writers on dancing

Letter from New York

A Note from David Vaughan, a Correction, and
Pablo Pugliese & Forever Tango

In response to last week’s column on the festival of films with choreography by Frederick Ashton at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Ashton biographer David Vaughan sent two observations. One is that, on reseeing “Dance, Pretty Lady,” he now wonders whether Ashton, himself, played the figure of Britannia in the music-hall scene. He also noted, as he did in his pre-screening talk to “Story of Three Loves,” that he thinks Ashton must have been on the set for the Reinhardt segment, “The Jealous Lover,” and that the scene where Moira Shearer effectively danced with her eyes would almost certainly have been a suggestion of Ashton’s, who cared very much how dancers used their eyes in performance.

Also in last week’s column, the film “Dance, Pretty Lady” was identified as the first film with sound in Britain. After it was posted, I had some second thoughts that I might have been thinking of “Dark Red Roses,” and I asked Joanna Ney of the Film Society if that was accurate. She kindly researched the matter and wrote back as follows:

“A book called ‘Complete Index to British Sound Film Since 1928’ says the first real talkie might be ‘The Clue of the New Pin’ or ‘The Squeaker.’ ‘Blackmail’ was a silent, then remade as a talkie with chatty scenes re-shot and sound effect added to non-talkie scenes. Often, this is called the first British talkie. But ‘The Squeaker’ was shot with sound. So ‘Dark Red Roses’ and ‘Dance, Pretty Lady’ are disqualified. But ‘Dark Red Roses’ might qualify as first British dance talkie.”


The young virtuoso tangoist and choreographer from Argentina, Pablo Pugliese (see “Letter from New York,” 15 February 2004) will be producing an hour-long dance in September, in New York, called (alluding to his countryman Jorge Luis Borges) “Uqbartango.” As a fundraising benefit for that evening, members of the cast of Broadway’s “Forever Tango” are joining Pugliese for two special performances, one at 9:30 p.m. and one at 11:30 p.m., on Friday, 20 August, at Dance Manhattan, 39 W. 19th St., 5th floor. Contributions are $20 for the evening at the door. The performers will include: guest artist Lou Brockman, singer “The Pulpo,” and dancers Jorge Torres & Mariela Franganillo, Claudio Gonzales & Melina Brofman, Jr Cevilla & Beverly Duran, and Alejandra Gutti & Juan Pablo Hovath.–Mindy Aloff

Originally published:
Volume 2, Number 31
August 16, 2004

Copyright © 2004 by Mndy Aloff



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last updated on July 19, 2004