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Realm of the dance: vintage news.

In the June 1927 inaugural issue of The American Dancer -- the publication later absorbed by Dance Magazine -- news was published under the above heading. This department has also been called Via the Grapevine, Tempo!, Callboard, Dance Datelines, News Cues and Hullabaloos, and, since the early 1960s, Presstime News. Following are some highlights of news over the last seventy years, as originally reported. The original spelling of names has been retained, as have other style variations. Items have been edited for space. For current news -- including a report on Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's first tour to South Africa -- please see page 148.

OCTOBER 1927: Isadora Duncan -- an exotic creature whose spirit was as prismatic as the dances for which she was adored -- who opened to the world un-dreamed-of vistas portrayed by the art of significant gesture -- has passed on, but she leaves behind a rich heritage of beauty and inspiration. Her avowed desire to depart this world, expressed a few hours before her death, alleviates the sadness of her passing.

NOVEMBER 1927: Ernest Belcher reports the activities of his studios are exceeding previous years and his work is becoming more widespread. Many film stars are among [his] pupils: Bessie Love, Joseph Streicher, Lillian Gish, John Gilbert, Margaret Livingston and Rod La Rocque.

OCTOBER 1929: With the death of Serge Diaghillef in Italy, one of the most colorful careers of the dancing world was prematurely ended.

FEBRUARY 1930: Ida Rubinstein is so versatile that she has announced she is not decided whether she will give performances at the Paris Opera of her recent successful ballet or stage several dramas. (In 1930, Rubinstein's most recent productions were Leonide Massine's Les Enchantements d'Alcine and Bronislava Nijinska's La Valse.)

FEBRUARY 1931: January twenty-second found dance-minded Los Angeles at the Philharmonic Auditorium, spellbound under the charm of La Argentina's flashing personality and eloquent castanets. With one more number scheduled on the program, L.E. Behymer, beloved impresario. stepped before the curtain. "We would like to ask that you all remain seated after Madame Argentina's next number for an announcement of vital importance." The words seared themselves on the brain of everyone who had been watching the bulletins from Madame Pavlova's sick room at The Hague -- and fearful eyes were turned one to the other for reassurance. "Not that -- it could not be!"

La Argentina, seemingly suddenly heavy of heart went through her final numbers with a showmanship that will not soon be forgotten. The audience remained seated confidently expecting the encore that La Argentina usually gives. Behymer stepped before the curtain and explained that Madame Argentina was unable to continue due to the news of the sudden death of Anna Pavlova.

JUNE 1933: Pauline Koner, on her return from Europe, opened her new studio in New York City, at 1947 Broadway.

JULY 1933: Witnessing the ballet performance by the San Francisco Operatic and Ballet School at the Opera House on June second, one had to remind one's self that one was present at a performance of a school, which had been at work for four months only. In a varied and colorful program Adolph Bolm offered choreographic sketches and short ballets in which the classical ballet competed with the boldness of line of the modern dance. Bolm and his principal dancer, Elise Reiman, gave a few duets and solos.

Gaetano Merola and the Women's Committee of the S.F. Opera Association have created a great artistic center in the West, the importance of which for the city is to show itself in the nearest future.

OCTOBER 1937: Ginger Rogers will be starred along with Katharine Hepburn in Stage Door.

DECEMBER 1937: A contract, brought about by the controversy between dancers and the Hollywood Bowl management, has been signed between the Southern California Symphony and the American Guild of Musical Artists.

* Rights to the Nijinsky biography are owned by R.K.O. Alexander Korda has long held the option on this book, but has released it. R.K.O.'s action in purchasing it seems to indicate that [it has] Fred Astaire in mind for the part. It is unlikely much of the story will pass the Hays office censorship. Universal Pictures has owned the Isadora Duncan story for years, but it has never been produced for the same reason.

SEPTEMBER 1938: Romola Nijinsky writes that Nijinsky was showing great improvement of his mental condition from insulin treatments but that they have been stopped because of lack of funds.

OCTOBER 1938: 1938-39 dance season will open Oct. 9 with the 1st N.Y. performance of Martha Graham's new work American Document, the 1st production in which Graham appears with a male dancer: Erick Hawkins, soloist and a choreographer of Lincoln Kirstein's Ballet Caravan.

* The premier dancers which will make their bows with the Massine company at the Metropolitan are Leonide Massine, Alexandra Danilova, Serge Lifar, Tamara Toumanova, Alicia Markova, Mia Slavenska, Nini Theilade, Nathalie Krassovska, Frederic Franklin, Igor Youskevitch and Nina Tarakanova.

