With his clever, caustic, comical poems in both Yiddish and English, Stanley Siegelman — a constant contributor to Der Vinkl — continues to amaze and amuse us.
What follows are both his Yiddish and English versions of the plight of the ballerina who lost her job with the Bolshoi Ballet because she was deemed “overweight.”
Di ‘Zaftige’ Ballerina
Oy, oyf der bime fun Bolshoy
In Moskve dortn tantst a froy.
Di tantsike iz shlank un dar
(Azoy muz zayn a “ballet star.”)
Nor plitsling kumt a komisar
Un zogt zi’s zaftig (aza nar!)
Zi vegt a hundert funt, nit mer
(S’iz veyniker fun Fred Astaire)
“Tsufil fleyshik dayne tush iz!
“Dos iz epes anti-Rusish!”
Vos tut men ven a komisar
Zet zaftikayt. Es iz “bizar!”
Di mener kenen mit ir nit tantsn
(Zogt er) —‘Siz tsu shver in gantsn.
A man vos heybt zi oyf tsum “heights”
Vet hobn a kile in zayn “tights.”
Un ven zi makht a “pirouette”
Der man vet shrayen “du bist tsu fet!”
Un ven er git tsu ir a “twirl”
Kvetsht er, “Du bist tsu zaftig, girl!”
Der komisar iz “bellicose”
“He keeps the dancers on their toes.”
Er veyst kayn emis — er iz falsh
Er gloybt ir “tutu” shvimt mit shmalts.
Ver, take, ken im gebn klep?
Oy, Bolshoy meydl, “Vatsh your steppe!”
The Plump Ballerina
At Bolshoi, theater of acclaim,
On stage cavorts a skinny dame!
She bubbles like a samovar
As well befits a ballet star.
But now a commissar decrees
“You’ll dance no more! You are obese!”
(She weighs a hundred pounds, we swear,
A weight that’s less than Fred Astaire.)
“You’re much too fleshy where you oughta
Be quite slim in hindmost quarter!”
No logic moves a commissar
Whose slant on zaftig is bizarre!
No man can dance with her, says he
This tyrant of Terpsichore!
He claims who’er lifts her to heights
Would “herniate” within his tights.
And when she pirouettes her rump
The man would cry, “You’re much too plump.”
And when her partner makes her twirl
He’d shout, “Avoirdupois, old girl!”
By harping on the adipose
One keeps the dancers on their toes.
Oh, commissar, such arrogance!
With you no dancer stands a chance!
A Bolshoi dancee must be hep
And quickly learn to watch her steppe!