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Ballerina Pig

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Performer:
Ballerina

The Ballerina Pig, with Rudolf Nureyev

Design Team:
Michael K. Frith • (designer)
Mari Kaestle • (builder)

According to Brian Henson, the Ballerina Pig puppet was built in response to Rudolf Nureyev's desire to dance with Miss Piggy in The Muppet Show. Due to the obvious complications of attempting a dance piece with one partner who does not exist below the waist, a compromise was made, and Nureyev was paired in episode 213 with a pig dancer for Swine Lake.

Some of the publicity surrounding this episode of The Muppet Show, including a piece in TIME magazine, mistook the Ballerina Pig for Miss Piggy herself. The mistake was perpetuated in later years, from a 1988 New York Times piece on Nureyev's birthday to a 1999 LA Times discussion of Miss Piggy while reviewing Muppets from Space. They are, in fact, two different characters; this porcine dancer, apart from being a full body character, was also brunette.

The ballerina pig was built out of foam rubber, with measurements of 104 inches by 80 inches by 96 inches, and wore a tutu made from 40 yards of tulle.

The puppet was used again in the series as the giant pig impersonating Sweetums in episode 224.

Sources

  • TIME, Nov. 7, 1977.

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