NOVEMBER 1939: One chief difference between the ballet front and the battle front seems to be that there is more action on the ballet front. The announcement of the formation of the Ballet Theatre has created a great deal of interest. Although it is said to be in no way an outgrowth of the Mordkin ballet of last season, it does supersede the Mordkin company. Evidence of this is the retention of four of that company's most successful ballets: Voices of Spring, The Gold Fish, Giselle, and La Fille Mal Gardee. Plans call for at least a three week New York engagement opening January 4.

Its interest and activity center around the choreographers who will provide its repertoire: Michel Fokine, Adolph Bolm, Mikhail Mordkin, Jose Fernandez, Antony Tudor, Andree Howard, Agnes de Mille, and Eugene Loring. Principal dancers include: Patricia Bowman, Edward Caton, Lucia Chase, Karen Conrad, Leon Danielian, Vladimir Dokoudovsky, Wm. Dollar, Viola Essen, Andree Howard, Kari Kanakoski, Alexis Kosloff, Hugh Laing, Eugene Loring, Annabelle Lyon, Peter Michael, Jack Potteiger, Dimitri Romanoff, Nina Stroganova, Antony Tudor and Leon Varkas.

OCTOBER 1942: Moscow -- A young woman pilot, whose war task was towing small gliders over the German lines to release them so they could circle down and secretly discharge their crews, arrived in Moscow from behind Stalingrad, where she had been training parachutists. During one of these trips, her plane was attacked by a Heinkel, and forced down in No Man's Land, whence she escaped on foot to Russian lines, returning next day to repair and rescue her machine. Her name? Olga Sushchinskaya. Occupation: Ballet dancer, formerly with the Bolshoi.

* Nathaniel Wolff was on the stage of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City August 22, talking with Massine, when someone approached them to say that a phone call had come from New York saying that Fokine had died. Massine assembled the entire company and asked for silence. "I have some very bad news for you," he said, "our great and beloved Michael Fokine is dead. I hope you all realize what this loss means to us and to ballet."

APRIL 1946: Nora Kaye will retire from Ballet Theatre and marry playwright Arthur Laurents.

JULY 1948: Jose Greco, on the eve of his severance from Ballet Espanol, received an ovation at the Teatro Montalba in Madrid, such as has not been remembered there in 20 years.

SEPTEMBER 1948: The Ballet Society will present no new productions this season. The activities of the Society, which operates as a part of the New York City Center, under the name New York City Ballet, will be on view for an eight week season beginning October 11. The direction of New York City Ballet is the same as that of the Ballet Society, to wit: George Balanchine, Lincoln Kirstein, Leon Barzin.

NOVEMBER 1948: This issue includes a seven-page exchange of letters on one of the major controversies of the year: the appearance of former Paris Opera Ballet director Serge Lifar at the Commemoration of the Golden Anniversary of the City of New York, and the picketing of this appearance by the American Dancers' Anti-Fascist Protest Committee. "No haven and no homage should be granted to unregenerate Nazi collaborators," wrote the committee in its letter. Lifar was director of the Paris Opera Ballet during the Nazi occupation of Paris, and some felt he had been a collaborator. In Lifar's defense, British dance scholar Arnold Haskell wrote that Lifar was "the victim of professional jealousy from the less gifted and more especially of the hatred of the communists."

FEBRUARY 1949: The New York City Ballet company had its first independent season at the New York City Center January 13-23, presenting new works by Jerome Robbins, Antony Tudor and the first public performance of Merce Cunningham's The Seasons.

* Katherine Dunham not only hit Paris on its collective head, but went to the head of great Parisian couturiers. Advance reports claim that next season, Madame's clothes will flavour strongly of Dunham and the Caribbean.

* The December 29 benefit performance for Jacob's Pillow, given at the Hunter Playhouse, was distinguished by some of the finest talent ever collected and by some of the most distinguished mismanagement and feeble publicity ever perpetrated in the history of the American theatre. As Buddy Ebsen put it on viewing the handful of spectators, "Doesn't look like it's goin' to be a well stuffed Pillow!"

MARCH 1949: Sybil Shearer presented Merce Cunningham at North Shore Country Day School in Chicago on February 3. A feature of Cunningham's performance was a new dance, composed for him by Miss Shearer the night before the concert.

* Violinist Isaac Stern has not seen wife Nora Kaye dance on the stage. When the honeymooning pair was in Chicago, he thought it might be good to get his first view of [her] at work in movies taken by Ann Barzel. Nora thought it a good idea, because she wanted to see her husband's immediate reaction. The first few feet of film unrolled in silence; then came the exclamation from Stern, "Gee, these are clear pictures! What lens opening did you use?"

AUGUST 1949: Pearl Primus, exploring deepest Africa for native dances, has been renamed Omobowale, meaning "The Daughter returns Home" by Yoruba chieftains.

* The wealth of dancing talent in the San Francisco area has been a long time coagulating, but at last, in the Pacific Dance Theater which made its bow at the Geary Theater on July 9, it has done eminently. (PDT members included Anna Halprin and Merriem Lanova.)

