Sunday, June 8, 2008

This Week in Dance History: June 8-14

(Most of these events were previously published in the entry published last year at this time. Can you spot the differences?)

June 8, 1912-The ballet Daphnis and Chloe made its debut performed by the Ballets Russes with choreography by Mikhail Fokine and music by Ravel but this first ballet version of the mythological tale was a flop. In 1951, Frederick Ashton revised Daphnis for the Sadler's Wells Ballet with Margot Fonteyn.

June 9, 1923- Broadway producer Lore Noto was born. Noto was most notably the producer of the musical "The Fantasticks" which ran off-Broadway from 1960 - 2002 (17,162 performances) at the Sullivan Street Playhouse. Noto played Hucklebee (boy's father) in the show for 17 years (6,348 performances).

June 10, 1932- George Balanchine's Serenade was performed at the estate of Felix Warburg near White Plains, New York. It was the first ballet that Balanchine choreographed in the United States.

And on this date in 1948- The Broadway musical “Look Ma I’m Dancin’” closed after 188 performances. The production choreographed and conceived by Jerome Robbins and George Abbott was a comic story of a Russian ballet company.

And on this date in 1958-The Royal Opera House held a Hundredth Birthday Gala. The Queen was in the audience to see Frederick Ashton’s gala piece “Birthday Offering.”

June 11, 1996- Ulysses Dove, principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey company passed away. Dove was noted for his commanding presence, bright clarity of movement, and truthful dramatic intensity.

June 12, 1906- At Ellen Terry's Jubilee Matinée, Drury Lane, London, England, 22 members of the Terry family (including Sir John Gielgud's mother, Kate) appeared in the masked dance from Much Ado About Nothing. The Guiness Book of World's Records records this as most members of a single family to appear together on stage.

And on this date in 1908-Marina Timofeyevna Semyonova, ballerina and renowned dance instructor, was born. Semyonova's great contribution to the development of Russian classical ballet was in the scope and epic nature of her style in movement and the quiet grandeur and strength of the classical repertory.

June 13, 1940- Erick Hawkins made his debut as a solo dancer at Bennington College Theater. He went on to be a soloist and the first male dancer in Martha Graham's company. He remained with Graham until 1950 and greatly influenced her work.

And on this date in 2001-Six years after the death of Rent author Jonathan Larson, an autobiographical musical tick, tick…Boom! is rescued from his trunk and opens Off-Broadway.

June 14, 1879-Sylvia, a three act ballet, premiered at the Palais Garnier choreographed by Louis Merante to music by Louis Delibes. It did not cause a sensation, but a 1952 revival by Sir Frederick Ashton popularized the ballet.