Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pose-able Barbies: Jazz Baby, Alvin Ailey, Harley Davidson

When I was a child, Barbie had a twist'n turn waist and bendable knees. Today - thanks to greater articulation in other fashion dolls like Momoko, Susie, Fashion Royalty, etc. - sometimes, Barbie can move her head, twist, fully bend her knees, bend her elbows and sometimes, bend her wrists. Here are some of the more pose-able Barbies:

Let's begin with the Harley Davidson Barbie #5 (2001), the third doll from the left. HD Barbie has the "gymnast" body used for sports Barbies in the 1990s. Her head can move up, down, down, back, side to side. Her elbows bend as do her knees. She has a twist waist (covered by the black teddy she wears).

The first doll from the left is the Cabaret Dancer Barbie from the Jazz Baby series (2007). The CD Barbie has the new "Pivotal" body, introduced with the Jazz Baby dolls. In addition to the articulation listed for the HD Barbie, CD Barbie's wrist bends. Her waist does not twist, but her upper torso can twist as seen by the "break" under her bra line. Like the HD Barbie, she could ride a motorcycle or a horse, but neither she nor the HD Barbie can sit with their legs completely akimbo as the ToyBiz Gandalf shown in the male yoga class photo below.

The last doll is the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Barbie (2009). As you can see in the photos, she and the CD Barbie have the same bodies EXCEPT for her modified, arched feet, more in keeping for modern/ballet dance positions. The CD Barbie feet are flatter and less arched for cabaret dances.

Both the Cabaret Dancer Barbie and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre Barbie have thinner arms and legs than the Harley Davidson Barbie. The joints are more discreet than with the Harley Davidson Barbie.

If you are interested in reading more about articulated fashion dolls, please read this Men With Dolls thread.


Niel said...

I really like when you try to compare dolls. Having the dolls you are comparing in one photo to show size comparison also helps. I like the articulation of the CD doll but don't you think they're too thin?

D7ana said...

Thanks for enjoying the doll comparisons. My favorite recent article in one of the doll magazines - FDQ or Haute Doll - showed 13 dolls standing and seated to compare them. Loved that article!

I think the Jazz Baby dolls are incredibly thin. I like their ability to pose, but yes, they do seem to have been starved. I mean if "regular" Barbies are considered thin, these Barbies seem to have dropped ten MORE pounds.

Susies, Momokos, Misakis, and Volks Who's That Girl dolls, while small and delicate, do not convey the same starved look. Those jointed dolls just seem small boned.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the informative article!

D7ana said...

You're welcome, Margaret! Thanks for reading it ;-D

GetMeStarted said...

I created a survey and I am hoping to send the results to Mattel, in a plea for them to begin producing articulated body-only dolls (no clothes, no accessories, no heads, no fancy packaging), in a variety of skin tones, for adults who rebody our Barbie dolls.

Would you please participate in my survey and tell as many others as possible? (Thanks so much!)

D7ana said...

Hi Kristl! I completed the survey tonight; will post about the survey tomorrow. I think it's a great idea. Thanks for thinking about adult collectors' needs ;-D

GetMeStarted said...

Thank you so much! That would be awesome if you could post about it. I also appreciate the tweet you sent out. I really hope Mattel will do this, and I think it will help if I can show them that there are enough of us adult collectors who rebody dolls who are interested, and that it can be a profitable line for them to add.


D7ana said...

You're welcome, Leslie! Do you have a website or online photo album that I can direct other collectors to? Let me know and I'll add a post here on PhillyCollector. And another tweet.

Would be great if we collector-enthusiasts united for this important cause.

GetMeStarted said...

I have a flickr account where I post my doll pictures. It's . (For some reason, when I left my second comment, I left out the link. I need to figure out how to add it to my Blogger profile.) I have several Collections (on the right side of the screen in the link above) that make it easier to find who's who and what's what. I have several dolls who are characters in stories I'm telling. (I have a whole lot more planned that hasn't been added yet.)

I live not far from Philly. Do you know if there are any groups locally who get together to photograph their dolls together? It might be a fun thing to start, if not.

D7ana said...

I've posted about your survey and added a link to your Flickr account - and yes, that D7ana contact addition is from me. Hope your survey can reach the marketing mavens of Mattel and inspire them to act positively.

I do not know of any local groups that get together to photograph their dolls - I don't know how active P.O.S.S.E. is now, but they used to meet to share hobby findings and tips. There is a Barbie club, but they seem content with the members they have. Shrug. I seldom hear from local collectors. Ms. Leo of I-Luv-Dolls is local, but we have not met due to our schedules not synching yet. Yes, it would be lovely to meet with local collectors and to improve my photography with them ;-D

My email is d7ana @ . Let me know what your ideas are regarding such a group meeting - I am in mid-move mode, but I can listen and respond.

GetMeStarted (Leslie) said...

Thank you so much, again! I set up a blog as well, at and I'm working on a facebook page.

Are you still going to be in the Philly area after your move? I have a local friend who also does doll photography. I can look into setting up a group and will email you about it if you would like, and I can invite Ms. Leo also.

Thank you again - I really appreciate your help!

D7ana said...

Hi Leslie! My pleasure. Glad to do anything to promote DAF (doll and action figure) fun. Improved articulation = promoting DAF fun. Hope it helps win Mattel's heart/bottom line ;-D

Yes, I will be in Philly after the move. Yes, please do email me at d7ana @ - I broke up my email address so any spammers looking for a quick target bypass my address.