OCTOBER 1949: The invasion is at hand. On October 3, Air France will deliver a planeload of French dancers, all of the Ballets de Paris, at Idlewild Airport. October 4, BOAC will deliver two planes full of Sadler's Wells at La Guardia. It is difficult to say when so many foreign dancers of such rank, magnitude, and numbers have debouched (sic) upon our shores at the same time.

An accompanying calendar lists the Sadler's Wells season at the Metropolitan Opera House as Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Rake's Progress, Symphonic Variations, Facade, Hamlet, Miracle in the Gorbals, A Wedding Bouquet, Job, Checkmate, and Apparitions. The dancers are Margot Fonteyn, Robert Helpmann, Moira Shearer, Beryl Grey, Violetta Elvin, Pamela May, Harold Turner, Michael Somes, Alexis Rassine, John Hall, and a company of 60 under the direction of Ninette de Valois, Frederick Ashton, and Constant Lambert.

MAY 1950: Death came for Vaslav Nijinsky in London on April 8, 1950 -- a merciful death, thirty-two years after the curtain had rung down with finality upon Vaslav Nijinsky, the dancer. Such was the destiny of one of the chosen -- thirty-two years behind the curtain of partial amnesia and madness, a token, for those who care to remember, that this is how the gods treat those they love.

JULY 1955: Bob Joffrey, in England to stage 2 ballets for Ballet Rambert, returns to teach at the Cornish School, Seattle in July. He will also choreograph 2 musicals for Seattle's "Music Under the Stars," with Gerald Arpino as leading dancer.

OCTOBER 1955: Martha Graham & Co. begin their long-awaited tour of Asia in Tokyo Oct. 31. Backed by the State Dept's Int'l Exchange Program and ANTA, the 4-month tour will include Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Malaya, Thailand, Burma, Indonesia, India, Pakistan, Ceylon, Iran and Iraq. The Co. consists of: Helen McGehee, Ethel Winter, Linda Hodes, Man Turney, Ellen van der Hoeven, Esta McKayle, Christine Lawson, Marian Sarach, Robert Cohan, Stuart Hodes, Bertram Ross, David Wood, Cameron McCosh, Donald McKayle, and Paul Taylor.

NOVEMBER 1955: New musicals which may need dancers: ... East Side Story (Jerome Robbins).

FEBRUARY 1959: Doris Humphrey, American dancer and choreographer, died of cancer December 29 at the Flower and Fifth Avenue Hospital, to which she was admitted the day before Christmas. Her age was sixty-three. A foremost figure in the development of American modern dance for the last three decades, she was active as Director of the Dance Department of the 92nd Street YM-YWHA, and Artistic Director of the Juilliard Dance Theatre, the Jose Limon Co., and the Merry-Go-Rounders in recent years. (This obituary was based on one in the New York Times.)

APRIL 1959: The Bolshoi Ballet makes its American debut Apr. 16-May 9 in the very capitalistic surroundings of the Metropolitan Opera House. 200 strong, the company represents the largest-scale ballet import in U.S. theatrical history. Opening night tickets have a top price of $50 apiece. Galina Ulanova will head the troupe.

APRIL 1960: The hit musical, West Side Story, is now to be a color movie. Jerome Robbins will co-direct.

SEPTEMBER 1960: The American Ballet Theatre, Lucia Chase and Oliver Smith, directors, IS going to Russia! -- the 1st American Co. to appear there. The co. is headed by Maria Tallchiet, Lupe Serrano, Toni Lander, Ruth Ann Koesun, Ady Addor, Erik Bruhn, Royes Fernandez, John Kriza, Scott Douglas, Glen Tetley and guest artist Igor Youskevitch.

NOVEMBER 1960: Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo & the American Guild of Musical Artists finally signed a basic agreement. This pact provides for a new minimum wage for touring of $115 per week.

FEBRUARY 1961: George Balanchine, invited to the White House by Mrs. Kennedy, was one of the 1st official guests of the new administration.

* Alvin Ailey appears in his 1st dramatic role in new off-B'way prod. of "Call Me By My Right Name," opening Feb. 1 at 1 Sheridan Square.

* The New Year started with a rush for NYC Ballet's Edward Villella. On the aft. of Jan. 1 he danced on TV's "Omnibus" in excerpts from Figure in the Carpet, that eve. in "Music for a New Year's Night -- class of `61." On Jan. 2 at City Center he gave his 1st perf. as the Cavalier in "The Nutcracker."

JULY 1961: Scratch the name of Rudolf Nureyev from the list of Leningrad Maryinsky Ballet stars due to open an American tour Sept. 11 at the Metropolitan Opera. On June 16 at the Paris airport, the 23-year-old lead dancer suddenly broke away from the Soviet security agents and asked airport police for political asylum.

