo daVinci, who said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Though a mere human, he knew about these things!

Sophistication, which by definition is savoir faire, refinement, intelligence, confidence, civility, and experience, - is a characteristic of elegance and vice versa.

This well illustrates its definition: ~ "The shabbiest of work clothes could not disguise his sophistication." ~ Elegance applies as well.

Elegance is that essential trait within a person which he may endow on his work and his artistry, and with which his creations, movements, self-expression, and presence will be imbued. It is never superficial or artificial, nor is it ever what is on his back, though what is on his back may reflect its own creator's elegance, as well.

So I might sum it up as: elegance is a quality of the Quality of being true to one's Being, rather than posing as a camouflage or disguise for it.



The air, the aura

Surrounding a person,

Sublime simplicity.

Astounding quality.

Absence of


While fully focused upon

Excellence of the work.

An innate agility,

A Courage to Be,

Unafraid of being different

Because that’s what it is, - To Be.

Pristine beauty and charm

And more;

Uncanny, uncontrived ability

To disarm.


______© Nellieanna H. Hay


Maya Plisetskaya age 61 - dances Dying Swan 1986

Maya Plisetskaya danced the "Dying Swan" many times in her career, at home and abroad, both before 1959 and after 1986. Each example portrays special meaning for us, as we see her studying the swans in 1959, in order better to interpret their movements and attitudes; now here, showing that, over the 50 years between these two performances,- her technique, grace and incredibly sensitive interpretation of the Saint-Saëns dance show no evidence of having diminished. Later performances remained the same. At age 87, in 2012, her presence and agelessness are ongoing and ever-deepening; and her elegance, timeless.

Maya Plisetskaya - documentary 1986



Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on July 09, 2014:

Those are among some of my favorite poets, as well. My muse-poet is Emily Dickinson. I guess my muse-prose writer would have to be Jane Austen, though I have many favorites here on Hubpages and am honored to be well-respected by many of them. Thank you for your approval, too.

I was floored and honored by that award. What I most value about it is that it was by votes by my peers here on HP. I didn't 'go out for it' or solicit any votes at all but the people here who like my work surely did drum up votes! Knowing how it is here, though - from having judged an HP poetry contest a couple of years back, I know that people here tend to do what they choose and support whom they choose. So I'm quite humbled and honored that they chose me for the poet-of-the-year.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on July 09, 2014:

You're welcome dear you've inspired me, i always loved writing but my desire to write re-emerged in 2010 after i read poems from "Helen Steiner Rice", I like Maya Angelou's poems and now I'd just add you to the list and you deserved that award you got for poet of the year :)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on July 09, 2014:

Thank you so much, LadyFiddler. No doubt we will meet in wherever follows. Meanwhile, it's glorious sharing the here and now as it's available.