FEBRUARY 1962: The USA debut of Rudolf Nureyev took place on the Bell Telephone Hour January 19 over NBC. Replacing Erik Bruhn, who had an injury, he danced opposite Maria Tallchief in the Bournonville Flower Festival Pas de Deux.

MARCH 1962: Rudolf Nureyev makes his first live appearance in the USA with Ruth Page's Chicago Opera Ballet at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, March 10. Co.'s one-shot program includes a "Don Quixote" pas de deux by Nureyev and Sonia Arova.

JUNE 1962,: On April 11 the Paul Taylor Dance Co. made its Parisian debut on the tiny stage of the Theatre de Lutece.

JANUARY 1963: Jose Limon and an expanded co. of 22 will perform Missa Brevis and The Moor's Pavane Jan. 5 in Lincoln Center's Philharmonic Hall. The event marks the 1st appearance by a dance co. in the new auditorium.

JANUARY 1964: On the morning of December 16 the professional ballet world awoke to discover that Christmas had arrived early. The Ford Foundation had left under the tree 9 beautiful bundles in the form of 9 grants totalling $7,765,750! As the gift wrappings were removed there were many squeals of delight, with an obbligato of wails on the sidelines from some who were bypassed. The lion's share goes to the NYC Ballet and its School of American Ballet.

FEBRUARY 1964: The NYC Ballet, in winding up its 35th season Jan. 26 at City Center, is also bidding farewell for at least 2 years (and possibly for good) to the theatre which has housed it since 1948. It reopens April 23 as the official ballet co. of the new NY State Theater in Lincoln Center.

MOVEMBER 1965: President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a new Federal aid-to-the-arts bill. The legislation creates a National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities and authorizes the govt. to spend $63 million for grants and subsidies in the next 3 yrs. The President indicated that new works of music and art will be commissioned and that a national repertory theatre, opera, film institute, and ballet will be supported. The bill allots only $10 million a yr. to all the arts (the remainder going to "humanities"). Among the dance guests present at the White House were Agnes de Mille, Lincoln Kirstein & Rebekah Harkness.

SEPTEMBER 1966: Martine van Hamel, soloist with Nat'l Ballet of Canada, has returned from the 3rd Int'l Ballet Competition at Varna with an impressive collection of honors. She received 1st prize in the dancer under 21 category and the gold medal for best artistic interpretation in any category.

JUNE 1967: Ann Halprin's Dancers' workshop of SF, which performed April 21-22 at Hunter College, faces a summons from the Manhattan District Attorney should it ever come back to NYC. Summons was occasioned by the performers' removing their clothes at the opening of "Parades and Changes," which according to an assistant district attorney constitutes indecent exposure and a violation of the penal code.

JUNE 1969: Suzanne Farrell, 23-yr. old ballerina of NYC Ballet and a protegee of dir. George Balanchine, announced May 12 that she and her husband, Paul Mejia had resigned from the co. Reason stated was casting policy, specifically that in respect to Mejia. [They] charged that since their marriage Feb. 21 Mejia's roles had been drastically curtailed. The incident which prompted the resignation was the May 8 NYC Ballet Fund Gala. The program was to include Symphony in C with Edward Villella in the 3rd movement. Villella, however, also cast in the preview of Jerome Robbins' "Dances at a Gathering," announced that he thought he could not dance in both works. Mejia felt he should have had the role; instead, "Stars and Stripes" was substituted.

OCTOBER 1970: Natalya Makarova, a leading ballerina of the Kirov Ballet, obtained political asylum in London on Sept. 4, the end of the co.'s 6-wk season at Royal Festival Hall. Miss Makarova attended rehearsals in the morning and told friends she was going to do a little last minute shopping before the co. left for Holland. Instead, she phoned Scotland Yard and explained that she wanted to stay in Britain.

MOVEMBER 1970: Suzanne Farrell has joined Maurice Bejart's Ballet of the 20th Century.

AUGUST 1974: Mikhail Barishnikov, the 26-year-old star Kirov dancer who defected to the Canadian government on July 2, has been signed by ABT, giving his first performance with the company (and in the U.S.) on July 27 when he partnered Natalia Makarova in "Giselle." On July 2, [he] reportedly leaped into a waiting car during a reception in Toronto for the company of Bolshoi and Kirov dancers who had just completed the season there. He went immediately into hiding.

JULY 1983: George Balanchine, seminal force in twentieth-century art and cofounder and artistic director of the New York City Ballet, died Saturday, April 30, 1983, at Roosevelt Hospital, New York City, after a long illness, complicated by pneumonia.
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Title Annotation:70th Anniversary Issue
Author:Ben-Itzak, Paul
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Jun 1, 1997
Words:3323
Previous Article:Critical mass: vintage reviews: a look at the dance world through seventy years of Dance Magazine reviews.
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