Joanna Chandler from On Planet Earth on July 09, 2014:


~~~ God bless U and grant you life everlasting in His kingdom~~

Hope to meet you over Jordan and we can share our poems wouldn't that be glorious :)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on April 25, 2014:

Thank you for that insight, once again, dear manatita. Each of us is his or her creation in the extent we have this life of ourselves with and on which to write, to paint, to sing and to appreciate all the rest of it. Had god wished to make us 'finished', he needn't have bothered with providing this freedom with which to 'work out our own salvations with fear and trembling', as Paul mentioned in his letter to the Phillipians.

manatita44 from london on April 25, 2014:

I feel all you write. I do not think it, but I see it and feel it. In the artistes par excellence yes, but most importantly in the prose and pictures you conjure as unity, in one fell swoop. I feel you yourself, to be that creation.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on December 05, 2013:

Thank you, darlin’ Faith. Yes - I have published some and, of course, it’s what I enjoy, especially when you enjoy them too! I couldn’t be more pleased that you loved reading this. I like to show elegance as being the expression of an inner kind of radiance and spirit, rather than a superficial veneer as it may be considered at times.

Audrey is certainly my idea of naturally elegant. I’ve loved her since she first made movies in the U.S. I still love watching them & have several on DVD.

I hope you’re well and staying warm! It's really wintry suddenly over here. It was sunny and up to 80 degrees Wed. and down to below freezing Thurs. with freezing rain. That's quite a drop and change! So I'm staying snuggled inside.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on December 05, 2013:

Ah, my dearest friend who epitomizes elegance! My goodness, sweet lady, you have been busy publishing away with these brilliant writes so full of wisdom.

My favorite has always been Audrey, for she possess that true natural elegance. Your poetry is stunning and takes my breath away with its sheer beauty and elegance.

I really love your new profile/avatar photo, so YOU, so lovely.

I truly loved reading this interesting hub sprinkled with your phenomenal poetry.

Up ++++ and sharing this gem

Hugs and much love to you this night,

Faith Reaper

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 22, 2013:

Dear Michael-Milec - Your kind words are music to my ears. Hearing about your dear and elegant mother does my heart good. It explains your great spirit. Your words, “her charm was cherished by everyone who knew her…” sum it up perfectly. Charm has been defined as the ability to make others feel better about themselves. From what you’ve said about your mother, that is how she was. It is much to be admired!

Thank you for sharing that, as well as for your visit to my hub and your votes.

Michael-Milec on November 21, 2013:

Hello Nellieanna.

What a beautiful display of elegance in words and pictures. You've enriched and expanded my horizon of elegance into furthest beyond…

My mom has been raised as an orphan, Getting into marriage illiterate and she was the best representation as known to me now the hidden treasure called elegance. She made her own clothing - adoring her inner qualities, her words were edifying ( since age of eight living/working within intellectual families ) , her preparing meal for us was the best I've ever remember, and her charm was cherished by everyone who knew her…

If only we , the average-(my guess) would care to take time slowing down chasing lives ineptitude, our ( every bodies) elegance would be more transparent.

Voted up,awesome beautiful and useful.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 17, 2013:

DearJPSO138 - We seem to belong to a mutual admiration society! Thank you. I very much appreciate your lovely accolade and am grateful that you consider yourself my fan!

JPSO138 from Cebu, Philippines, International on November 17, 2013:

There is not much to say as this hub makes me speechless. You write with elegance and you make it captivating. I love your hubs, making me an instant fan of yours.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 17, 2013:

Spoken graciously, dear Anna! Thank you! Hugs.

Anna Haven from Scotland on November 17, 2013:

Thank you Nellieanna.

Even your comments are gracious :)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 15, 2013:

Thank you, Deb. I agree with your concise definition! Excellent!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on November 15, 2013:

Elegance is that which is inherent--it is a natural quality that can both grow and resonate in others.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 14, 2013:

Hello, Mylinda! Thank you for visiting and sharing your response. I agree that Audrey Hepburn remained beautiful and interesting throughout her life! Coco Chanel truly was elegant, too.

mylindaelliott from Louisiana on November 14, 2013:

What a great combination of people. I always loved Audrey Hepburn. She was beautiful and interesting to watch even into old age. Coco Chanel was also an elegant woman.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 10, 2013:

Dear Dr. BJ - I’m pleased that you agree with my choices of people who illustrate(d) elegance! Audrey Hepburn truly demonstrated it in all her professional and personal life, including her concern for and work with others in need. Of course I LOVE “Breakfast At Tiffany” and have it in my DVD collection. George loved it too. And in that movie was another elegant man: George Peppard. Yes, I could easily add Sean Connery, with elegance projected in many of his roles. His was a robust kind of elegance that followed him into his maturity.

I’ve never seen Maya Plisethkaya or Mikhail Baryshkov dance in person, but yes, he seemed elegant in his performances. The quality of elegance I was sensitive to has to do with a perfection and respect for the performance which I noted in Plisethkaya. Same with Leonardo and all that he did. So many people might be included. I keep thinking of others. I’ve been watching BBC movies and series and there are some examples in them. I guess, though, it’s in following a celebrity’s long-term presentation that one is best able to really feel the elegance (or its absence!)

Thank you for such a lovely compliment! I treasure it!

drbj and sherry from south Florida on November 10, 2013:

What perfect choices to illustrate elegance, Nellieanna. Audrey Hepburn would be at the top of my list, too. She was not only elegant but charismatically charming. Do you recall 'Breakfast at Tiffanys?'

Plisetskaya was extremely talented based on the video you included but I never had the pleasure of seeing her in person. However, Mikhail Baryshnikov always provided that lissome elegance when he danced and I did see him in person more than once.

Despite my advanced age, I never met Leonardo da Vinci but I'm aware of his otherworldly creativity as an artist and inventor, so I will take your word about his possession of elegance.

Coco Chanel's dressmaking talents will long be remembered and her elegant creations never grow old. So happy that you found the elegance in Paul Newman that I always adored. I would add Sean Connery, too. No actor I have seen to date has the elegance of Sir James Bond.

Oh, wait, I must add one more lovely, classy lady to your list. Who? Why the inimitable, inventive, ingenious elegant writer - my dear Nellieanna. Trust me!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 08, 2013:

I know some who look the part, even act it, but have nearly no real depth. It almost seems they 'froze' somewhere en route be 'becoming' all they could be. But - it does take all kinds and none of us really can know what's inside someone else; - though they usually give off quite clear enough clues for us to respond to them accurately and kindly! ;-)

Naïve is a sweet asset, as is awareness. Those are conditions which may even go hand-in-hand in some instances! We can be naïve about some things and keenly aware of others. It's amazing how human beings can respond to their individual experiences! Underneath all that is the individual's spirit which may begin to express itself very young, or may lie underneath for years. It is highly personal and individual.


Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 08, 2013:

Oh, you are so right, my dear Nellieanna! I actually know more than one lady who looks like the epitome of ellegance, but when they share their thoughts they happen to be everything except ellegant. Oh, just call me Naïve. Thanks for your most enlightening comment.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 08, 2013:

Exactly - - you are lady-like, but that term belies your BEING the lady that is your true self, not merely ‘like' yourself.

Perhaps your perception of elegance rests at a certain level of mainly what is seen, perhaps not including all that is within underlying the outward ‘show’ of it in appearance & even in behavior, both of which do usually reflect what's underlying, but not always, necessarily. People can 'put-on' the appearance and action of elegance without its arising from deep within from a core of authenticity. It’s not unlike misconceptions of what ‘education’ is which generate the possibility of trying to seem more well-educated than a person really is.

Think of "My Fair Lady" as Eliza Doolittle is instructed and practices what to wear, how to speak and act, the proper manners - - all those surface indications that a woman is a lady. But then suddenly, or gradually, she began to FEEL it emerging from her own innate instincts and inner direction which had always been within her, but squelched by her role in life, but now she had begun to feel ‘at home’ expressing her true self. It had little to do with the appearance of being a lady and everything to do with that inner beauty and spirit, with the honesty, kindness and nobleness that were always ‘in there’.

Perhaps Professor Higgins sensed her inner elegance was ‘in there’ and that was why he bothered with her, rather than some other street urchin. He enabled HER to fully realize it. The result was that she wasn’t just looking elegant, she WAS elegant!

Hugs, my lovely elegant Martie!

martie on November 08, 2013:

Hi my dearest nellieanna, your compliment is greatly appreciated. However, I wonder, I would describe my 'ellegance' rather as 'lady-like', of course, because I have a spesific perception of ellegance per se. But what's in a word, especially when it is such a compliment? Sending you lots of love :)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 07, 2013:

Dear Anna, I'm so honored and humbled by such lovely praise. Thank you! I want to say "Look who talks!" because I see so much beauty in you!

Anna Haven from Scotland on November 07, 2013:

Excellent Nellieanna. I have to agree with everyone earlier whom said that your presence is the personification of grace and elegance.

You are very talented and your beauty inside and out shines through your work very brightly.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 06, 2013:

Aga, I agree with you 100%. She has been my favorite for 60 years since she made her Hollywood debut in "Roman Holiday". She is elegance's sweetest essence!

Thank you for stopping by!

Agnes on November 06, 2013:

I gotta say: Audrey is my favorite :-). She is an essence of elegance!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 06, 2013:

By the way - in reviewing it again just a bit ago, I found the spell-check error and fixed it: savoir faire, in my spotlight on da Vinci. (It just tried to alter it here in this comment to 'savor' again! Silly thing has no couth! hehe! Even I know better than that! No telling how many of my readers wondered about that!)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 06, 2013:

You make me smile! :-)

I keep having to come back and watch Maya Plisetskaya dance, speak and feed the swans again and again. I truly wish I could understand her words directly as she speaks them. She truly takes me over the top!

The short documentary here is the one I found with her actually speaking and being translated. But the much longer, several-part documentary about her, "Ave Maya" in Russian with others' comments about her translated and more excerpts of her ballet roles, is quite wonderful, though much too extensive to put on the hub, of course.

This has been a lovely journey for me. I've always resisted a sort of common idea that elegance is something superficial, perhaps even phony, and yet, as an inherent characteristic, it isn't passive, but very expressive in that mathematical kind of 'rightness'. I've enjoyed meandering among its examples and fine-tuning. I've certainly enjoyed and been gratified in doing this as much as anything I've done on HP in these several years!

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on November 06, 2013:

Mwah! From me to the elegant Texas Lady.


Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 06, 2013:

I hoped you'd like it, dear Ian! I'm so pleased with the concept of an elegant mathematical process! It's so what I mean: that elegance is an inherent characteristic of a person or a person's product, which states its elegance as its BEING true and true to oneself/itself. Mathematics is performed by a person, and it has that absolute necessity to be perfect. There's no such thing as 'almost right & good' mathematics or its procedures! It must be integrally right and true; as it must be in a person, though easier to be 'almost' that for a person, since we're always being changed by living. But if this integrity is in a person, it's always there and will be detected eventually, if not sooner! ;-)

Thank you for coming and appreciating my effort! It means much to me.

"Roman Holiday" is an excellent choice! I've almost all her movies on DVD. I like "Sabrina" and "My Fair Lady" awfully well too. Perhaps I'll watch one! :-)

Twilight Lawns from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K. on November 06, 2013:

Dearest Nellieanna, I have one word to describe this hub:


A cannot say more other than to say that it reminds me of when I was doing my Diploma in Mathematics; my lecturer, Jan Stanfield-Potworofski one of the most brilliant mathematicians and an elegant and cultured man in his own right, told me that one of the highest accolades one could use when describing a mathematical process or procedure was to say that is was "Elegant".

And this evening I was wondering what DVD I should watch.

I have decided, it must be 'Roman Holiday'.

Thank you for letting me wallow in a beautiful and emotional hub with you, my dearest one.

Dearest elegant lady and cherished friend, I must reiterate: It was perfect.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 06, 2013:

Hello, Vellur! As always, it’s a pleasure to see you’ve visited. Thank you for that and for the lovely compliment!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on November 06, 2013:

Nellieanna beautifully expressed words of elegance. Lovely poems, enjoyed reading. Voted up.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 05, 2013:

I truly thought nothing of it, Audrey. It's so often misspelled that I hardly see it, unless to regret including that unnecessary "e" when I combined the two names! It's so much more natural a flow without that crowd-pen of vowels pushed together!

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on November 05, 2013:

Nellieanna. Please forgive name error. I should not hurry, especially for you. You are a special lady. Blessings. Audrey

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 05, 2013:

Hello Billy Kelpin! Thank you for visiting my hub! I peeked at your hub site and am entranced. I’ll be back to read!

Ah, those are some elegant women you mention. Loretta Young was just a picture of elegance, for sure. Her appearance and demeanor were flawless, so much that it’s difficult to imagine her ever being awkward or unkempt. One senses her privacy and her real self somewhere protected inside the bubble of her flawless appearance, where her depth and vulnerability are the source of her elegance. There can be no quarrel that her entire aura shouted elegance.

So different was Katherine Hepburn’s projection of the elegance of her being. She wore clothes as though they were her own afterthoughts. Whether her long, lean lines were in slacks with a tailored blouse, accented with a feminine chiffon scarf draped around her head and shoulders, or in a slinky silk simple-lined dinner gown, she always looked like Katherine, never like someone wearing a designer’s creation. Her own aura overshadowed all else. If she wore a burlap bag, it would have been the same. She was disheveled in her role in “The African Queen” and it distracted from her essence not in the least. In fact, it added depth and truth to it. As she aged, her ‘glamour’ was overtaken with that Essential Tremor, her luxurious tresses thinned and were less arresting, yet she maintained the unequalled spark which was her unmistakeable signature.

I so totally agree about voices! A grating, raspy voice is literally punishing to my ears. It’s a 'dead giveaway', like a shout, “Not elegant!”

Hopefully, honesty is not a disqualification! ;) No apology required for it, in my book.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 05, 2013:

Dear Suzette, thank you for that. It matters to me to truly exchange thoughts and ideas with those kind enough to take the time to comment and share their responses on my hubs. In fact, when I’d only been in Hubpages a couple of months, I sort of ‘caught on’ to the spirit and opportunity for real interaction with other Hubbers that is here, and wrote an enthusiastic hub about it, which even gained favorable attention from the powers-that-be, by no means, a regular occurrence. The hub:

I’ve never begrudged following my own advice from then on. It gives me almost as much pleasure and satisfaction as writing does, in fact! Such wonderful people I’ve met and have gotten to know, with so many varied writing perspectives & backgrounds! All the time I’d spent interacting with people online prior to coming here in March, 2010, (which time began in January, 1997), reached a high-tide-mark here and has kept me riding it here, no matter the rumbles and grumbles that sometimes rise from the surface!

Obviously I could and did think of main examples of elegance for this hub from earlier times which I’ve known rather than of these more recent times. I thought of those from old-time who'd missed it, as well, and there were those, too!

Certainly those you mentioned who lack it go without saying. They’re performers, well-paid, successful and followed, none of which is any qualification or prerequisite for elegance! I doubt anyone would seriously attribute elegance to them, either!

Yes, Natalie and Kiera have it. I could nominate several other current or later examples who come to mind and in my opinion are elegant: Young Jackie Evancho is a natural. Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, has it. (Camilla Parker-Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall, in my opinion lacks it, however.) My sketchy impression of Jessica Biel is of an elegant young woman, though my exposure to her is very slight; she came across as a genuine gentlewoman in "The Illusionist".

I’m really not too up on many of the rising stars whose names and faces I hardly recognize, if at all, though. I’m not a judge, anyway; but people do ‘give off vibes’ one way or another, since the trait arises intrinsically from within people and its absence is often so glaringly obvious.

Certainly on my primary list are Helen Mirren, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Jane Seymour and Marilu Henner, who are elegant and timeless, on a par among others of their stature.

Billie Kelpin from Newport Beach on November 05, 2013:

I'll never forget the dress that Katherine Hepburn wore as she came down the staircase in "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?" It was the most elegant dress I could have imagined. Simplicity. I thought Loretta Young was always elegant as she came through the door every Sunday night in opening that week's little drama in which she starred. I think a very large part of elegance for either a woman or a man is wrapped up in his or her speaking voice. I miss beautiful voices of actors who now often speak with Chenoweth-like grating to the ears. (Oh, that wasn't a very elegant thing to say...sorry)

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 05, 2013:

Nellianna: I always love the time you take to respond to each of your comments. You expound on each response so well. I guess I can think of more examples of elegance from way back than in the present. I agree with you, elegance, definitely has to come from within first before anyone can truly be elegant. Your examples of course exemplify that. Today's people, Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Rihanna in my opinion are not very elegant - garish as the word you use fits them more. Natatlie Portman and Keira Knightly are two contemporary actors that are more elegant. Elegance seems to be something not that important or treasured nowadays. I think our society becomes more crass as the years tick on. Maybe I'm getting 'old' LOL Anyway, it was a pleasure to read this fine article.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

I’m smiling, Shan. What else would an 8-year old boy have to which to relate a great ballerina’s fluid movements, but to Sponge Bob’s wavy cartoon arms? Shows he’s thinking and making valid comparisons, if a good bit different in character, - certainly not even on the same strata of existence. hehe. But this was good logic for an 8-year old boy and sharp of him to notice, I think!

(I'd have needed to search and track it down to see what he saw, too, by the way. I've no idea - or need to know - what cartoons are 'in' these days!)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Dear Vincent ~ you’re so kind. What a lovely compliment. Eloquence is the expression of elegance through communication and I like to think my writing qualifies! It’s so good to hear it from you!

Oh, what a joy it would have been to have Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn as actual friends. Oh yes, -Katherine is also a great example of elegance! Hers was full of courage and derring-do. She courageously dared to wear slacks when it 'just wasn’t done’. She blazed the trail for more freedom in women's clothing and lifestyle. She was a natural in every way. As good an actress as she was, she always played herself, like John Wayne always played himself! What you saw was what you got!

Thank you for all your gracious words and thoughts, my friend!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Audrey - thank you. It’s Nellie Anna on my birth certificate. I combined them when I married, in order to retain my surname as a middle name without cluttering it up with a hyphen. Turned out I like it better. I’m really pleased that you like the hub and how it’s put together! It seemed to almost arrange itself, once started. I’m glad you stopped by!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Hello, Mary. How great to see you here! I admit that this hub really is fully packed! It just seemed to demand to be done full justice! Thank you for such a lovely, humbling compliment! I’d be honored to sit in the shadow of any of these people who seem to me to express the real meaning of elegance! I appreciate your votes. Lovely!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Dear Jaye! Oh, my, what delicious praise! Meeting one’s own standard is surely the essence of satisfying personal sense of elegance. When one has finished a project and knows it meets one’s own approval, that is so good! If others agree, that is the topping on the dessert!

Your descriptions of what IS elegance, what elegance IS and what it is NOT are exactly how I see it, Jaye! It just IS when it is. It can’t be donned like a Paris fashion or applied like an expert makeup job or injected like botox! There is no way to “get it”; though, perhaps, it can be 'mined' like gold from its internal veins in one's own human spirit if it is ‘in there’ by processes of experience which ‘pan’ it forth as one’s character is also being forged and elegance may be uncovered. I’m convinced it is at least a ‘trace element’ in each human spirit.

What a beautiful compliment, Jaye: “a West Texas flower that bloomed among the rocks and cacti”. I shall treasure that! Thank you. Let me show you me at about age 3 among those rocks & cacti, obviously with a LOT of blooming yet to be done!

I suspect that you are way too self-critical, Jaye. We tend to see ourselves through somewhat jaded eyes, I'm afraid.

Though my movements as a girl were fairly graceful and agile (Harriet started early to correct my posture & instruct me in such things), still, my proportions were not ideal for ballet, either. In fact my center of gravity wasn’t/isn't. I’d have never been a surfer, either! I tried from the time I was in college till I was in my late 40s merely to water-ski, and finally got up on those things once (after taking in a LOT of lake water over the years). I decided then that I could hang up the skis and rest on my laurel. My body’s simply too long & my legs are too proportionately short. Nevertheless, I still can’t hear and see ballet without my muscles responding & twitching with every movement of the dance! I know it’s ’in here’ somewhere - (maybe under a deep vein of gold)!

We've something similar in common: I sketched ladies' heads with upswept hair and long necks, and also sketched long shapely legs in high heels. Funny to remember; I still run across some of those sketches lurking in odd places, such as frontispieces of books and backs of old envelopes!

Thank you so much for the votes and gracious comments about my hub, too!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Now, wait a minute, my darlin’ Martie, dear Cyber Daughter who possesses ample elegance of spirit in multiple ways. It is not ‘something’ identical in everyone, but is highly individual. You are elegantly passionate about life and your enthusiastic investment in it and your beauty radiates.

Everyone need not possess elegance in the same ways, areas or to the same degrees in any area. Of course, to dance requires physical assets as well as desire, & without sufficient parts of each, a person will not become an elegant dancer. But what is simply elegant is the person, not the performance. What I hoped to illustrate here is that a person may demonstrate elegance that isinside in other areas but that simply BEING elegant is what it is. The beautiful ballerina simply shows hers in her art of dancing. It shows in what one does; but that is simply its evidence, not what elegance IS.

Being ‘somewhere in between’ (others?) is a significant PLACE which is real, is all one’s own and expresses one’s own elegance. Each of us is somewhere between others, a place of our very OWN, which is authentic, not mimicry or pretense. It needs only to be recognized and acknowledged for our own. My little capsule in this hub titled “A Personal Moment” tells of a very real moment in my life when I realized that. True story.

Thank you for your approval and my love to you, dear heart! I hoped you’d enjoy the music! :-)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Sallybea, how pleased I am to know you. Having just visited your amazing hub site, I’m blown away with your many talents and interests! So much of it appeals to me deeply.

Thank you for visiting mine! I’m delighted that you found it meritorious.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Shauna, I’m sorry about the interview’s audio glitch. Here is the direct link to it on u-tube. Perhaps it will play there for you! It's worth a look. She speaks in Russian but it is simultaneously translated. Her passion and feeling for the work is so clearly shown as she speaks and beautiful! How I’d love to be able to listen to her words directly! Also there are more lively clips of her dancing included which audio will enhance!

I am so very honored by your compliments. Thank you.


Shannon Henry from Texas on November 04, 2013:

Just out of curiosity. . .I searched to find out what Curtis might be talking about. Seems I recall SpongeBob doing similar movements. . .but he is certainly nowhere near as graceful or elegant as a ballerina in his movements!

And for fun. . . .

Vincent Moore on November 04, 2013:

Dear Nellieanna you personify eloquence. I have followed your work for a few years now at the Hubs and all of it has been eloquently penned. You have perfected eloquence by presenting us with a showcase of brilliant, meaningful, magical, exciting and always a spark of genius with your compositions and poetry.

I am truly honored and humbled to be one of your many followers. You my dear are one class act, just like so many of the featured attractions you include in your work. Yes indeed both Hepburn's, Audrey and Catherine would be happy to have had you as their friend and confident. Keep up the great writing my gifted writer/poet, your legacy is being formed.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Hello, Suzette. Thank you for this pleasant visit! I visited your hub site and am quite interested in reading your hubs! Your broad background and interests have surely given you much to share! I’m especially taken with your profile description, “. . I may be retired, but I have rewired, and I am now embarking on a freelance writing and photography career online. . .” That is a most intriguing and inviting an introduction!

So naturally, I’m pleased with your complimentary response to my hub! I agree - I’ve always loved Audrey Hepburn and her movies, too. She just looks like a ballet dancer. It’s too bad she didn’t pursue that career, as well.

I was not familiar with the lovely Maya Plisetskaya until I was researching for this hub. The swan theme preceded adding her dancing the “Dying Swan” for it. It just seemed to fall into place! Now I wish I knew Russian so I could listen to her telling about dance and her unique approach to it! She really changed the picture of ballet in her time, with her unique, fluid movements and specific individual interpretations of each of the roles she danced, - interpretations which went far beyond the technical approach which had become the major flavor of ballet before that. Her elegance is displayed in her investment of herself in her work, as much as her expertise at it, I think.

I hope the idea shines through that elegance is individual spirit, in any time or society, since it was my major premise. Much has been written about external elegant appearance and behavior, which is, of course, often among the outstanding by-products of inner elegance. But it is that inner spirit of elegance which I see as its definition and reality, which transcends other transient circumstances. Indeed, it is readily apparent in those people I featured from back in time, (probably because “I” am from back in time myself! ;-)

Yet, there are many modern people who have it too, though the abundance and standards of modern media tends to crowd it into the background and to focus attention more on the bizarre, the unsettling and often the garish examples of appearances and behavior, seldom noticing or featuring qualities of elegance among the blockbusters! In contrast, back then, media outpouring was so much more limited in power, scope and influence that it was easy to discern the cream that had arisen to the top.

I like your qualification of elegance as a ‘virtue’. Indeed, it well may be one of the most comprehensive ones! Thank you.

Audrey Selig from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on November 04, 2013:

Hi Nellianna. I just love your name. It fits you well. Ah elegance and Audrey Hepburn. She was a real favorite of mine. How clever to write about elegance and then narrate and show their photos and add poetry. Your originality and your own elegance make this hub stand tall. Nice to stop by. Blessings. Audrey

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Thank you, Genna!

You had to be there! My sister, her husband and their elite friends were grounded in Dallas football when it was a less cosmopolitan and a more elegantly ‘good-ole-boy’ city, if that's not too great an oxymoron.

They were among those community social leaders who were early SMU football stars and who first began preparations to organize and get a professional football team for the city. In fact, had their family not perished in that car/train crash in 1953, he would have become one of the founders of the Dallas Cowboys, in a football-minded city in a football-minded state and in an era when professional sports in general and Southern football in particular were prominent and class-dominated. As far as Vic was concerned, to be a real man of honor and quality was synonymous with playing sports, especially football; and that standard was impressed upon me while in their sphere and under their influence, which was part of my life at the time.

I did break free of that yoke after I graduated from college, where I’d been under her wing, when I realized that she intended to keep me under it.

But their entire family perished in an tragic accident 6 months later, one in which I’d have been with and would have perished with them, had I not rebelled and fled. But it seriously knocked the wind out of my sails, to say the least, which took me another lifetime to replenish. Even so, there is no way I’d be ‘me’ now if my somewhat remarkable life had taken different turns, so I value it all!

I’m watching my DVDs of “Downton Abbey” too! Each time I see them, I notice something else! That mansion itself, as they discuss it in the ‘extras’ on the DVDs, is not a set, but a real, used mansion. The filmmakers say they could never have afforded a set to equal it, or if they had tried, it would have broken the budget! So they surely chose among the rooms to find the ones that best reflect the characters’ auras and personalities! I’d noticed the décor, of course, but hadn’t fine-tuned it as being so individually selected. What a great observation, Genna! I do love all the characters for their special sparks. Am impatient for the new season to air over here! January, I think it will be.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 04, 2013:

Thank you, Martin. It is good to go to a glorious time, though time is neutral until it is written upon by life and people expressing life! If there are periods of time in which people felt freer and more encouraged to express their elegance, we can remember them fondly, if we know the difference! Sadly, there are times in which elegance is discouraged or dared, for fear of not being thought ‘cool’ or strong, which one will be as part of one's elegance, if one but realizes and allows it to show forth.

Anyway, I am pleased that touching upon that mindset and times when elegance was more desirable and popular pleased you! Hugs.

Mary Craig from New York on November 04, 2013:

Your elegance shines through in this beautiful hub packed with everything! You have always struck me as an elegant lady and this hub just proves me right. Traveling in the company of Audrey Hepburn and everyone else you listed, right where you belong.

Voted up, awesome, beautiful, and interesting.

Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on November 04, 2013:

Dear Nellieanna - You created a marvelously elegant hub--much more than an article, essay, poetry, video, graphics, pictures. All of these elements are combined into an eloquent whole that's pleasing to the eye, the ear and the mind. In other words, this one meets the high standard you've established for all your work.

I'm glad you used the word "uncontrived" in one of your poems, for I believe true elegance It may be raw material in each of us, but most people do not exude it, nor can true elegance be fabricated. It remains raw and untouched unless ignited by an inner spark. Those of whom people use the word "elegant" or, more commonly, "classy" (when they're thinking of "elegant") simply...are.

One can learn to be stylish, erudite and use perfect manners in every situation, but elegance is not something a person puts on like a glamorous garment. As you explained so well, natural elegance comes from within, emanating from a beautiful character.

When I was a child, my grandmother often said to me, "Beauty is as beauty does." That's an old-fashioned axiom, but one that still holds true. There are many beautiful people in the world today, and paparazzi ensure their photos are lined up on every newstand we pass. Yet, very few of the "beautiful people" are truly elegant.

I agree with Sha, Karen and all the others who see true elegance in you, Nellieanna. You are naturally elegant, a West Texas flower that bloomed among the rocks and cacti.

It helps, of course, if one is a woman, to have those lovely cheekbones, slim body and (the one I always yearned for in vain when, as a young woman, I looked at pictures of Audrey) a long graceful neck reminiscent of a swan's.

I smiled through your descriptions, both in the hub and in your responses to comments, about your love of and relationship to the ballet. I, too, loved ballet from an early age, but never had any hope of becoming a ballerina. Because I was five feet, three inches tall at age 12, I fully expected to grow into a tall woman with long legs. I only grew another half inch by adulthood.

Besides, I was anything but graceful or agile. "Klutzy" and "clumsy" are more accurate descriptors. That never stopped me from adoring ballet and ballerinas. I sketched ballerinas in all the basic positions inside all my notebooks and on every unused scrap of paper I encountered through my preteen years.

Voted Up++++ and shared


Martie Coetser from South Africa on November 04, 2013:

Beautiful! The ballet, the music, the poems, the entire hub!

You, Nellieanna, are most certainly exceptional elegant, radiating elegance and sophistication through your physical appearance, writings, art, everything you are and do.

I do believe elegance is in the genes, but then it either develop or disappear, depending on circumstances, experiences and upbringing. I see this daily in children. Little girls and boys want to dance, but not even 10% of them have the bone structure, slenderness, gracefulness, talent, demeanour, etc. to meet the criteria set for elegance and sophistication.

So sorry this CD of yours were born without this most-attractive quality. Oh, I wish I could have had 'it', but we can't have it all, can we?

I am always so in awe of elegant and sophisticated ladies. In their presence I may even behave like them... for a while until.... well, the merest can wipe my sophistication off my face and then me and myself have to prove that we are not completely the opposite, but somewhere in between.

Hugs galore to you, my dearest CM :)

Sally Gulbrandsen from Norfolk on November 04, 2013:

Beautiful elegant Hub with an equally elegant video. Loved the ballet and the music. Thank you for sharing.

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on November 04, 2013:

Nellieanna, I thoroughly enjoyed this article, although the audio didn't come through on the interview. :-(

To me, you are the epitome of elegance. You remind me of Audrey Hepburn and Maya Plisetskaya in so many ways. You are beautiful inside and out.

Karen Silverman on November 04, 2013:

To me, Nellieanna, YOU are the "Essence of Elegance" - and i mean that from my heart.

You have the beauty, the grace, the intelligence - of all these fine women combined! i DO adore Audrey Hepburn - she's who you remind me of most with that long, graceful throat!

Have a great week, dear. Just spread a little YOU around, and the world will be better for itxx(X)

Suzette Walker from Taos, NM on November 04, 2013:

What an elegant and lovely article. And, written by a woman that embodies elegance so well. I loved this article, especially your poetry - so beautifully and elegantly expressed. I have always admired the women and men you present as elegant here. I have always loved Audrey Hepburn and never miss her movies. She was also a ballet dance in her youth. I vaguely remember the Russian ballet dancer, but she surely is beautiful and elegant, especially her ballet. Elegance is something that has become rare in our society today, I believe and you had to go back in time to find those that embody it. Thanks for a lovely and interesting article about a rare virture.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on November 04, 2013:

“Athletes and socialites.” Oh my…that is an interesting combination. It sounds as though you handled this situation quite well, Nell. I had someone of similar influence in my life winthin our family; not my sister – someone else, but we’ll leave it at that. (Suffice it to say, there’s one in every crowd…isn’t there? ;-)) I would listen, politely, but I fear I’ve always had a bit of a rebel in my soul; it still pops up once in a while. It caused this individual to throw her hands up in dismay...but I learned from her as well. :-)

I thought of this wonderful hub while watching reruns of ‘Downton Abbey’ in anticipation of the new season that will arrive in the coming months. We mentioned elegance through symmetry without becoming overly complicated. This is Downton. The confluence of artistry (the writing and other elements) is really quite amazing. Each time I watch an episode, I notice something new. For example, the décor is refined and elegant in the bedrooms; but the colors are quite telling: The red and light gold wallpaper in Lady Mary's room are reflective of her passionate yet imperious nature. (I could never sleep in that room.) Conversely, the lighter, soft-colored earth tones in Lady Sybil’s room revealed more of her innocence, inner strength, and warmth. She had more personal items as well; once again, they were beautifully placed with an expert, decorative hand that reminded us of her stature in life.

Yes, I love the concept of “The Elegant Universe.” Whether through physics or the dynamics of the human condition, what is stunning is the realization that everything exists in relationship. How marvelous is that? And how elegant.

Have a wonderful week. :-)

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on November 04, 2013:

This whole thing takes me back to a glorious time. bless you

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Perhaps I overstated it, Shan. The comparison with Audrey Hepburn didn’t sit poorly with me. It simply felt familiar, more like myself and less like someone exotic. It was not unpleasant, nor outlandish. Just familiar. Her elegance was just natural, not something out of the studio's magic makeup boxes, turning her into a glam queen. Her impression was of someone I knew well, not a 'reach'. Perhaps, too, it was in sharp contrast with Harriet's being compared to Vivien Leigh as Scarlett in GWTW, which was the standard in the family for being compared to a movie star. ;)

My designing of clothes these days is mostly in coordinating, using my knack for putting things together so they look better than they are apart. I haven’t been clothes-sewing in many years and my wardrobe now is not only simple, but very casual and ’Sams’. haha

Your saying you felt like a frump is something like how I felt as described in my little capsule, “A Personal Moment” above in this hub, in which I mentioned that prolonged moment in time when I intensely felt I’d lost it, - the sense of having a positive sense and value of self.

It was a January, after I’d worn myself out making Christmas gifts, cooking all the extras, staying up all night elegantly wrapping gifts with almost nothing but imagination, which no one seemed to notice any of it.

I just felt like I’d expended everything I had and there was nothing left of me but feeling frumpy and, - yes - unappreciated! When I picked up that book, I suppose it was in hopes of finding some magic tips for fixing the exterior image staring back from the mirror. Instead, it brought me to my senses in an amazing way, . . . so much that it’s still indelible on my memory nearly half a century later; almost a personal epiphany. I simply found myself after years of limbo. The book was merely the conduit, not the answer. The answer was already lurking inside.

Ah - you may have a budding ‘determined little girl’ on your hands in that Dallas!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Thank you! I like that, Wayne. Makes me smile, especially the ‘potpourri of writing’! I guess that does describe it very accurately! :-)

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Hello, Blossom. I’m so happy you stopped by! Thank you. I know what you mean about that gulf between elegance and sophistication. The one is the epitome of genuineness. The other exudes a hint of falsity. When I think of elegance, I hear music by Jerome Kern, "All The Things You Are"; thinking of sophistication, I hear Cole Porter, "I Get A Kick Out Of You".

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 03, 2013:

I can understand why the comparison wouldn't sit to well with you then, but of course I have no such recollection or comparison - and I have always thought her to be elegant, especially in the simplicity. Gaudiness is not something that has ever appealed to me. Yet, you have a decided advantage with being elegant in style. . .you can design your own clothing! And I have very few things I actually like wearing. I feel like a big ol' frump, especially since the fire. Think maybe it's time I go shopping for myself! Haha.

To be quite honest, I am not sure how the arm movements in "Dying Swan" resemble those of Sponge Bob Square Pants, but then again, I can't say I pay much attention to that silly cartoon.

As for Dallas, that is exactly what I told her! Didn't stop her from trying, though. She's got the same color hair, too. I ought to let her watch the second video and see what she has to say about that one in color.

Wayne Barrett from Clearwater Florida on November 03, 2013:

Great tributes fine tuned with a touch of Nellieanna poetry. A wonderful potpourri of writing.

Bronwen Scott-Branagan from Victoria, Australia on November 03, 2013:

Lovely poems and some wonderful quotes. Enjoyed reading this interesting hub. Elegance is so different from sophistication.

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

My dear Shan, - I recall a moment such as that but no details. Since I was 21 in 1953, the year she debuted her film career in “Roman Holiday” (at age 24), family and friends have commented on my resemblance to her. I’d been compared to Mitzi Gaynor, Ann Blythe and Jean Simmons, all with similar cheekbones, jawlines & facial expressions; but I guess the resemblance was more pronounced with Audrey Hepburn,- and at the time, I was as skinny as she was, with the same 21-inch waistline! haha.

You may be aware that she was seen as very off-beat from the traditional film stars who were more voluptuous, contrived & glamourous. She was like a butterfly among the roses: - so whimsical.

So the comparison with her didn’t swell my head too much. I'd hoped to be more like Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor, rather than some upstart who flitted down from somewhere to upset the applecart!

She WAS like a kindred spirit or a friend more than an icon of elegance. She loved ballet - and was accomplished at it. I loved it and only played at it. Our love of and taste in clothes was similar, preferring elegant simplicity or our own zany choices. Her ethnic heritage is similar to mine with my abundance of Swiss, Dutch and German bloods. Otherwise, our vast differences: she was a European aristrocrat, while I was a country bumpkin from Texas. She saw hardship during WWII. I saw hardship with the cacti and rocks. She was an accomplished actress. I was so beset with stage fright, I would be unable to perform at all. And on and on. Similarities and differences. Yet there is always a place in my being in which I feel a kinship. Know what I mean?

I’m entranced by the image of your children getting into one of the videos! I agree with Curtis. I don’t know Sponge Bob but I can’t see how her arms move like willows in the breeze, ripples in a stream and the feathers of the swans! Tell Dallas that the ballerinas must study and practice for years and years before they even get the chance to dance on the stage. But I’m with her. I so wanted to do just that. I saw “The Red Shoes” when I was 16 and was enamored of ballet for years. (Have a hub about it, too). I wore soft Capezio ballet slippers (for everyday - not healthy for my feet!) and could walk, if not dance, on my toes like the dancers do even in those soft-toed slippers, or even barefoot. I danced around the house to ballet music, with body movements of a ballerina, expressing the music in those movements, as Maya says must happen.

The last video on here translates her thoughts of what it’s all about and shows her dancing some more lively ballets. Curtis & Dallas might like seeing some of that. When I watch her dance, every muscle in my body is trying to do it! haha

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Dear Laurie, yes - it’s less apparent in these times in which the general focus is almost deliberately turned AWAY from what is beautiful and graceful in traditional ways. But elegance is not a feature of any one era. That things have changed and moved on with the times simply highlights that new expressions of elegance (which is still and always is something within people and expressed by them) must and will find new outlets for its expression! It is, can and will be seen in refinements of the technological and various artistic genres of the present and future eras, is all.

A case in point: my own early youth in the 1930s and 40s overheard much adult lamenting the 'modern' loss of grace and elegance they saw in that era! By the same token, those adults’ own elders had bemoaned the same loss in their newer generation; and so it’s been both backward & forward in time! Every older generation is sure the younger ones have gone mad and lost sight of all that is precious and worthwhile. In our own haste to see the errors of their ways, we, too, may forget that it is not WHAT people do to express elegance but having it within and expressing it in how it’s DONE - with verve, insight, inner joy & understanding of ‘the nature of things”. Its actual form may be foreign to us, but it’s inner elegance will speak to us if we let it.

Of course the current generations are focused on the things of these/their own times. Some of them can and do ferret out what is valuable and lasting among those things! I can promise you that.

Many filmmakers are finding new outlets for their creative elegance! Oh, not in the style of Rudolph Valentino’s or Audrey Hepburn’s flicks but with key messages and value of their own. Remember, before there were films, they did it on the stage, live. That had its own following and critics! Likewise in the fields of music, art, literature, technology, and so on! Not the same, but as potent, with the key factor being the elegance of those that create with it.

If one could walk through those prior times, not with today’s awareness, but with the awareness of each earlier time’s own denizens, one would see the flaws and ‘near-misses’ and wonder why in the world they thought that was or would be any good! Same as now, one would need to be able to see within their creators to understand the beauty of the effort to transmit inspiration into someTHING others could see and enjoy.

‘Now’ is the same at that level, except that incredible acceleration and interaction all over the globe put more pressure on it all, and we’re all more impatient and critical, less forgiving of errors, which generates a kind of tension, which, of course, is reflected in the output, as well. Not that people of past generations didn’t have the challenges, but not in such intensity. On the other hand, feedback was slow and sluggish, so that they didn’t have the advantage of finding out what they’d done was good or not.

I use Photoshop Elements to make the titles. My titles are actually graphics which I design and make with a combination of my own stuff & features of the photo program. Thank you for noticing. The little framed self-quote at the end was also made the same way, using elements I brought together to make it on Photoshop Elements. I’ve used Photoshop arty programs since I started my website in 1997. I’m not one of their expert users; I just find what I like on them and adapt to suit myself. Guess that proves one needn’t be an expert, but does need the verve and sense of it - and courage to just do it!

Thank you so much for your lovely comments!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Dear Billy, among the truly elegant giants of our Hubs: Didn’t I mention that simplicity is the hallmark of elegance? YOU have just demonstrated the concept to a T! Your impeccable style always glitters even in the briefest of expressions! Thank you, dear friend for your comment. It’s everything I could ever hope for in one comment! Hugs!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Genna - your lovely words are a tribute to elegance themselves! You said what I meant! I could quote each of your eloquent sentences about it. They echo its spirit.

I’m especially fond of this: “. . . It is natural in its beauty and grace, yet precise. There is symmetry to elegance . . . ” Wish I’d said that!

Though elegance is not self-conscious in relationship to others, it is aware of its own needs and responsibilities, and tends to them. In ways, it’s similar to being ‘self-actualized’ so that the person isn’t constantly concerned about what others think of him, but simply& naturally interacts WITH people, rather than trying to act UPON them. One senses this, even in leaders with the quality of elegance. They ‘lead’ others; they don’t try to 'drag’ others along.

Considered at this level, beyond and beneath the ‘appearance’ of elegance, which, of course, nearly everyone recognizes, its underlying traits which cause it TO be apparet are somewhat esoteric, which I knew when I started writing this. I’s appeal will not be general or commercial! haha

But it is those very esoteric traits which interested me and which I wanted to explore. I see those traits in and underlying others’ elegance of person and of expression in the things they do and bring into existence, such as in poetry, music, architecture, medical expertise, agriculture, sports: - whatever they imbue with the spirit of their own elegance.

Though I didn’t mention it, great spiritual leaders have possessed it abundantly, more than mere charisma, because it’s all-encompassing within the person, rather than focused on effects on others. Elegance certainly generates charisma, but not vice versa. Generating followings isn’t its purpose, intent or effect. It’s inside seeking expression which may or may not be noticed by others, depending on their own elegant discernment! While the things created by an elegant spirit reflect it, people are not things and cannot be imprinted or cloned with another’s elegance.

So it often turns out that followers of great spiritual leaders fail to ‘get the message’ at the underlying level, but see it demonstrated in their leader, then end up imposing it on future followers, so that they do NOT ‘lead’ but attempt to ‘drag’ in followers, who, in turn have learned to drag rather than lead. One needn’t look too far from the source to see even the greatest of inspirations transposing into that sad state, so that being dragged becomes almost the only possible incentive or passageway for anyone to join, short of divine intervention, (Quite another subject, though I’ve a DVD titled “The Elegant Universe”! :-) Don’t you love that concept and isn't it one?

My brief list of some elegant individuals omits so many others. The roster is vast and varied, happily disproving the idea that 'elegance' is some sort of stuffy, sissy, upper-chamber protocol which most ordinary humans could not - perhaps would not desire to - achieve if they lived to the age of Methusalah!

I recently read a letter my eldest sister wrote our parents about her attempt to educate me for society in which she actually claimed that 'sissy boys' (i.e.: scholastics, artists, musicians, writers, spiritual types) are all low-down, all about sex, and only the athletes and socialites have their minds on better things! In this training, courtesy could not be relied on to spring from the heart, but HAD to be learned by rote. Fashion sense - well - mine wouldn't do (though I was very good at it and studying it in school!) - hers had to be substituted! :-) - I did get some pretty things that way, though, only to be criticized for being 'grabby' if I wanted something I'd chosen for myself!

It was all part of the mantra of her 'set' & she truly thought she'd be helping me immensely if she could somehow perform a mind-transplant on me, dispose of my own ideas, so that I'd turn out a Harriet-clone! haha. She did teach me lots, I admit, but that attitude was not in me to cultivate, as she was complaining to our parents, calling me an 'ungrateful child' - (I was 21)!

I could easily have included my mother and a sister or two in my list. ;-) Certainly, any broader a list would have to include you, my dear Genna! Also, because I think everyone has or had seeds of elegance within,’tis simpler & wiser to mention a few examples of the traits.

Thank you, dear lovely lady - for a delightful comment!

Nellieanna Hay (author) from TEXAS on November 03, 2013:

Thank you, Jodah! An elegant commentary on my commentary on Elegance! I appreciate those kind words and thank you for being the first visitor!

(By the way, I was told I looked like Audrey when we were both young. ;-)

I replied to your comment last night when I saw it, but the reply wouldn’t post right. Hope it’s better behaved this morning! (Ah! It is!)

Shannon Henry from Texas on November 03, 2013:

Oh my!!! Remember when we were talking about that photo of you and something you said or did that reminded me of Audrey Hepburn. I couldn't at the time really put into words what it was. And I can't now exactly remember the conversation, only that it also had to do with Audrey Hepburn's style. Might have even been two separate conversations. Anyway. . .you've captured it here. . .what it is about YOU that reminds me of her - aside from looking like her in that photo, that is. (Maybe you should include that photo here. ;). . .)

As for the rest of your hub, the kids watched the first video with me. Curtis wanted to know how she moves her arms like Sponge Bob. And Dallas wanted to know all about how ballerinas dance like that. Then she attempted to imitate her. It was quite fun to watch my daughter try.

Have a fantastic day, my elegant friend!

Rayne123 on November 03, 2013:

Wow great hub on earlier eloquence. These woman and men say it all with their class, beauty and talent.

It shows that we do not need to show ourselves to be beautiful as the times are today. I would love to walk through those times.

Your poetry and quote at end is superb. (how did you do your title like that)

The tribute done to these earlier icons was amazing. thank you


Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 03, 2013:

Prose....poetry...biographies....everything you could ever hope for all in one article. Beautifully written, Nellieanna.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on November 03, 2013:

The moment I read the title, I thought, “this is Nellieanna.” I can’t think of another who could describe this characteristic so well. You have chosen examples that embody this human quality, superbly. Audrey Hepburn captured this essence, perfectly…one of my favorite actresses. Greta Garbo is another. Elegance goes beyond the beauty imbued with the slender reed and blooming flower; its spirit echoes character. It is natural in its beauty and grace, yet precise. There is symmetry to elegance; it resides in the simplicity and refinement in certain forms of architecture. I have long thought that elegance runs deep; it is as unshakeable as it is inspiring. It exists in the ease and eloquence of Chanel; the purity and clarity of DaVinci; the grace and humanity of Paul Newman who always reminded me of my father. It also thrives throughout the brilliant poetry that is the gift of Nellieanna. :-)

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on November 03, 2013:

Wonderful poetry and commentary on the true meaning of elegance Nellieanna. It is an attribute that you are blessed with. It shines through all your words, images and videos. I agree that Audrey Hepburn was the ultimate example of elegance. Well done, beautiful stuff.

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